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 km 2 national park. Research has shown that 80% of tourists cite Iceland’s nature is their number one reason for visiting the country.

MORE: Environment: Turning Iceland's highlands into a protected national park

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 km 2 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.

MORE: The Central Highlands National Park?

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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