Iceland Mag

3 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag

Nature

Visitors refuse to respect closure of walking paths, leaving a trail of destruction at Fjaðrárgljúfur

By Staff

  • Walking path closed Rain, melting snow and heavy traffic have taken their toll on the walking paths! Photo/Environment Agency of Iceland

  • Trash at Skógafoss waterfall When the snow melts trash left by visitors over the past winter is exposed. Photo/Environment Agency of Iceland

Recently the Icelandic Environment Agency closed off all walking paths along Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon, one of the most popular and picturesque destinations in South East Iceland. The decision to close the paths was taken after rain and melting snow, combined with heavy traffic had turned the walking paths and the ground around them into nearly impassable mudfields. Unfortunately many visitors to the canyon appear to be determined to ignore the closures.

Read more: Walking paths at Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon closed to protect vegetation from damage

The Environment Agency has now issued a new, urgent message to visitors to please respect the closures. 

"Now we are entering the time of year when the vegetation and flora of Iceland is most vulnaerable. The winter is retreating and the ground is quickly thawing. The vegetation is still in hibernation and the ground very wet, which means the plants and their roots are extremely vulnerable to trampling."

The Agency points out that many sites of natural beauty are under extreme stress due to this. To protect the most vulnerable sites the Agency has closed some walking paths, including the paths at Fjaðrárgljúfur. Unfortunately it seems visitors fail to respect the closure unless there is a guard posted at the spot.

The Agency does not have the necessary staff, Park Rangers and Nature Guards to man all the closures and perform all the other tasks that have to be taken care of before summer, including cleaning up trash which is exposed when the snow melts.

We should all do our part and help protect Icelandic nature and keep it clean: Stay on the path, don't venture onto closed paths, and pick up trash!  

Related content

Editor's Picks