A park ranger has taken a novel approach to making tourists accountable for damage done while off-roading.
Vísir reports that Kristinn Jón Arnarson, a park ranger at Landmannalaugar, was none too pleased with a group of Chinese tourists yesterday. The group, divided into two jeeps, apparently went off-roading – or, more accurately, “did donuts” – in a nine-hectare area close to one of Iceland’s most treasured natural sites.
Taking matters into his own hands, Kristinn told reporters he drove the group back to the area and made them spend two hours covering the tire tracks. The group apparently took it well, and dutifully cleaned what they could.
Off-roading in Iceland is prohibited, and can result in fines of up to 150,000 ISK.
Tourists engaging in off-roading – many times without the knowledge that it is even illegal – has become a major problem in some parts of the country. While many have contended that further information campaigns are necessary, there are already many Icelandic websites directed at tourists coming to Iceland that expressly warn them of this (see here, here, here, here and here, for just a few examples).
No matter how much fun it might be to spin out and driving in circles, do keep in mind that Iceland is still in a constant fight with soil erosion. It’s not just the law to stay on the roads; it’s basic courtesy.