German Expedition Vehicle Causes Damage to Nature Area Skip to content
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Photo: YouTube Screenshot: Pete Ruppert Universe.

German Expedition Vehicle Causes Damage to Nature Area

A recent YouTube video, published by the German tourist Peter Ruppert, has drawn considerable critique and commentary in Iceland.

Ruppert, who runs the YouTube channel Pete Ruppert Universe, was travelling through the Icelandic highland in a converted “overlander” military-style truck. When the truck became bogged down on a rough track, Ruppert is shown causing considerable damage to the natural surroundings as he freed his truck.

Reports indicate that the truck, which weighs around 14 tonnes, was stuck in Þjórsárver, a protected nature area.

Daníel Freyr Jónsson, a specialist at the Environment Agency,  stated to RÚV that Rupper was not driving off-road. Nevertheless, Daníel stated that his actions were “far from exemplary.”

“There are trails and roads in the area, and he was not driving off-road,” Daníel stated. A rough track can also be seen in the YouTube video in question. “But the damage caused in digging out his truck is clearly not a positive thing, and it’s not setting a good example within a protected area,” Daníel continued.

Ruppert has denied accusations of driving off-road and damaging nature. In a public statement, Ruppert said: “First of all, we never drove off-road […] [A]ccording to the map, we naturally drove exclusively on marked trails, which were also indicated by the wooden posts that had been set up! However, there were many places where these wooden markers were missing. In such cases, we followed tracks on the ground, so we drove where vehicles had already driven before us. And then, lo and behold, more posts would appear. The landscape in the glacier area seems to constantly change due to river courses. Iceland should either close off such tracks or clearly mark them to prevent people from getting lost!”

Many Icelanders have expressed their frustration at the damage done to nature and highland roads in light of the incident. Icelandic law prohibits off-road driving, and in some cases, vehicles may be confiscated. Heavy vehicles, such as Ruppert’s 14-tonne military expedition truck, also cause outsized damage to natural areas, even when on established tracks.

Daníel Freyr continued: “I think the next step will be to go and check this out and see if we can observe any damage caused by this. And if there is a lot, then we simply need to consider what to do about it. This is, of course, a protected area, and specific rules apply to it.”

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