In autumn 2003, the former county conservation officer in Oppland, Harald Jacobsen, launched the idea of getting wild reindeer and wild reindeer hunting included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The following winter Lesja municipality initiated a project to work on this idea. In autumn of the same year, a broad-based reference group was established, which was subsequently re-organised into a board composed of five representatives from regional management and national specialist milieus, and an expert team consisting of four people who are specialists in cultural heritage and wild reindeer. The secretariat, which is based in Lesja, currently consists of the project manager.
The project aims to get wild reindeer and wild reindeer hunting included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The first step is to get the project included on Norway’s tentative list for UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
During 2004 and 2005, a project description was drafted which will form the basis for the work. It presents the rationale for why wild reindeer and wild reindeer hunting should be included on the World Heritage List and what types of cultural heritage sites are to be found in the area. The pre-project also included a preliminary overview of hunting systems and methods and wild reindeer habitat in other parts of the world.
In spring 2005, the board appointed an expert team of four persons who will define the geographical limits of project and propose visitor sites. As part of its work, the expert team must take account of the fact that reindeer are shy animals and of the vulnerability of the area.