Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir and Minister of Environment, Energy, and Climate Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarsson took part in a ceremony yesterday at Geysir, in which they confirmed the area’s management and protection plan.
The namesake of all other geysers, Geysir is a well-known tourist attraction in Iceland and part of the “Golden Circle,” a popular drive near the capital area. However, many natural sites have been overwhelmed by increased tourism, leading to several sites including Skógafoss and Geysir being designated “at risk” in recent years.
The Geysir area was originally protected by law in 2020, but this status is just now being recognized in a signing ceremony.
In addition to being a popular tourism destination, Geysir is home to many unique geological features, plant life, and microorganisms, meaning that the area is also important for scientific research. In addition to conserving the Geysir area, the new management plan hopes to place increased emphasis on education on Geysir’s significance.
At the ceremony, Katrín Jakobsdóttir stated: “The conservation of the Geysir area is an important step in nature conservation in Iceland, given its unique natural beauty. The conservation plan confirmed today ensures that future generations will be able to enjoy the area as we do today.”
Minister Guðlaugur added: “This management and protection plan presents ways to ensure that the objectives of conservation are achieved. When developing infrastructure, consideration should be given to local planning […] Development should guide visitors around the area and ensure that its conservation value is maintained.”
Þórdís Björt Sigþórsdóttir, manager of conservation and planning at the Environmental Agency, was also present for the ceremony. She stated that this was a necessary step in nature conservation in Iceland, and one that most Icelanders agree with. Indeed, she notes that many Icelanders were surprised to learn that Geysir was not already a protected area.