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Glacial Lagoon to Merge with National Park?

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Glacial Lagoon to Merge with National Park?

‘Jökulsárlón, July 2014.’

Photo: Maru Micio.

Sigrún Magnúsdóttir, Iceland’s environment minister, believes the State might have the right of first refusal to buy Jökulsárlón. She will discuss the idea at today’s cabinet meeting.

The owners of Fell, the land around the world-famous Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon, have decided to sell up. The South Iceland District Commissioner this week declared that the land will not be sold at auction, but in an open sales process.

The Hornafjörður municipality, the Landvernd environmental NGO and several parliamentarians have all expressed concern for what will happen to the lagoon when sold. They want the State to buy the land and incorporate it into Vatnajökull National Park. Sigrún Magnúsdóttir told RÚV that it would be within the remit of government to do exactly that. She believes the State has the legal authority to make an offer and have preemption rights—and that it should do so if there is any risk of the renowned pearl of nature ending up neglected or exploited in the wrong hands.

Sigrún says she is very positive about the idea of incorporating Jökulsárlón into western Europe’s largest national park. “I think it says a lot that I plan to go straight to cabinet and discuss this in the morning. I don’t know what reception I will get. All options. I am not doing this alone, the whole government and the finance minister has the last word on what we can do. It is not possible to promise anything but we are looking really closely at the issues.”

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