From Iceland — Tourists Destroying Natural Hot Spring

Tourists Destroying Natural Hot Spring

Published July 5, 2015

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Art Bicnick

The Hrunalaug hot spring has undergone so much damage from the sheer numbers of visitors it has received that the owners have considered bulldozing it over.

Helena Ei­ríks­dótt­ir, the daughter of the owner of the famed Hrunalaug hot spring, told MBL that her family simply cannot keep up with the number of visitors the spring receives. The spring is not just experiencing regular wear and tear, either; vandalism has also started to be a problem. People have also started camping on the site, despite numerous signs asking them not to.

The problem stems primarily from tour groups, particularly when they arrive by the busload, being disembarked at the site to try it out. The spring, which was built up for human use as far back as 1900, was never meant for such large groups of people, but there is little the owners can do to stem the tide.

“You start considering bulldozing it over when it’s at its worst,” she told reporters. “You can’t fence it off, except with a 14-metre electrical fence on high voltage, that only birds could possibly clear. Anything else would be destroyed.”

Speaking with RÚV, she added that a neighbouring farmer offered to come over with manure spreader, and spray the surrounding area. While the idea was tempting, she said, the smell would have been overpowering.

The popularity of the spring is understandable, as it consistently pops up in travel guides (including the Grapevine, where we advised people to treat the area carefully) as a beautiful and peaceful location to visit.

Helena advises people to check out the nearby Gamla laugin, which was made to withstand large numbers of visitors.

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