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The lake of Úlfljótsvatn, which is connected to the lake Thingvallavatn, was named after Úlfljótur, the first lawspeaker of the Alþing, the Parliament formed after the Settlement of Iceland before the turn of the first millennium. He spent three years in Norway to learn about laws that could be used for the newly established Icelandic society, and his foster brother Grímur Geitskór determined Thingvellir was the best place to hold the Alþing. In 930, the first Alþing took place there and the first laws, named Úlfljótur’s Laws, were established. This marked the beginning of the Icelandic nation.

Úlfljótsvatn literally translates as “the lake of Úlfljótur”. The name Úlfljótur itself is composed of two words: “úlfur”, the wolf, and “ljótur” which today means “ugly”. It had, however, a much more positive connotation in the past and could mean “bright”. Therefore, the name Úlfljótur means “Bright Wolf”.

Thingvellir is a particularly important place for the forestry sector of Iceland, as it is where the first successful tree planting experiments took place in the spring of 1899, when about 4400 trees were planted, including mountain pine (Pinus mugo), birch (Betula pubescens), and white spruce (Picea glauca). From these experiments grew Furulundur, the Pine Stand. The IFA was also formally founded on the 27th of June 1930 in Thingvellir where, fourteen years later, the Republic of Iceland would be proclaimed after gaining its independence from Denmark. The IFA celebrated its ninety-years anniversary in Furulundur during the general assembly of 2021 (belated by a year because of the Covid-19 pandemic).

Historically speaking and forestry-wise, Thingvellir and Úlfljótsvatn are therefore two important areas. Our land neighbours the Thingvellir National Park, and one can find many points of interest such as craters, waterfalls, geysers, lakes, mountains, but also large patches of forests. It is as such also located in one of the most touristic area of Iceland, the Golden Circle area.

Sigurður Sigurðsson, first chairman of the Icelandic Forestry Association, giving a speech on June 27th, 1930, at Almannagjá, Thingvellir, for the creation of the organization. Author: Hákon Bjarnason. Source: Sigurður Blöndal & Skúli Björn Gunnarson, Íslandsskógar. Hundrað ára saga, Mál og Mynd, 1999.

Úlfljótsvatn postcard. Sofus Eymundsson, 1890-1911. Source: Danish National Museum Online Archives.

Úlfljótsvatnsbær, Matthías Þórðarson, 1924. Source: Sarpur - Þjóðminjasafn Íslands

As we can see on these old post cards and photographs, the old farmhouse with its turf roof was located much lower on the hill, and much closer to the church. But when the first power plant of the area - Ljósafossvirkjun - was built in 1937, the water levels dramatically increased by 1 meter, thus causing much damages to the shores.... It is believed that this is the reason why the farmhouse was moved to the top of the hill, where it is now.

The church was built in 1863, but the steeple and its bells were only added in 1961. The bells are much older however as one can read “E.B.S. ANNO 1744” which mean that they were made in 1744. They are therefore 280 years-old as of 2024. It is possible to listen to a recording of the bells ringing on the site of the Icelandic Church Bells

The land, which was owned by Orkuveita Reykjavíkur (Reykjavík Energy) was bought in 2011 by the Icelandic Forestry Association, the Icelandic Boy and Girl Scout Association, and the Scout Association of Reykjavík. The three organizations have since then owned and managed the land in close cooperation, each of them having their own role to lead. The scout organizations have sole ownership of the Scout and Adventure Centre and are responsible for the recreational and youth dimension. The Icelandic Forestry Association has sole ownership of the old farm and the church and manages reforestation and forestry operations.


The scout camp has however been operational since 1941, and in 1987 a group of scouts founded the Scouts of Úlfljótsvatn Forestry Association which has been very active in planting trees in the that are explored by the scouts, school groups, volunteers and visitors who come to us every year.

Þórunnartún 6

105 Reykjavík



The Lake House of Úlfljótsvatn


Grafningsvegur Efri

805 Selfoss




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