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Iceland's New National Park: Think Big

Andrea Sachs

With only 300,000 residents and hypothermic temps, Iceland is not a boastful country. But now the Scandinavian nation can crow away.

The country recently cut the red ribbon on Vatnajökull National Park, the largest national park in Europe and Iceland's biggest conservation project. While we're talking in superlatives, it is important to add that the protected space contains the Vatnajökull Glacier, which is larger than all of Europe's glaciers combined, as well as the second-longest river in the country and Europe's most powerful waterfall. Other features include geothermal areas, lava beds, desert sands and mountain ranges.

This is no dinky plot of dirt and grass.

In total, the park will cover about 13 percent of Iceland's territory and is expected to expand in size and number of visitor centers (there are two now, four more to come). Thórunn Sveinbjarnardóttir, the Minister for the Environment, also alluded to a United Nations World Heritage Site designation.

Iceland isn't getting a big head, is it?

By Andrea Sachs |  June 13, 2008; 6:37 AM ET  | Category:  Andrea Sachs
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