Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Pasvik Nature Reserve - the end of the road

Headed for the "end of the road" - the Pasvik Nature Reserve that is adjacent to the waterway that connects several lakes, with the Russia-Norway border running down the middle of it.

There were lots of cabins and snowmobile tracks on the way there, then the first views of lakes and Russia appeared.  The lakes are used for hydro with the power shared between Norway and Russia.  At Skogfoss the power plant appears to straddle the border.

Further south there were less cabins, eventually the road was blocked by snow with a Norwegian police vehicle parked there.  I continued to the Nyrud Police Station and watch abundant bird species out on the water.  There were swans, ducks, geese and grey cranes. A border marker was visible on the other side.  The police returned from the border patrol mission on snowmobiles and were very friendly.

They said its a very remote police station and they check the border frequently.  They though the Russians on the other side looked a bit poor  and they had loud music playing at one a power station on the border "like North Korea".  Relations with the Russians are very good.  They meet weekly for chats and the locals have a special pass that allows them to cross the border freely.  There is a "Russian zone" that extends some distance for visits insider Norway.

The Russians don't like the reindeer migrating to there section of the park and eating the vegetation and they shoot (and eat) them.

Their border patrol duties are uneventful, I mentioned the controversy over Australian "Border Force" treatment of refugees, they knew about that.

They see lots of moose and even wolves here.

The Police told me about some moose and bear tracks on the road, I found them and was astounded to see bear tracks (large claws) following the moose and also wolf tracks.  I hope the moose are OK!

It was a long drive down and back but a superb trip.

Footnote: The Sami people used to inhabit this region and freely cross what is now the border.  There is no obvious presence of them now although they do have an agreement to cross borders (Finland, Russia, Norway) for their annual migration following reindeer.

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