Dalvík Nature ReserveA protected outdoor paradise in the north of Iceland

The Friðland Svarfdæla Nature Reserve is a beautiful slice of north Iceland, an 8 km2 wetland on both sides of the river Svarfaðardalsá, located near Dalvík. The reserve stretches from the sea up to Húsabakki in Svarfaðardalur. The area has been a protected region since 1972 and is the oldest of its kind in Iceland. Svarfaðardalur is a vast, densely populated valley in North Iceland, about 30 minutes from Akureyri. Small farms, babbling brooks and towering mountains surround the region.

Friðland Svarfdæla is an outdoor oasis with numerous hiking trails and bird-watching opportunities. In fact, the protected area is the home and nesting area for more than 30 bird species, making the area perfect for bird watching. The site has marked trails, information about birds, flora and fauna, and bird-watching houses and bridges for easy access. You can reach the nature reserve from Húsabakki in Svarfaðardalur or from Hrísatjörn, close to the town of Dalvík. Going from Húsabakki, travellers can walk through the nature reserve to the Svarfaðardalsá river, cross it on a short walking bridge and walk to the small forest of Hánefsstaðareitur.

Svarfdæla Nature Reserve was protected in 1972 with the help of farmers in Svarfaðardal to preserve the nature and landscape of the nature reserve. Wetland characterises the reserve, and the area is an essential habitat for various wetland birds, but it is believed that more than 35 bird species breed within the protected area.

The primary conservation value of Svarfdæla Friðland is the area’s bird life and bird habitat, but the reserve breeds, among other things, species that are listed as endangered and in imminent danger on the list of the Icelandic Institute of Natural History. In addition, various ecosystems in the area have a very high conservation value.The management and protection plan for Friðland Svarfdæla is intended to be a strategic document, worked in collaboration with landowners, municipalities and stakeholders, and is intended as a management tool to shape the area’s future vision. The aim of its creation is to propose a strategy for the protection of the nature reserve and how to maintain its conservation value so that there is as much harmony as possible. The plan presents 10-year strategic goals, along with a rolling three-year action plan.