Páll Guðmundsson, manager of the Icelandic Touring Association, is unsatisfied with gutters that have been set up by the creek Laugalækur in the Landmannalaugar area in Iceland’s southern highlands. The gutters were installed without notice by a contractor hired by the Icelandic Road Administration two weeks ago. “The only right thing to do is to remove this immediately”, he told Vísir.
Tour operators are “angry and offended,” according to Páll. The presence of manmade structures changes people’s experience of unspoiled nature. “We had no idea about this and no one we talked to seemed to know anything about it either. It seems like this was done without notifying or consulting anyone,” he remarked. The only explanation he received from the Road Administration was that cars had been getting stuck there and getting muddy. Páll says that the project runs contrary to all current plans to move parking lots and other manmade structures from the area.
Furthermore, Páll mentions that the presence of the gutters may potentially be dangerous. “Some people may be tempted to drive their passenger cars across Námskvísl (a stream that needs to be crossed before reaching Laugalækur) when they see the gutters in Laugalækur on the other side of the river. When you’re on the other side of the river bank and see that there’s a road there, you’re more likely to set off on your way. That would be a danger for people and vehicles, since Námskvísl can be difficult to handle.”