An Icelandic park ranger is fed up with seeing damage done by offroading in the Vatnajökull National Park, and is calling upon car rental companies to better inform tourists about the illegality of wandering off marked roads.
Barring specific circumstances, off-road driving is illegal in Iceland. It can do extensive damage to Iceland’s fragile topsoil, and costs a considerable amount of money to repair. Even so, it has become an increasing problem in Iceland.
RÚV reports that Stefanía Ragnarsdóttir, a ranger at Vatnajökull National Park, has had enough of the offroading damage she has seen on her patrols.
“You get really tired of this,” she told reporters. “People ought to be informed before they hit the road. I mean, we live on an island. You come here by ship or plane, so it should be possible to reach you, and it’s a big responsibility that we ought to be shouldering better. That probably lands most of all on car rental companies.”
There are not a tremendous amount of park rangers to be able to prevent offroading, so beginning the information process further upstream would likely stave off the practice by a considerable amount.
Readers should also be aware that if you are caught offroading in Iceland, it could cost you dearly. As reported, a group of 25 tourists was recently fined a total of 1.4 million ISK for offroading on the Breiðamerkursandi sands near Jökulsá and the protected area of Grafarlönd.