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Iceland Mag

Nature

Reykjadalur geothermal valley re-opened. Visitors urged to stay on marked paths

By Staff

  • Reykjadalur A beautiful geothermal valley which is only accessible by foot. Photo/Gestumblindi Wikimedia, Creative Commons License

Paths leading to Reykjadalur geothermal area in South Iceland have been re-opened to traffic after repairs and improvements by the Icelandic Environment Agency. Nature Rangers will continue to monitor the area, ensuring that visitors stay on marked paths. The paths leading to Reykjadalur were closed earlier this spring to protect the delicate vegetation on the heath leading to the valley. 

Read more: Paths in Reykjadalur geothermal area will be repaired and strengthened to handle traffic

As the frost thaws from the ground and snow melts in spring the delicate sub-arctic vegetation is especially fragile and unable to withstand heavy foot traffic. At the same time the thawing ground and snowmelt make dirt paths extremely soggy and difficult to travel, forcing hikers to walk on the vegetation along the path. At popular trails the result can be widespread damage to both the trails and the area around them.

One of these areas is Reykjadalur valley with its natural geothermal pools and the path leading to the geothermal area. The Environment Agency closed the paths in April to give the vegetation breathing space to recover and rangers the time to improve paths for the summer traffic. The closure was scheduled to be in effect until May 12. On Friday May 12 the Agency announced that it would not extend the ban on traffic, but would open the paths to the public.

The Agency asks visitors to stay on the marked path and under no circumstances venture into areas which have been damaged by foot traffic.

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