All of us must help prevent off-road driving

“All of us must help; we must systematically educate all tourists about the young, wild, special and delicate nature of Iceland,” park ranger Anna Þorsteinsdóttir writes in a Facebook post today, the subject of which is off-road driving, which is illegal in Iceland. She states that most travelers have never seen vegetation of this kind and do not know how to behave in these surroundings.

“It is the role of authorities, car rentals, the travel industry and the public to inform tourists,” she writes.

“Aren’t we allowed to interrupt tourists by [showing them] an educational video about nature and driving in Iceland?” she asks. “We’ve got to stop being so neutral. The [typical] tourist wants to be informed, and I have yet to meet the tourist who wants to cause damage. Most of them just don’t know they’re causing damage.”

For three summer, Anna has worked as a park ranger in Vatnajökull National Park, an area that requires a great deal of protection, understanding and management. She never gets enough of the beauty of the landscape and never stops pointing out to tourists the importance of staying on marked trails and roads. It affects her deeply whenever she discovers tire tracks in the landscape, as she did by Tjarnargígur crater, one of the series of Lakagígar craters, on Monday, when she found 300-m long tracks in the untouched landscape. 

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