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The bear park in Flå lies 140 km, or more than two hours drive outside Oslo, the capital of Norway. It takes that long, because the road winds itself between steep cliffs and small rivers flooded with melting water from the mountains, until you arrive in the village centre. Already in the first of two roundabouts in the village a bear figure in stone meets you. You pass a number of signs calling you to the bearpark down the straight street passing the only McDonalds in the whole valley. There is now a sizeable shopping mall where earlier there was hardly anything. Flå was experiencing a slow, but steady emigration of its citizens . For the first time under one thousand people lived in the komune. It was the village where people were loosing their faith in the prospect of a good future. The local businesses were struggling. Flå was a small village in the long Hallingdal valley where cars passed by, only filling petrol on their way to the bigger, but small, cities further up the road.

A guy called Thon gets stopped by the police

The multi-millionaire investor Olav Thon own a hotel chain, a huge number of appartement-buildings and much more. He still works hard running most of his family of companies in the age of 90. Through the winter he is frequently seen cross country skiing outside Oslo. Rich as he is, he still comes from the deep valleys of Hallingdal. And somtimes drive home to where his roots are. One day six years ago the energetic, but aging businessman is stopped in a somewhat high speed through the quiet centre of Flå by the local police-chief. They end up discussing something else than a possible fine. There is a bear park thet needs a bit of brushing up. Thon later gets a guided tour and sees a big bear rolling in a little muddled puddle. In the hills of Flå he sees some kind of crooked potential. He decides to invest 40000€ and a bigger pool for the giant bear to cool down in is built. This was to be the start of a sponsorship and a colaboration that sparked the new optimism, and now has led to a shopping mall, a 56 room hotel , a fishing and hunting training centre, a McDonalds, growing tourism and 27 000 square meter bear park.