Iceland Mag

7 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag


Northern lights tours leave a trail of destruction, damage church grounds on Rekjanes peninsula

By Staff

  • Damaged grounds Tour buses on Northern Lights tours have damaged the church grounds of Kálfatjarnarkirkja church in the Reykjanes peninsula. Photo/Þórir Jónsson, Facebook.

The church grounds of Kálfatjarnarkirkja church on Reykjanes peninsula have been ploughed up by buses on northern lights tours. A local bus driver and guide posted photos of the tracks left by buses on the church grounds to Facebook and called on tourism companies and bus drivers to do their best to behave responsibly.

Read more: Police stops foreign travellers driving "under the influence of the Aurora"

The church is a popular stop for Northern Lights tours who use the parking lot. The chairman of the church board told the local newspaper Morgunblaðið that he has counted up to 15 buses on the parking lot at a time.

Unnecessary damages
The parking lot is big enough to accommodate the current level of traffic, he claims, but still some drivers park on the grass. However, the stretch of road leading from the main road down to the church and it's parking lot have also been damaged as the heavy traffic by large buses is more than it was designed to withstand..

The chairman of the church board told Morgunblaðið that the church is considering closing the road leading to the church and its parking lot entirely unless the situation changes or the tour operators who use the parking lot agree to participate in its upkeep. The manager of the golf course told Morgunblaðið that the cost of repairing damage caused by Northern Lights tours is a couple of thousand dollars each year, which is more than the small golf club and church can afford.

Two of the largest tour operators, Reykjavík Excursions and Snæland Travel, have agreed to participate in the maintenance of the road. Others, however, have so far refused to work with the church. The chairman of the church board told Morgunblaðið that some of these companies had refused the church's request claiming they didnt use the parking lot, even if he had see their buses there night after night.

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