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In My Heart

The Tanamunningen Nature Reserve
is known for its seal and common merganser

The Tanamunningen nature reserve

The Tanamunningen nature reserve area (The Tana estuary) is protected to preserve a large and characteristic delta area of international importance as a resting area and living area for wetland birds.

tanamunningen estuary
Here are Northern Norway's largest continuous stretch of rivershore meadows, and an interesting rivershore vegetation. The Tanamunningen nature reserve covers 34.5 square kilometres, approximately 1.8 square kilometers being land area. The area was protected by Royal Decree 20 Septembre 1991.

(Photo: Olav E. Johansen)

Large and dynamic delta

During each annual flooding the Tana river transports large amounts of debris that is deposited. in the sand down towards the river's estuary. At the bottom of the Tana fjord a large delta area is built up. The river changes its side courses and sand banks from year to year. Thus the main river course and the sand banks are in constant change.

The Tana estuary is the largest delta region in Norway which is not influenced by large human interventions. It is also the most dynamic delta system in Norway.

Here is a detailed map of the nature reserve. See Google map at the bottom of article.
(Drawing by the County Governor of Finnmark)
detailed map of Tanamunningen nature reserve

Subarctic meadows

The Tana estuary has large and well developed riverside meadows of the subarctic type, with large variations in vegetation types. The area shows various stages in the creation of meadows, and the transition to river shore and land vegetation. The river shore and sand dune vegetation have varied flora with some distinct eastern species such as the Tana thyme (Thymus tanaensis) and the large pink carnation (Dianthus superbus).

Bird- and wildlife

The Tanamunningen nature reserve has a large food production and is of great importance as a feeding area, moulting area and wintering area for ducks, and resting area for waders, geese and divers. Many interesting bird species are registered here. Read about birdwatching in Tana.

And the Tana estuary has a special stock of the common seal (phoca vitulina), .

Excerpts from the preservation regulations

You are welcome to visit the reserve, but note the following rules:
  • The area is protected against all technical interventions and actions that can alter or interfere with the natural environment.
  • The vegetation is protected against all harm and damage.New plant species must not be introduced.
  • Picking berries and mushrooms is permitted.
  • All wildlife, including nests and eggs, are protected against all harm, damage and unnecessary interference.
  • Hunting, trapping and the use of firearms is prohibited.
  • Dogs must always be kept on a leash.
  • Killing of seals damaging salmon fishing gear is allowed by the owner of the gear, but only in the immediate vicinity of the gear.
  • The use of motor vehicles is prohibited.
  • It is possible to apply for an exemption for using tractors for transportation of salmon fishing equipment. Starting and landing aircraft is not allowed.


    The County Governor of Finnmark is the management authority for the Tanamunningen nature reserve. Any questions about the provisions should be addressed to: County Governor of Finnmark, the Environment Department, 9800 Vads´┐Ż, tel. 789-50 300 .

    Large cathedral

    tanamunningen cathedral On the western side of the estuary, near the small island Gullholmen, there is an old graveyard. Here the local congragation arranges an annual chucrh service in July.

    From the picture you can see the magnitude of the area. And the Tana cathedral is certainly one of the biggest cathedrals in the world.

    (This article is partly based on information given by the Finnmark County Governor).
    (Photo: Olav E. Johansen)

    Find Tanamunningen nature reserve in Google map.

    Read more about Tana and the Tana river valley.

    Read also about German war remains in Gavesluft near the western side of the estuary. See map.

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