Gullfoss Waterfall

Photograph by Blane Perun

The Gullfoss Waterfall – A Historic Natural Site and a Testament to Iceland’s First Environmentalist

The Gullfoss Waterfall is far more than just one of Iceland’s many unique natural wonders. This stunning 32-meter tall waterfall allows water to run down into a canyon in two stages, and has become one of the most famous natural sites that visitors to Iceland can see. However, it’s story is equally interesting as its natural beauty.

During the early 20th century, the land surrounding the waterfall, in and around the canyon of the Olfusa river in southwest Iceland, was owned by a farmer named Tómas. After an Englishman obtained a lease on the land, the farmer’s daughter, Sigriður Tómasdóttir took the case to court in an attempt to remove the lease and protect the waterfall. She became known as Iceland’s first environmentalist.

Today the Gullfoss Waterfall is one of Iceland’s most protected natural heritage sites. It was subsequently sold to the Icelandic government, and the only change to the landscape is a stone memorial to Sigriður, which honors her efforts of protecting the waterfall.

This post was last modified on September 30, 2017, 12:27 pm