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Walking paths at another popular tourist destination in South Iceland have been closed to protect vegetation. Walking paths on Skógaheiði heath, above Skógafoss waterfall have been closed to all traffic by the Icelandic Environment Agency to protect vegetation on the heath. Last week the agency closed walking paths along Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon.
The paths which have been closed are above the viewing points of Skógafoss, and do not affect visitors' ability to enjoy the view of the waterfall. The area is part of Fimmvörðuháls hiking trail, one of the most popular and beautiful hiking trails in Iceland. The area in question begins where the gravel paths around the waterfall end, and dirt paths begin, about 650 meters (0.4 miles) north of the viewing deck above the waterfall.
The reasons for both closures are the same: Rain and thawing snow, combined with heavy traffic, have overwhelmed the walking paths which have turned into impassable mudfields. Rather than stay on the paths, which is impossible because the paths are impassable, people have walked on the vegetation along the path. As the ground is extremely wet, the delicate vegetation cannot take the stress and large areas have been destroyed by foot traffic.
The Environment Agency urges people to respect the closing which will remain in effect for two weeks, or until the conditions in the area have improved sufficiently.
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