This year, four projects were granted a stipend from the Environmental Fund. One special project was supported as well. The total amount distributed was 1,5 million ISK.
1. Renewing trail markers on the trail around Víknaslóðir. Applicant: The Touring Club of Fljótsdalshérað
The project for 2018 was to renew the trail markers and update the hiking trail around Víknaslóðir in East Iceland. Icelandic Mountain Guides considers it very important to have the area well marked to make sure that hiking traffic stays on the previously made paths and new paths do not form and cause damage to the land. Wet areas on the trails were adjusted, either with rocks to step on, or wooden bridges. This project was awarded 400.000 ISK.
2. Revegetation in Reykjanes Nature Preserve. Applicant: Sjá – Nature Conservation Volunteers
Reykjanes is a very popular place with numerous tourist attractions. Seltún geothermal area and surroundings is one of them, but the area north of Seltún is badly damaged due to erosion. Sjá is working on protecting the existing areas with encouraging vegetation growth which has previously eroded, by scattering grass seeds and fertilizer. In 2018, Sjá scattered 1.800kg of fertilizer and 180kg of grass seeds in this area. This project was awarded 100.000 ISK.
3. Esjureitur in cooperation with the Icelandic Forest Service. Applicant: Icelandic Mountain Guides Forestry Project
Icelandic Mountain Guides are working on a forestry project in the hills of Mt. Esja, where a part of all staff travelling is carbon neutralized by planting trees in the forestry patch in Mt. Esja, Esjureitur. This area is located just east of the main hiking trail and is popular for outdoor activities. The project was granted a stipend to place tables and benches for nature lovers to stop and relax there for a little while before venturing on, on their adventure. This project was awarded 300.000 ISK.
4. Lavatories in Núpsstaðaskógur. Applicant: Icelandic Mountain Guides, in cooperation with Hannes Jónsson
Icelandic Mountain Guides operate tours that start in Núpsstaðaskógur in South-East Iceland. The water pipes of t he lavatories had become clogged, as well as there was a blockage in the pipes that lead to the septic tank. The aim was to make the lavatories in the area useable for the summer season. Núpsstaðaskógur is a starting point for one of Icelandic Mountain Guides original hikes as well as groups and individuals pitch their tents in the camp ground close to the lavatories, and having the lavatories in good shape is essential. This project was awarded 200.000 ISK.
5. Special grant, dedicated to the hiking trail from Landmannalaugar to Skógar
Icelandic Mountain Guides have a special environmental fee for all seats sold for the trail between Landmannalaugar and Skógar. Icelandic Mountain Guides supports renewing and maintenance for the trail in cooperation with companies and organizations that work on the trail, that is Trail Team Þórsmörk, Icelandic Forest Service, Útivist travel association, and the municipal council. The grant for 2018 will be used to renew the hiking trail from Básar across Þröngá river, in cooperation with Útivist travel association. The project is planned for the summers of 2019 and 2020. This project was awarded 500.000 ISK.
This time around the Environmental Fund board decided to support three projects. The total amount distributed is 1,5 million ISK.
1. The restoration of the trails at Fjallabak, north Álftavatn
One application was received from the Iceland Forest Service for the restoration of the hiking path in the area north of Lake Álftavatn in cooperation with volunteers. This project received the highest allocation, as part of the Fund is specially dedicated to the Laugavegur trail. This project was awarded 700.000 ISK.
2. Marking the hiking path on Búlandstindur mountain, applicant Djúpavogshreppur
We believe that marking the hiking route to Búlandstindur prevents the creation of multiple pathways and their widening on the mountain which would be a major blemish on a very beautiful mountain. The marking of a trail also increases the safety of travelers on the mountain. Icelandic Mountain Guides organize tours in the area and the marking of this route gives our groups the opportunity to use this marked trail. The project was awarded 400.000 ISK
3. Reconstruction of the mountain hut at Heljadalsheiði, applicant Ferðafélag Svarfdælinga
The Committee considers this a very exciting project that in the future opens new possibilities for hiking and ski trips in the area. The Board considers the safety aspect very important, as travelers can take shelter in the hut in bad weather. The project was awarded 400.000 ISK
In 2013 the company decided to charge an environmental tax (1% of the trip price) for our most popular trek in Iceland, the Laugavegur Trail. As it is the most popular trek in Iceland, there are many people travelling there every summer. The trails have been damaged and the soil has eroded in many places along the path. On the company's 20th anniversary in 2014 it was decided to support an ongoing project to restore parts of the trail. The total sum of 500.000 ISK went to the maintenance project of the Iceland Forest Service to repair damaged sections of the Laugavegur Trail between Þröngá river and Emstrur. We plan to continue to charge this environmental tax to be able to support other future projects in this area.