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Home* News and Stories → Clo­sing eas­tern Sval­bard for orga­ni­zed tou­rism – an ongo­ing dis­cus­sion

Clo­sing eas­tern Sval­bard for orga­ni­zed tou­rism – an ongo­ing dis­cus­sion

The plan to clo­se the lar­ge natu­re reser­ves in eas­tern Sval­bard lar­ge­ly for orga­ni­zed tou­rism has been men­tio­ned seve­ral times on this site (click here and here). The public dis­cus­sion is going on, as reflec­ted by a num­ber of artic­les and seve­ral let­ters to the edi­tor of the local news­pa­per Sval­bard­pos­ten, a com­mon plat­form for (public) dis­cus­sions con­cer­ning Spits­ber­gen. The unde­mo­cra­ti­cal, intrans­pa­rent pro­ce­du­re is being cri­ti­cis­ed, as is the fact that the Nor­we­gi­an Polar Insti­tu­te – a major poli­ti­cal influence in the cur­rent pro­cess – is at the same time the play­er with by far the hig­hest level of acti­vi­ties in rele­vant are­as.

Local poli­ti­ci­ans demand to “dis­cri­mi­na­te locals posi­tively”.

Ano­ther reason for cri­ti­cism is that the argu­men­ta­ti­ve base for the clo­sure of such lar­ge are­as are rest­ric­ted to the “pre­cau­tio­na­ry prin­ci­ple” and the “sci­en­ti­fic demand for lar­ge, undis­tur­bed refe­rence are­as” – a very thin line of argu­men­ta­ti­on, given that many sci­en­tists do not sup­port this demand.
The fol­lo­wing quo­ta­ti­ons may shed light on the pro­cess:

“Tou­rism as it is curr­ent­ly mana­ged is not an envi­ron­men­tal pro­blem in Sval­bard” (Arne Mal­me, Seni­or envi­ron­men­tal offi­cer, Sys­sel­man­nen. Octo­ber 2008)

“I like strikt rules as long as they are the­re for others but not for me” (a rese­ar­cher acti­ve in the Arc­tic, known to the pre­sent aut­hor. Sum­mer 2008)

The plan is to pro­hi­bit landings of orga­ni­zed tou­rists in eas­tern Sval­bards in all are­as except desi­gna­ted places which are mark­ed with green on this map (addi­tio­nal­ly, local rest­ric­tions app­ly to seve­ral of the­se landing sites). Click here for a lar­ger ver­si­on of the map.

Closing eastern Svalbard for organized tourism - an ongoing discussion

Sources: Sval­bard­pos­ten



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last modification: 2014-07-01 · copyright: Rolf Stange