Europe’s largest national park to be established in Iceland

Iceland’s government announced a plan to build what the prime minister referred to as soon-to-be Europe’s largest national park.The establishment of Vatnajokull national park is the largest nature protection project in Iceland to date. The national park will not only provide a platform for protection of the unique nature of the area, but also create new opportunities in tourism in the vicinity of the park and thus strengthen habitation along the outskirts of Vatnajokull glacier.The Ministry of Environment, in 2002, began negotiations with farmers living next to the glacier to establish a nature reserve. The negotiations did not materialize as land ownership issues delayed the process. The plan to include the entire glacier as well is more recent.Icelandic nature continues to be the main attraction for foreign visitors to the country, according to annual research done by the Icelandic Tourist Board. Therefore, it is important for the tourism industry that steps are taken to protect it. The establishment of Vatnajokull national park would mean that Iceland will have the largest protected wilderness in Europe.The establishment of Vatnajokull national park would also mean that glacier river Jokulsa a Fjollum will not be harnessed for the production of electricity. This issue is of great concern for nature conservationists.More details here.

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