One of the restored timber flumes. Photo: Naturcentrum AB.One of the restored timber flumes. Photo: Naturcentrum AB.

Tømmerrenne – a world heritage

At the copper works in Røros the smelting furnaces were burning day in and day out in the 17th century and early18th century. The copper works had soon devoured the nearest forests and required timber from further afield.

New channel for timber...

In 1714, work started on a floating channel between Femunden and Feragen to transport more wood to Røros. Wooden timber flumes were also constructed between Feragen and Store Langtjern, and on to Lille Langtjern. The 300 metre long channel was not finished until 1764.

The channel and timber flumes were used long after Røros Copper Works stopped needing them. When the copper works started using charcoal in the 19th century, the timber companies appeared on the scene. But the channel was not completely reliable. If the spring floods were not heavy enough, the timber might not reach its destination during the floating season. The last logs were floated as late as 1973. The timber flumes fell into disrepair, but in the 1990s, a copy of the old flumes was constructed.

To the annoyance of many canoeists, the flumes are a little too narrow for pulling canoes, but along some of them there is a “pulling track” made of logs. There are several open “bua” huts, which were originally used by raftsmen. These now offer temporary accommodation for canoeists.

... and for fish

Between Femunden and Feragen was a watershed where no water flowed before the timber flumes were built. The water from Lake Femunden flowed to the east into Sweden, while Lake Feragen’s water flowed west to Glomma, Norway’s largest water system. But east and west were joined in 1715! The fact that water started to flow from Femunden to Feragen was significant not only for timber floating but also for the distribution of several fish species. Pike, perch, whitefish, grayling and minnow belong to a group of fish from the east that colonised Sweden and eastern Norway after the ice age. This group of fish is sometimes called Lake Femunden fish. When the waterway between Femunden and Feragen was opened, these fish migrated to Feragen and on to the river Glomma.

Reading tip

Jäggi, S. & Johansen, T. 1997: Fløtningshistorie i Femundsmarka.

The timber flumes...

... are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. They are not made for pulling canoes!