Committee to study idea of Iceland Central Highlands National Park

Vonarskarð, in the Central Highlands.

Vonarskarð, in the Central Highlands. Photo: Iceland Monitor/Rax

Plans are afoot to set up a working group charged with the task of mapping the central highlands of Iceland and looking into creating Europe’s largest national park.

Earlier this year, representatives of 21 associations signed a statement of intent to make the central highlands into one 40,000 km2 national park. Research has shown that 80% of tourists cite Iceland’s nature is their number one reason for visiting the country.

Environment Minister Sigrún Magnúsdóttir is preparing to set up a new working group to look into the possibility of a single Central Highlands National Park, an idea which received the support of 60% of Icelanders in a recent poll.

The proposed new national park.

The proposed new national park.

The new park would include 14,000 km2 of the area already inside the existing Vatnajökull national park and extend into northern, southern, eastern and western parts of the country. The area is a patchwork of mountain lakes, volcanoes, lava fields and stunning great land expanses.

The Minister is of the mind that a collection of more numerous, but smaller, new national parks covering the area could also be an option.

Hekla volcano in South Iceland.

Hekla volcano in South Iceland. Photo: Iceland Monitor/Helgi Bjarnason

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