From Iceland — Iceland's Newest Eruption Actually On Private Land

Iceland’s Newest Eruption Actually On Private Land

Published March 25, 2021

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Hard as it may be to believe, the Geldingadalsgos eruption is actually on private land.

The land in question is a large area called Hraun (literally “Lava” in Icelandic), located east of Grindavík. Vísir reports that one Guðmundur Ragnar Einarsson inherited this land from his father. There are now about 20 people who share in the ownership.

Fortunately, Iceland also has so-called “freedom to roam” laws on the books. As explained by the Environment Agency of Iceland:

“The Icelandic Nature Conservation Act regulates outdoor activities and standards of conduct. It stipulates that everyone has the right to travel around the country and enjoy its nature as long as the traveller is tidy and careful not to damage or otherwise spoil natural resources. It is permissible to cross uncultivated private property without seeking any special permission, but landowners may limit routes with signs [or] other marks.”

As Hraun is arguably uncultivated and undeveloped, nor is it under the auspices of any conservation areas, anyone is indeed free to visit the volcano, even if it is on private land.

Lilja Katrín Gunnarsdóttir, one of the co-owners of this land, told Vísir, “I’m just speaking for me and my husband, who own a very small piece of this large plot of land, but I find it very pleasing to see all these people come onto the land and enjoy the best and even spookiest thing that nature has to offer.”

She added that she has been pleased to see that so far no one has been littering, and everyone has been respecting the natural formations in the area.

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