Offensive slogans, initials, and other words have been carved into a moss-covered hillside in the Nesjavellir Geothermal area in Southwest Iceland, Vísir reports.
Gunnar Arngrímur Birgisson works work within the tourism industry and frequently drives past the damaged slope. He published a photo of the vandalism on the tourism-related Facebook page, Bakland ferðaþjónustunnar, saying that he hoped the image would open people’s eyes. Gunnar Arngrímur added that the damage isn’t new: “It’s been there in a few places and I’ve noticed it, because there’s always something being added there. Last year, someone added ‘life’ and a few days ago, someone wrote ‘send nudes,’” he explained, saying that he’s long wanted to do something to counteract this unfortunate trend.
Icelandic moss is extremely delicate and, once damaged, can take years to recover, if it recovers at all. However, Icelandic authorities and environmentalists have had a great deal of difficulty in impressing the importance of respecting this vegetation on visitors. Last year, for instance, Canadian pop star Justin Bieber enraged local environmentalists when he filmed a video in the Eldhraun lava field that featured four dancers jumping up and down on the delicate moss there. More recently, in May, deep tire tracks running for 10 km across a lava field were found on the Reykjanes peninsula, causing significant long-term damage.