Damage has been caused to woodland this winter by visitors to Brúará river, since the waterfall Brúarfoss gained sudden and unprecedented internet fame.
Hundreds of tourists now visit the previously little-known waterfall every week—traipsing over summerhouse lots and down little-used woodland paths, which have become muddy furrows in places.
Brúarfoss is not even marked on normal maps, Vísir reports, and there is no road to it.
In past centuries, however, it was on a main thoroughfare and was re-paved and renamed “King’s Way” in honor of the Danish king’s visit in 1907. It is still possible to walk the old/new road in places, though most of it is now mud.
After being largely forgotten for decades, Brúarfoss suddenly finds itself listed online as one of the country’s top ten waterfalls. TripAdvisor even has it marked out as the best natural attraction in Reykjavík—despite being 90 kilometers away from the city.
The local landowners say they noticed people start arriving last summer, but that this winter has seen an explosion in visitor numbers. The total lack of parking means mud now rules where grass was once king.
One tourist website apparently tells visitors not to take any notice of private road signs banning unauthorized traffic, while another tells visitors to park in the summerhouses’ private car park.
The worst damage, however, is the new walking paths that are appearing through the forest, revealing mud and damaged tree roots.
One farmer has received a tourism development grant to pave a 3-km proper path to the now-popular waterfall (though the amount is far too little for a whole path), while another angry farmer plans to close his private road off with an electric fence.