AREKILEN NATURE RESERVE
All photography provided by Jared Chambers.
Arekilen nature reserve
When you drive out of the Hvaler tunnel on Kirkøy, you pass a road to the left and just after this on the left side of the road is Arekilen nature reserve (see the map below). The area is naturally a very interesting area for botanists, ornithologists, and frankly all nature lovers. There are malaria mosquitoes here and there have been outbreaks of malaria here, but it has been over 150 years since. Outside the reed swamp the black alder forest dominates, which is in fact the nation's largest. Towards the southeastern parts of the reserve are birch and spruce more prominent. The area is traversed by any drainage ditches from cropland. On the drier, more upland areas in the northern and southwestern parts of the reserve, the pine forest dominates. Moose, deer, hares, squirrels, rodents, Eurasian water shrew, red foxes, badgers, and weasels can be observed within the reserve. The bird life in the area is very diverse and species-rich, especially in the black alder forest. Adjacent to the pond and reed beds, there are many species of wetland birds. Arekilen is an established area for southeastern bird species which is moving northward. The common reptiles are registered in the area. In particular, there is a large population of adders. Of amphibians you can find toads and pointed-snout frogs.
Several attempts have been made to reclaim Arekilen. At the beginning of the last century, planning of a major reclamation project to acquire more farmland began. A wind turbine plant was built as well as a channel by Arekilen’s outlet. The windmill drove a screw, "Archimedes' screw" which would "turn" the water out of the pond at the outlet to the south. Agricultural engineer Langballe was responsible for the project and in 1916 Arekilen was drained. However, the dams broke and the water flowed again. The project was then given up. "Archimedes' screw" was restored in 1985 and now again in the original concrete foundation by Arekilen’s outlet.