Icelandic Landmark Made Popular By Justin Bieber Closes Due To Tourism Damage2 min read


Image via Shutterstock

A relatively untouched canyon in Iceland, which later caught the fame bug thanks to Justin Bieber, is closed due to damage from too much human traffic.

The Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon, one of South Iceland’s natural highlights, was among some of the backdrops featured in the Canadian pop star’s 2015 I’ll Show You music video, which has amassed over 440 million YouTube views since time of publishing.

Some 150,000 visitors went to the canyon in 2017. In 2018, the number rose to 282,000.

While the area was first projected to take a two-week hiatus in order to recover the damage found on its vegetation and trails, the Environmental Agency of Iceland has been compelled to close it to the public until 1 June. According to The Telegraph, this is the second time the area has been blocked off due to environmental issues—the first occurrence was in spring 2018.

“The Environment Agency advertised closure in the area at Fjaðrárgljúfur on 27 February, lasting two weeks,” the board wrote in a Facebook post in Icelandic. “However, it is clear that the state of the path and vegetation… has not improved since the closure came into effect.”

Daníel Freyr Jónsson from the agency believes the I’ll Show You video is a direct cause for the rise in visitor numbers at the site, which “used to be fairly little known” and was a local hidden treasure. “The great increase in foot traffic there began after Bieber came,” he added.

A Google Trends graph proves that searches for “Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon” have spiked since the video’s debut in late 2015.

In the music video, Bieber is seen running around on the gorge’s conserved moss and rolling down hills. Park rangers claim that, even until recently, they have had to stop fans from reenacting his moves on the area’s delicate vegetation.

Additionally, the nation’s environmental agency began hiring guards to protect the area in 2017 in response to the increased visitorship. Since the gorge’s closure in February, park rangers have purportedly turned away 100 to 200 cars each day from entering the site.

[via The Telegraph, video via Justin Bieber, cover image via Shutterstock]