Jeg la fram det andre konferansepaperet fra dette prosjektet ved American Society for Environmental History-konferansen i Tallahassee, Florida, 26. februar 2009.

Paperet het “Technological Infrastructures and Natural Experiences: The Development of the Norwegian Trekking Association’s Network of Footpaths and Cabins” – her er sammendraget:

In order to get back to nature, you first need to get there. The experience of nature is tightly connected to the technological infrastructures that allow you to experience it. While the role of automobiles and trains in the natural experience has been studied, I argue that the technological dependence of nature tourism goes much deeper. This paper explores the rediscovery of the Norwegian countryside in the late 1800s. Many Norwegians were looking for a new national identity after independence from Denmark in 1814. They discovered this in the Norwegian landscape. British tourists looking for spectacular landscapes and novel experiences made the same discovery. As a result, the Norwegian countryside was ideologically and infrastructurally remade as a travel destination.

The Norwegian Tourist Association (founded 1864) built a network of footpaths and cabins to make traveling more convenient. This allowed travelers to experience nature in a controlled – even standardized – fashion. This paper argues that the rediscovery and reinterpretation of the Norwegian landscape was tied to the development of an infrastructure for convenient traveling – roads, bridges, food and lodging, as well as travel guides. Without this infrastructure, nature was simply too wild to provide authentic natural experiences for the mainstream traveler.

The primary sources for the paper are archival material and annual reports of the Norwegian Tourist Association. In addition, I will examine accounts of the Norwegian countryside in contemporary travel literature, newspapers, and British and Norwegian fiction. Finally, I will also trace the development of infrastructure through studying maps for travelers.