Blame the Bieber effect.
One ancient canyon in Iceland has been closed to the public over concerns that the scenic spot’s “fragile vegetation” is in danger after a major uptick in foot traffic in recent years. The cleft won fame as the site of a 2015 Justin Bieber music video.
Public access for the southeastern Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon was recently shuttered by local environmental officials after being “overrun by visitors,” whose sheer volume is threatening to ruin the ancient canyon’s “fragile vegetation,” Lonely Planet reports.
The canyon was the site of the now 25-year-old star’s “I'll Show You” video, which has since been viewed over 440 million times on YouTube. In the clip, Bieber runs, frolics and takes in the stunning sights, apparently inspiring his international legions of fans to want to do the same.
Fjaðrárgljúfur’s annual number of visitors swelled from roughly 150,000 in 2017 to 282,000 in 2018, The Telegraph reports, a correlation that one Environment Agency of Iceland official believes is directly linked to Bieber’s powerful influence.
“This canyon was somewhat unknown [before the Bieber video],” Daníel Freyr Jónsson told local Icelandic media. “The great increase in foot traffic began after Bieber came. There has been an increase of 50 percent to 80 percent between 2016, 2017 and 2018.”
In hopes of giving the trails and vegetation time to heal from excessive “trampling” by scores of tourists, Fjaðrárgljúfur will be closed to the public until June 1, according to Lonely Planet.
The canyon is thought to have been formed at the end of the last Ice Age, about 9,000 years ago, measuring today at about 1.2 miles long and 328 feet high.