The Environment Agency of Iceland has reported recent vandalism of Helgafell to the police. “Individuals’ names and identifying characteristics have been scrawled into the soft rock and it is evident that some of the damage has been made very recently, even in the last few days,” reads a press release from the Agency.
Helgafell is a flat-topped mesa above the town of Hafnarfjörður and a popular hiking destination in the Reykjavík capital area. The mesa consists of palagonite, a soft rock that is easy to carve into. Recently, graffiti has proliferated at the site, some of which includes individuals’ first names as well as explicit images.
“These types of inscriptions are a clear violation of nature conservation laws and hugely disrespectful toward the country’s natural environment, as the violations leave behind damage that can take the wind and weather tens or even hundreds of years to wipe out.” The press release adds that the Agency is doing what it can to repair the damage.
“Damaging nature is a criminal offense, and we encourage travellers to stay vigilant and report violations,” the press release reads. “Help keep our nature unspoiled. If there is no guest book on the mountain peak that you topped, please refrain from writing your name.”
The penalties for such vandalism can include large fines and even prison time, but it may prove difficult to find those responsible.