Tärna is the most recently populated parish in Sweden. In 1832 J. W. Zetterstedt, a professor of botany, travelled through Umeå Lappmark (Umeå Sami land). This was when new settlers had just come to Tärna as its first permanent residents. Zetterstedt said:
“It would seem that building permanent dwellings by the mountains, in places where no crops or coniferous trees grow, is a truly risky experiment.”
When the local government system was reformed in 1970, Tärna became part of the Storuman municipality. Today Tärna parish has 1 498 residents (Source: Statistics Sweden, 2014). The parish starts at the Norwegian border and extends about 80 km south-eastwards along both sides of the Umeälven river down to lake Gardiken.
TÄRNA IN THE STONEAGE
The Stone Age discoveries made in recent years at lake Tärnasjön are among northern Sweden´s very first traces of human life after the inland ice. Original findings made by King Gustav VI Adolf have now been ascertained to date back 9000 years. Along the Atlantic coast of Norway, a hundred kilometres to the west, in all probability people used to winter during the thousand-year ice age.
The Sami people were herding reindeer in the area for hundreds of years before Tärna got its earliest permanent settlers. Reindeer-keeping is an occupation which still plays a prominent part in Tärna. There are two mountain Sami communities here: the economic associations of Vapsten and Ubmeje.
The Umeälven river forms a natural boundary between the two Sami communities.
TOURISM IN TÄRNA
The counties of Västerbotten and Lapland were launched as tourist regions in the early years of the 20th century. The magnificent views offered by the Hemavan Tärnaby mountains received special emphasis. STF (Svenska Turistföreningen, the Swedish Tourist Association) opened a tourist centre in Tärnaby as early as in 1927. This formed the start of the region’s development of tourism. Tourism gathered momentum after the Second World War, during the early 1950s. A number of large tourist hotels and ski-lifts were built.
The 1960s brought great changes in Tärna. The big lakes were regulated and power stations were built. Extensive estates and much agriculture were submerged. Vast sums were paid to landowners and municipalities in compensation for these encroachments. In former times the permanent residents depended for their existence on livestock-rearing, hunting and fishing. Today it is tourism that is Hemavan Tärnabys main industry.