SALT LAKE CITY — Is it too late now to say sorry?
What happened: Iceland officials have announced plans to close the popular Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon until June, and they’re partially blaming Justin Bieber’s 2015 “I’ll Show You” music video, according to USA Today.
- The video features Bieber walking, swimming and moving through Fjaðrárgljúfur and other parts of Iceland, and it has been viewed more than 440 million times.
Why Bieber is getting some blame: Daniel Freyr Jonsson, head of the Environment Agency of Iceland (Umhverfis Stofnun), said the canyon was not well-known until Bieber’s music video was released. Now it has been overrun by tourists, according to USA Today.
- “The great increase in foot traffic began after Bieber came,” Freyr said. “There has been an increase of 50 percent to 80 percent between 2016, 2017 and 2018.”
Between 2017 and 2018, canyon visitors increased from 150,000 people to 282,000, according to The Telegraph.
What's being closed: All paths in Fjaðrárgljúfur have been temporarily closed, as increased foot traffic in the canyon combined with spring thawing have been devastating to local vegetation, according to Lonely Planet.
Iceland has seen an unusually warm winter. Higher amounts of rainfall have made trails muddy, and visitors have been walking in fragile vegetation to avoid the mud, according to Lonely Planet.
However: Bieber and increased tourism isn't to blame, some say. Inga Hlin Palsdottir, the director of the national tourism agency Visit Iceland, told CNN it isn’t fair to blame damage done to the canyon on “overtourism” or pop stars.1 comment on this story
"It's just a natural wonder that wasn't meant to be that popular," Palsdottir said. "We need to build a better infrastructure there so we can invite people all year round. We need paths that can be discovered all year round. It's not only because of nature, it's a safety issue."
The canyon was originally planned to be closed for two weeks to allow trails and vegetation to heal, according to Lonely Planet.
The Environment Agency has since decided to close the trails until June 1.