Central highland of Iceland
MISSION STATEMENT FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A NATIONAL PARK IN THE CENTRAL HIGHLAND OF ICELAND
The organisations and associations which stand behind this mission statement wish to achieve as comprehensive a unity as possible concerning the protection of the central highland of Iceland by establishing a national park to be owned by the Icelandic nation as a whole. We believe that a Highland National Park will be Iceland’s greatest possible contribution to the protection of nature. It will improve and strengthen Iceland’s image as a nation supporting the preservation of pristine land and wildlife and will be of tremendous benefit to all those who visit Iceland as well as to Icelanders themselves. The national park will be a sanctuary for those who wish to enjoy the natural environment of the central highland, and who take pleasure in outdoor activities and relish the first-hand experience of pure nature.
The central highland is one of Iceland’s greatest treasures, containing volcanoes, glaciers, voluminous rivers and waterfalls, colourful hot springs and mud pools, vast lava fields and broad expanses of black sand, all contrasted with oases of vibrant but vulnerable vegetation. Collectively, these natural phenomena and magnificent landscapes form one of the largest untamed wildernesses in the whole of Europe. The power of the natural forces at work there, including the interplay of fire and ice, continuously create and mould an imposing and dramatic terrain, while the tranquillity and solitude of the wilderness can enchant visitors in such a way as to be an unforgettable experience.
To find in one area such an amazing collection of natural jewels as described above is truly unique on a worldwide scale, especially as such vast, unpopulated areas, where nature alone rules, are continually being reduced in number. We Icelanders are in the enviable position of still being able to stand guard over this invaluable treasure and to protect our central highland for future generations.
The public’s right to enjoy outdoor and recreational activities while gaining informative instruction about nature and wildlife within a national park shall be guaranteed. Decades of experience of outdoor activity clubs in the central highland must, of course, be fully respected, and all necessary changes will take place in consultation with representatives of these associations. One of the fundamental bases of a Highland National Park will be an understanding of the necessity for all visitors indulging in outdoor and recreational activities to enjoy and respect the central highland in a responsible and sustainable manner, whether they are travelling by car, by bicycle, on foot, on horseback, rowing on lakes or rivers, or going hunting and fishing.