The icy lagoon Jökulsárlón will become a protected area and turned into a nature reserve that is part of the Vatnajökull National Park, reports RÚV.
Last winter, the government bought land that covers part of the lagoon and Jón Geir Pétursson, department manager at the Ministry for the Environment and Natural Resources said that plans are on the table for large infrastructure investments in the area.
“Jókulsárlón is one of the most popular tourist spots in the country and one of Iceland’s most famous natural landmarks,” Jón told RÚV. “The framework around the area has been lacking and it is vital to organise traffic and to secure the safety of visitors.”
Entry fees possible
Plans are to build up toilet and service facilities for the around 700,000 people who visit the lagoon each year, but according to Jón this investment might require charging for entry into Jökulsárlón.
“It is not out of the question that we will start charging service fees, should the need arise, but it is not part of the original plans,” he said. “Vatnajökull National Park charges for camping and ice cave visits, so the organisation has permits to require fees.”
Björt Ólafsdóttir, the Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources, will later today sign a declaration by Jökulsárlón, which will turn the lagoon into a protected area.*
*Correction: Jökulsárlón was not turned into a nature preserve, but become a part of the Vatnajökull National Park.