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ATV road at issue

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ATV road at issue

In 1990, Johanne Bech, a guide from Sisimiut, marked the first long-distance hiking trail in Greenland between Kangerlussuaq, where Greenland's international airport is, and Sisimiut, the second largest city in Greenland. In a few years it became the most famous hiking trail in the Arctic. On the hiking maps (Hiking Map West Greenland, scale 1: 100,000) it has the name "Polar Route", after which our association is named. Soon the name "Arctic Circle Trail" spread for it; and more recently you can also read the name "Arctic Circle ROAD". In 2015, the Qeqqata Municipality decided to build a road there. Because a real road would be too expensive, a road for off-road vehicles or quods should first be built, which in Greenland are called “ATV”. Soon a link appeared on the Qeqqata Municipality's website to a PDF file promoting this road with the prospect of good profits for some. To illustrate the expected economic benefits of this road, the following photo was presented on page 15 of this text:
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The comment of a guest on the campsite: "The Hell's Angels invading Greenland." A more polite but precise explanation comes from the text accompanying the picture:
"The rental of motorized vehicles and bicycles as well as guided tours along the nature-road brings profits for tourism companies ... Of particular interest is the fact that in January and February hunters can use ATVs on a large scale for winter hunting. ... but ATVs can also be used for trophy hunting."
A tourism company (Igloo Mountain ApS) has expressed the expectation on its website that it will be able to offer 8,000 to 10,000 trips a year with the rental of ATVs on this ATV road, what will damage the whole area.
A third of the hiking trail ("Polar Route" / "Arctic Circle Trail") is to give way to the road aend to be relocated to another trace south o fit. A German guidebook warns the hikers to use this "southern route" and says that passing through it is vry difficult, sometimes even life-threatening. On the rest of the hiking trail, the ATV road should run parallel to it, which also will devalue the hiking trail. A petition, what we sent to the municipality, signed by 300 hikers on the Polar Route, who opposed the plan of the ATV road, was simply ignored by the municipality: It was not submitted to the municipal parliament and we never received an answer.
The planned ATV road is intended to cut through the World Heritage Property “Aasivissuit - Nipisat. Inuit Hunting Ground Between Ice and Sea ”, and this will destroy its integrity. When asked by UNESCO (WHC) in the process of recognizing this region as a World Heritage Site that the hiking trail was practically sacrificed to the road, the representative of the Danish delegation replied: “There are absolutely no plans to upgrade the Arctic Circle Trail to any kind of ATV or dirt road.“ According to the statutes of UNESCO our association has not the status of a corresponding partner in this prodedure, but only the Danish delegation as a state party. So we couldn't contradict that. This changed after the inclusion of the site into the World Heritage List, and we were able to inform the UNESCO/WHC of the endangerment of the World Heritage by the planned construction of the ATV road, and we could apply to put it on the list of World Heritage in Danger. But on June 5, 2019, the representative of the WHC informed us that she had forwarded our application to the Danish authorities for further processing. We have not yet received any response from them except that an attempt was made to create a fait accompli and the construction of the ATV road started in July 2020.
Here you can see an actual photo of the "road to freedom" made on 2021-06-20. More information will follow.
The ATV road near Hundesø.

See the following pages for more details.

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