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May 8, 2012 / landscapeiskingston

Norway creates regional park along waterway to unite communities.

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“We are trying to bring communities together through dialogue. ”

Waterways Forward partners, Telemark County Council, in Telemark, Norway has created a network of stakeholders who are linked to the waterways from mountains to the coast.  It has been achieved through intensive dialogue and the creation of a regional park to involve stakeholders for a management structure.

“Since waterways flow from one place to another naturally, we decided to use it as the common thread that ties all communities together. You could say the waterways act as our means of communicating.”   Thrond Kjellevold, Sr. International Advisor, Telemark County Council.  “Dialogue is critical for success. We have been working on this project since 2000 under the Inter­reg IIIB Waterline Economy and In­terreg IIIC VNE-Inland Waterways of Europe projects when we first started connecting the private and public sector more together. Then we tried to link this network with larger European partners such as within the Interreg IVC Waterways Forward project. The value in a partnership like this is that dialogue is constant. Through the process of dialogue, communities start im­proving their own product develop­ment with regards to management arrangements, tourist attractions, cultural assets and other issues that are brought to the discussion.”

The Telemark Canal is known as “the fast route” between eastern and western Norway and when the canal was completed in 1892 it became the most important transport route between upper and lower Telemark for people, domestic animals, goods and timber.  Development of the Telemar Regional Park is supported by the Visit Telemark website which offers a variety of tourist destinations and packages including canal boat trips where you can choose between trips and canal tours in combination with accommodation.

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