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At a Glance
- Technically a part of the Kingdom of Denmark, the 18 volcanic islands of the Faroe islands are a sort of mecca for birdwatchers and hikers.
- The closure took place the weekend of April 26-28, 2019.
- A team of 100 international volunteers from 25 countries were chosen from 3,500 applicants.
An entire country closed for a weekend to tourists for maintenance, well, sort of.
Actually, only 10 popular sites on the Faroe Islands were closed for a weekend in April for repair and to "lay the groundwork for a more sustainable future for their unspoiled islands."
The Faroe islands is a self-governing archipelago located in the North Atlantic Ocean between Iceland and Norway. Technically a part of the Kingdom of Denmark, the 18 volcanic islands are a sort of mecca for birdwatchers and hikers that are drawn to the steep coastal cliffs inhabited by thousands of seabirds and about 80,000 sheep.
The closure took place April 26-28. During that time, a team of 100 international volunteers from 25 countries were chosen from 3,500 applicants, according to a press release. The volunteers were provided accommodation for their work.
Some of the projects included creating walking paths in well-trodden areas, constructing viewpoints to protect birdlife sanctuaries, re-building ancient cairns and erecting signs and posts to aid wayfinding.
While the islands do not suffer from too much tourism, the fragile landscape is vulnerable to the 110,000 visitors that make the trip to the remote islands each year.
“We have seen a 10 percent increase in tourism, which has had an impact on popular areas of the Faroe islands, with some areas experiencing deterioration," Levvy Hanssen of Visit Faroe Islands, the national tourism board, told StoryTrender.
“We wanted to do something about this and maintain the area for locals and visitors alike, but we needed to be proactive and not wait for further problems to occur. Because of this, we decided to recruit 100 volunteers who would be happy to help us run vital maintenance on the islands, which allows visitors to see the beauty of the many tourist attractions that we all see on Instagram," Hanssen added.
The team says it will once again initiate a closure sometime in 2020 for further maintenance.