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Blame it on Bieber: Iceland canyon too popular with visitors

With one magical video, Justin Bieber has made a pristine Icelandic canyon famous around the world. And that's the problem.

Icelandic environmental officials have had to close off the Fjadrárgljúfur canyon to protect it from the hordes of Bieber fans who are determined to visit the site. And these fans are not letting a few fences, signs or park rangers keep them away.

It's just one example of the challenges to Iceland's fragile environment poised by its growing popularity with international visitors.

In this photo taken Wednesday, May 1, 2019, Russian tourist Nadia Kazachenok poses for a photograph taken by Mikhail Samarin at the Fjadrárgljúfur. The canyon is closed, with roadblocks and rope fences, but tourists were quick to pass when the ranger went off duty on a Wednesday afternoon. (AP PhotoEgill Bjarnason)

Last year 2.3 million tourists visited the North Atlantic island nation, compared with just 600,000 eight years ago. The 20% annual uptick in visitors has been out of proportion with systems needed to protect Iceland's volcanic landscape, where soil forms slowly and erodes quickly.

In this photo taken Wednesday, May 1, 2019, Russian tourist Nadia Kazachenok poses for a photograph taken by Mikhail Samarin at the Fjadrárgljúfur. The canyon is closed, with roadblocks and rope fences, but tourists were quick to pass when the ranger went off duty on a Wednesday afternoon. (AP photoEgill Bjarnason)

In this photo taken Wednesday, May 1, 2019, Hanna Johannsdottir, a ranger from The Environment Agency of Iceland, poses for a photograph at the mouth of the Fjadrargljufur canyon. The canyon area has suffered environmental damages after intense traffic, prompted by the music video "I'll Show You" by Justin Bieber. (AP PhotoEgill Bjarnason)