Landmannalaugar, the well-known hot springs in South Iceland, have been red-listed by the Environment Agency of Iceland.
The springs, a landmark of the ever popular hiking route Laugavegurinn, and a common destination for tourists and hikers alike, have in the past decade become the most visited place in the Icelandic highlands. In the year 2000, 60,000 people visited the springs, and by 2011 that figure had doubled, with 120,000 documented visitors, visir.is reports.
Ingibjörg Eiríksdóttir, specialist with the Environment Agency and park ranger in South Iceland, said of the red-listing: “This means that the area has been tread on beyond its capacity and that it’s necessary to take action in order to prevent serious, further negative developments”
Plans to further protect the vulnerable area are already being drawn up and the recent establishment of Ingibjörg’s position as a year-round park ranger is one component.