Wednesday, September 19, 2007

When hiking is bad for the environment

Found this today. It was interesting to me because N and I had discussed going to Machu Picchu a few years ago:

MACHU PICCHU, PERU — Daily they swarm this mystical city of the Incas where the high ridges of the Peruvian Andes fall away to meet the Amazon rain forest.

The tourists — about 2,000 each day — tramp through the 15th century mountain sanctuary, clog the paths between the stone buildings, scale fragile rock-and-sod terraces.

Now, following Machu Picchu's widely publicized designation as one of the "New 7 Wonders of the World," South America's best known archaeological site is bracing for even more visitors, while just down the mountain, new hotels and restaurants are going up to serve them. But some experts fear Machu Picchu and its surroundings will be loved to death.

Conservationists fear for Machu Piccu's future - Houston Chronicle

The latter part of the story has some discussion on the political measures some countries went through to get their historical sites designated as one of the "New 7 Wonders of the World". Now that designation could lead to the ruin of those same sites.


zhakee said...

It's nice that people want to visit historical and/or scenic places. It's even better when they begin to care enough to want to help preserve such sites. Unfortunately, such use can harm those very sites. From what I've read, media exposure often results in a huge influx of visitors. Land management, development of trails, all of that needs addressed to protect things. Heck, at my own blog, I happened to put up a post in response to a tv show that aired a couple of weeks ago, as I had visited the location the tv show featured, last fall. The number of hits I've received based on searches about that location is amazing, and it's all due to a tv show. I wonder if the actual location will now be inundated with even more visitors.

Michelle said...

That's fascinating you would get such a response from a TV show. I do wonder about that sort of thing. "Brokeback Mountain" was filmed in this area and for years after the movie was out there were "Brokeback Tours" offered for tourists. It's calmed down a little.. but when does the line cross from tourism bonus to environmental problem?

zhakee said...

I think media coverage has an amazing affect on things. Look at that talk show featuring O. She has a monthly book club and every single book featured in her reading club winds up becoming a best seller, or at least suddenly becomes extremely popular. I think media coverage for little, out of the way places probably has a very large impact, at least if the media is television. Local newspaper stories probably don't do anywhere near as much. I do know that certain media coverage affects me and I wind up doing internet searches on topics I suddenly get an interest in. Multiply that by thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of viewers...