Visitors to the Askja caldera in Vatnajökull National Park have had no choice but to relieve themselves in the great outdoors, as the on-site toilet facility has remained locked and unfinished since August of last year. RÚV reports that hundreds of people visit the caldera and nearby lake—Öskjuvatn, the second deepest lake in Iceland—every day, with most spending at least a few hours there. The nearest working toilet is fifteen minutes away at Drekagil canyon, which many tourist operators say is too far.
“People can’t wait to get there—that’s the fact of the matter,” remarked Gísli Rafn Jónsson, owner of Mývatn Tours, who noted that the traffic in the area is significant, with as many as forty cars parked in the parking lot at a time, not to mention tour buses. “This is one of the most frequented areas here to the north of Vatnajökull glacier...I think it’s a disgrace that the national park hasn’t gotten this working by now.”
Park rangers at Vatnajökull National Park says that the situation is not what they want it to be, but it has just taken longer than expected to get the new compost toilet up and running. While the system is being tested, said park ranger Jóhanna Katrín Þórhallsdóttir, there have been signs posted at Drekagil canyon and tour operators have been informed of the situation. It’s hoped that the toilet facilities at Askja will be ready for use as soon as today.