Geysir Area Landowners “Could Block Access”

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Geysir Area Landowners “Could Block Access”

By Zoë Robert
Geysir

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

The landowners in the Geysir area are considering blocking access to Geysir geothermal area, according to Garðar Eiríksson, spokesperson for the Landowners Association of Geysir.

As reported, yesterday the South Iceland District Court issued an injunction brought by the Icelandic State against the landowners, prohibiting the landowners from charging visitors an entrance fee to Geysir. Garðar told national broadcaster RÚV's Rás 2 radio station that a decision had not yet been made as to whether the landowners would appeal the District Court's decision to the High Court. 

“We are just exploring our many options. There are many things that can be done. We can, for example, just close off the area—it’s not complicated. We have the authority to close the area,” he said, explaining that the landowners would simply fence off the area and mark it as “closed for conservation purposes.”

The introduction of a ISK 600 (USD 5, EUR 4) fee in mid-March has been widely debated. The area receives up to 6,000 visitors per day and landowners say that the fee will be used for development and protection of the area. The idea has been harshly criticized by some in the tourism industry.

According to the government, the land within the fenced area is owned by the state as set out in an agreement from 1935. The government therefore considers it unlawful for the landowners to make a unilateral decision about implementing a fee.

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