Influencers have completely disregarded the entry ban to Germany’s most popular selfie spot in the form of a natural infinity pool more than one year after officials closed it for five years to give it a chance to recover.
The natural infinity pool – located at the Konigsbach waterfall over the Konigssee Lake in the Berchtesgaden National Park in Germany – was officially closed for at least five years in June 2021, with the possibility to extend the ban.
Authorities decided to give the natural reserve a chance to recover from damage done by illegal fires from overnight campers, as well as vast piles of garbage, trampled flora and petrified wildlife.
But outraged influencers – fearing they would fail to keep up with their social media competitors – completely defied nature police over the last year despite restriction signs and skyrocketing fines of up to EUR 25,000 (GBP 21,343).
Recent social media posts revealed that the number people who ignore entry bans and climb into the rock pool to take selfies against the backdrop of the spectacular lake and mountain range grows increasingly day by day.
Moreover, a total of 69 intruders were caught violating the appropriate signs set by the authorities and entering without permission and reportedly fined with amounts starting at several hundreds euros only in the first few months after the introduction of the ban.
National Park ranger Klaus Melde said: “A lot of people come from far away. From Holland, England, France, Italy or the Czech Republic.
“They simply say: We had such a long journey, we won’t let that deter us. We want to take this photo, which is still floating around all over social media.
“And they are not deterred by these warning signs and stop signs that say it costs something. They want the picture and ignore everything else around them.”
Melde revealed that closing the area until 2026 was actually the last step towards environmental regeneration of the area as all the other measures which they tried did not yield success.
He added: “The suspension was actually the last step. Because everything else we tried – working with signs etc. – didn’t work.”
Melde explained that a man even posted a YouTube video, detailing the trail to the waterfall and ignoring danger signs by saying “it’s not that dangerous. You can definitely go on there.”
He said: “And people see something like that and then they imitate it. Why would they question it when he says: It’s easy to walk there.”
District manager of the mountain rescue service in Pinzgau Bernd Tritscher argued that these social media posts inspire the creation of illegal touring tracks for cyclists.
Tritscher said: “People want to go somewhere, download some GPS track, but have no idea where they are going at all.
“And things that are posted on social media are always the subjective opinion of individuals. One must ask oneself: Is this my level now?”