The Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources and the director of the Environment Agency of Iceland are calling for three of the country’s most popular nature sites to be designated as protected areas in order to ensure that they receive the funds necessary to ensure their upkeep and maintenance, RÚV reports.
Five oft-visited nature sites are now on the Environment Agency of Iceland’s Red List of areas at considerable risk: Dettifoss, Geysir, Rauðifoss waterfall, the geothermal area in the Kerlingarfjöll mountains, and the Gjáin gorge in Þjórsárdalur valley. The latter three of these have not been officially designated as protected natural areas.
Assessments taken at a hundred and four tourist destinations also resulted in fifteen locations being placed on the Environment Agency’s Orange List, indicating that they are not yet in serious danger, but that action needs to be taken to reverse negative trends in their current status. Landmannalaugar, the Skógaheiði trail above Skógafoss waterfall, the Hveravellir geothermal area, and the Rauðhólar pseudocraters are all on the Orange List.
Despite the fact that the Red List sites are facing considerable need, Minister for the Environment Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson is optimistic about the government’s response. “I want to affirm that these issues are being taken very seriously now. They’re on a very good course. There has been increased funding both for infrastructure and land protection. So I think that we’re going to see a lot of success in these areas in the coming years. I’m confident and optimistic about this.”