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Park rangers to crack down on illegal camping in Vatnajökull National Park

By Staff

  • Skaftafell in Vatnajökull National Park Skaftafell has a large well equipped campground with facilities for camper vans. Photo/Vilhelm Gunnarsson.

Vatnajökull National Park intends to take a tougher stand on illegal campers this summer, tracking down people who spend the night within in the park without paying the camping fee. 

No fines, but campers must pay the camping fee
In recent years the number of travellers who camp outside the park's designated camping grounds has been steadily increasing. According to the laws governing the National Park it is illegal to sleep at places which have not been equipped as camping grounds. Most of the illegal campers stay in camper vans at parking lots or on the side of roads.

A spokesman for Vatnajökull National Park told the local newspaper Morgunblaðið that Park Rangers would be monitoring these sites more closely this summer. Park Rangers can't fine illegal campers, as the law contains no provision as to what the punishment is for breaking the law on camping in national parks, but they will be charging all illegal campers the park's standard camping fee.

The complaints of illegal campers
She added that in recent years Park Rangers have on occasion charged illegal campers in this manner. In most cases, she says, the campers complain that they feel the fee is high, since they had assumed they could sleep in the park for free. 

Others have complained that they didn't know they were inside a national park and that they hadn't seen any signs prohibiting camping outside designated campgrounds. Visitors, she argues, must take some responsibility, she argues, familiarizing themselves with the areas they are visiting and ensuring they know where they can camp and where they can't camp.

 

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