The Svalbard Environmental Act establishes that all traces of human activity from before 1946 are protected. This applies both to permanent cultural monuments such as sites, graves, erected buildings and facilities of any kind, and loose objects. (quoted)
So… you can trash the delicate vegetation of Spitsbergen, like lichen which grows very slowly (sometimes not more than 0.1 mm per year), with your Arctic boots, but you shall not step on a piece of wood, because this just might be dated from before 1946…
The main human activity in Spitsbergen used to be coal mining, but I understood that this was never really profitable. All silent witnesses of the mining activities, like collapsed mines shafts, rusty tools, abandoned cabins and even old garments still hanging in those cabins are now part of the cultural heritage.
During our trip in Spitsbergen we visited several abandoned sites. I’m not sure about the “cultural” or “heritage” in theses places, as a wildlife photographer I always struggling with the so-called urbex-photography, the least I can say is that it’s historical.
An abandoned coal mine in Longyearbyen.
Abandoned cabin at Skansbukta
Some pieces of cultural heritage your not allowed to step on…
Abandoned cabin for mine workers in Colesbukta, everything was still there; beds, clothes, cans, bottle, even an old fireplace, which had definitely caught fire, was still intact.
Found an old box with rusty nails
The Jetty at Colesbukta and our beautiful ship “Noorderlicht” in the background.
Some old rusty tool on the beach of Colesbukta. It looked like a sort of crane…. still not sure what is was.
More photos of my trip to Spitsbergen can be found with this link http://bit.ly/2xwxhcx
Also sharing my photos on