Last year my visit to Námaskard was very brief because the landowners were charging 600 isk per person to look at the bubbling mud. My customers simply refused.
Tourists pay a lot for tours, hotels, restaurants, souvenirs etc, it is a very expensive trip for them and good for the Icelandic economy. Landowners attempting to make money directly via access charges are killing the proverbial “Golden Goose”.
I took this picture of the sign explaining the entrance fee…
A North Icelandic District Court ruled against their rights to charge, this was a landmark case as the landowner owns other landmarks and was going to charge an access fee to all of them. After the ruling, the signs and money collectors were removed and access became free once more.
I am not sure if this was put up by the landowners, as you can see there is no expense spared – compare with the expensive sign explaining the fees, maybe this sign was erected by a well meaning local who wants damage limitation on this natural beauty.
Regardless of who erected this sign, I think the message is a very good message and it is true that if one person leaves foot prints, others will follow.
I have only one comment to add an ironic twist to this tale of Námafjall Hverir:
“It only takes one greedy landowner to charge access to the nature, for other landowners to follow.”
Allemannsrett = public right of way
For further information on what I am talking about please refer to this discussion on TripAdvisor.