The mayors of the Ölfus and Hveragerði townships on Sept. 21 met with several agencies to discuss granting the Reykjadalur valley area conservation status.

The mayors met with representatives from the Agricultural University of Iceland (AUI), the Environment Agency of Iceland (EAI), and the Ministry for the Environment (ME).

On Sept. 25, the EAI sent a letter to the town of Hveragerði asking for their stance on the proposed arrangement. They also requested the town appoint a representative for a joint council on the conservation talks.

Reykjadalur valley is located above Hveragerði on land owned by the Ölfus municipality, in the shadow of extinct volcano Hengill. Sporting a geothermally warmed river and several hot springs, it has become a popular visitor destination in recent years. Traffic through the area has increased dramatically, placing a strain on the environment.

Last spring, for example, the EAI closed down a walking path through Reykjadalur due to muddy road conditions caused by excessive traffic. The path was closed for six weeks.

The minutes from the Hveragerði town council’s Thursday meeting state the town council is positively inclined towards the suggestion. Additionally, they stress the importance of conducting the status change in full cooperation with landowners and other stakeholders.