This Canyon in Iceland Is Closed to Tourists and Authorities Say Justin Bieber Is to Blame

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a large waterfall over a rocky cliff: Lola L. Falantes/Getty Images© Lola L. Falantes/Getty Images
Lola L. Falantes/Getty Images

Love him or hate him, Justin Bieber has influence. And sometimes that influence can have unintentionally negative results. In late 2015, he shot his “I’ll Show You” music video in a little-known canyon in southeast Iceland. Four years later, the Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon closed all public paths to the area after it became clear that the increased foot traffic was destroying its fragile vegetation, according to Lonely Planet.

According to The Telegraph, the number of visitors to the canyon increased from 150,000 to 282,000 between 2017 and 2018 and Daníel Freyr Jónsson from the Environment Agency of Iceland told RUV that he believes it’s directly related to Bieber’s music video, which to date has received 440 million views on YouTube. The agency initially planned to close the gorge for two weeks to allow for recovery, but extended the closure to June 1 after seeing the extent of the damage.

“This canyon was somewhat unknown,” Jónsson told RUV. “But I think Icelanders have known about it a lot longer. The great increase in foot traffic began after Bieber came. There has been an increase of 50% to 80% between 2016, 2017 and 2018.”

Fjaðrárgljúfur is located near the village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur and was formed during the last Ice Age. The official travel guide to south Iceland reports that the canyon is about 100 meters deep and two kilometers long. Waterfalls are nested deep in the canyon and previously, visitors could walk inside the gorge or on the walking path on the canyon’s edge, enjoying the view from above.

Thanks to Bieber’s reach, a whole new generation of visitors to Iceland are discovering Fjaðrárgljúfur, but so far, the canyon’s fragile vegetation doesn’t seem to be on board with the Beliebers.

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