Snæfellsjökull National Park was expanded by 9% yesterday, on the eve of its 20th anniversary. Founded in 2001, it was Iceland’s first national park located along a coastline and it contains both natural areas and human artefacts. Environment Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson signed a regulation on the expansion of the park yesterday, a project that has been been in the works for over a year.
Snæfellsjökull National Park is located at the tip of the Snæfellsnes peninsula in West Iceland. It is the only national park in Iceland that contains fishing artefacts from previous centuries. Of course, the park includes natural attractions as well, such as black and white sand beaches, bird cliffs, lava fields, and the glacier-topped Snæfellsjökull stratovolcano that towers over the park.
“I am extremely proud and pleased with the development of [Snæfellsjökull National Park] over the last few years, both of the increase in year-round and summer rangers, infrastructure such as footpaths and platforms that protect nature, and even facilities and information for tourists especially with the new visitor centre that will be opened next year,” Guðmundur Ingi stated. “It is therefore with great pleasure that now on the occasion of the park’s 20th anniversary, we are expanding it considerably, with nature conservation and the strengthening of the Snæfellsnes community as our guideposts. Congratulations, Iceland.”
The newest section of the park is located north of the Snæfellsjökull glacier and east of the park’s previous borders. It was previously in the ownership of telecommunications service providers Mila and Siminn, who donated the land to the park. The Environment Minister will now appoint a park council, which will include representatives from the local community, the local tourism association, and outdoor recreation associations. The council will advise the Environment Agency of Iceland on issues related to the park.
Finnish researcher Jukka Siltanen found that the economic impact to cost ratio of the park is 45:1, meaning that the money spent on Snæfellsjökull National Park is returned 45-fold into the Icelandic economy.