How Instagram shut down this weirdly beautiful cliffside
Sunday, May 31, 2015, 1:18 PM - Australia's pristine, oddly angular Wedding Cake Rock has become super popular thanks to the rise of social media.
And that's exactly why officials at the Royal National Park in New South Wales, where the rock is located, closed it to the public this weekend.
Simply, the number of visitors to the park has skyrocketed as its popularity on Instagram has grown (check out the #WeddingCakeRock hashtag to see the best shots), from 2,000 monthly visitors total to the whole coast, to more than 10,000 at the rock alone.
That's drawn attention to a real safety hazard posed by people wanting to take artsy shots of themselves at the site.
So much so that park staff erected a fence at the site to keep people away from the edge until a more permanent solution is found.
"We realized there was a real problem brewing," Gary Dunnett of the National Parks and Wildlife Service, told the Sydney Morning Herald. "People were sitting right on the edge. Normal commonsense was not getting through. Just because you've seen an image of a friend sitting on the edge doesn't mean it's safe for you to do it."
Not just sitting on the edge, but actually dangling off of it as well, like the guy in the shot below.
Though that poster warned people not to try that themselves, some commenters laid into him for attempting the stunt.
Park staff are worried sooner or later someone will get too close or lose their balance and fall to their deaths.
In fact, it's already happened. The Herald reports the closure comes a year after a 23-year-old student died, apparently after the soft rock edge he was dangling from crumbled.
Park staff are now inspecting the cliff with drones, and they say they fear a large chunk of the cliff could actually break off eventually, sending anyone on it falling into the sea, possibly to their deaths.
"The thing I'm concerned about is whether having 30 or 40 people standing on that area has the potential to tip it one way or the other," Dunnett told the Herald. "We need to know whether or not that is on the cards to know whether the messaging is keep three metres back from the edge or keep 30 metres back."
A quick search of the #WeddingCakeRock hastag turned up a few posts from the weekend, mostly from people reminiscing over their time there before it was closed to the public.
SOURCE: Sydney Morning Herald