Icelandic Hiking Association Opposes Paving Highland Road Skip to content

Icelandic Hiking Association Opposes Paving Highland Road

By Yelena

Kjölur highland road
Photo: Páll Stefánsson. Kjölur highland road.

The Icelandic Hiking Association (FÍ) adamantly opposes paving the Kjölur road (F35) which cuts across Iceland’s mostly uninhabited highland region. Five Independence Party MPs have put forth a parliamentary resolution that would entail paving the 168km-long road that cuts across Iceland’s remote interior from north to south. According to FÍ, paving the road would increase traffic and negatively impact the experience of visitors, who seek out the region precisely because it is off the beaten path.

Independence Party MP Njáll Trausti Friðbertsson introduced the resolution, alongside four additional MPs belonging to the same party. Currently, most highland roads are impassable for the largest part of the year due to snow in wintertime and flooding in spring. The Kjölur road is already one of the more popular roads in the region as its river crossings are bridged and it does not require a four-wheel-drive vehicle. Paving the Kjölur road would mean it could be kept open throughout most of the year, increasing the region’s accessibility. According to the parliamentary proposal, this would benefit tourism companies as well as countryside businesses and residents.

Founded in 1927, the Icelandic Hiking Association is the country’s largest and oldest travel association. In its statement, the institution opposes building up roads in the region, asserting they should be repaired and maintained as “good summer roads […] not least in terms of nature conservation and tourist safety.” FÍ adds: “The region’s attraction lies mainly in the unique and diverse nature but no less in the absence of man-made structures and crowds.”

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