Iceland Mag

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Iceland Mag

Nature

Illegal entry fees again imposed at Hraunfossar: Visitors "robbed in broad daylight"

By Staff

  • Hraunfossar A series of small waterfalls created by spring water cascading out of the lava and down into Hvítá river. Photo/Vilhelm

  • A great deal? Pay the illegal fees, get a free cup of coffee. Photo/Skessuhorn

Investors who have rented part of the land overlooking Hraunfossar waterfalls, one of the most picturesque waterfalls in Iceland, have resumed the collection of illegal fees at the parking lot for the waterfalls. The local news site Skessuhorn reports that the fees, which all relevant authorities have judged illegal, were being imposed earlier today. This is not the first time the investors attempt to introduce fees at the waterfall.

UPDATE: Police stopped the collection of the fees on Thursday May 17. 

One of the investors who are responsible for the illegal fees also operates the rest-stop and café Baulan on the Ring Road in West Iceland. Visitors who pay the parking fee are given a "free coffee coupon" at Baulan. 

No legal basis for the fees
In October 2017 Police in West Iceland stopped the collection of parking fees at Hraunfossar. The investors who have rented the land do not have legal authority to collect parking fees on the road, which is owned and operated by the Icelandic Road and Coastal Authority, or to impede the movement of travelers on the road. Furthermore, any collection of fees at protected natural sites requires permission from the Icelandic Environmental Agency. The agency has not authorized the fees.

Read our full coverage of the conflict as it unfolded last year.

Read more: Police has stopped the collection of illegal parking fees at Hraunfossar waterfalls

It should be noted that all parking fees at other tourist destinations in Iceland are legal. Parking fees at Seljalandsfoss waterfall and in National Parks are all imposed by the local authority or the National Parks. 

Greed knows no limits
To make the whole matter even more absurd the investors do not control the parking lot they are charging people to use: The restaurant/café Hraunfossar, which is located at the rest stop owns 10% of the parking lot. The owner and operator of the restaurant opposes the collection of fees at the parking lot, calling it "robbery it broad daylight".

"Those men are robbing visitors in broad daylight, knowing full well that they are breaking the law by imposing these fees. But greed knows no limits, and these men appear to think they can do whatever they please."

The local news site Skessuhorn notes that the one of the investors who has rented the land was personally present today collecting the illegal fees from visitors. He was assisted by two foreign employees.

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