North Iceland Travel Destination Mývatn Red-listed Skip to content

North Iceland Travel Destination Mývatn Red-listed

The Environment Agency of Iceland will now for the first time put Lake Mývatn and Laxá river, a bird paradise and popular tourist destination in Northeast Iceland, on a red list over endangered areas because of environmental concerns.

myvatn-winter_psMývatn. Photo: Páll Stefánsson/Iceland Review.

These include uncertainty about the environmental impact of the planned Bjarnarflag geothermal power plant in the vicinity, decline of marimo, increased number of tourists and concern about wastewater from apartments and hotels.

Bergþóra Kristjánsdóttir, who has been supervisor of the Mývatn-Laxá reserve since 2008 told Morgunblaðið that this winter the number of travelers in the area has multiplied which compromises the vegetation around the lake.

Increase in visitors to the Mývatn Nature Baths in March 2013 amounted to 67 percent compared to the same month last year.

Walking paths are still covered in snow, Bergþóra said, but with spring thaw they will become muddy which means that travelers will walk beside them and damage the vegetation.

The condition of Dimmuborgir, Skútustaðagígar and Leirhnjúkur is particularly poor because these areas are not under special protection, Bergþóra explained. “At Leirhnjúkur geological formations have been damaged.”

Bergþóra stated certain areas may have to be closed during the most sensitive period this spring but by next year the facilities of the main destinations have hopefully been improved, she added.

ESA

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