Selfie-seekers ignore social distancing rules at Catalonia’s highest peak

Selfie-seekers ignore social distancing rules at Catalonia's highest peak
Queues at the peak of Catalonia's highest mountain. Photo: @pnaltpirineu
Park authorities are considering limiting numbers to one of Catalonia's most breathtaking beauty spots after selfie-seeking crowds formed at the region's highest peak.

Crowds swarmed the Alt Pirineu Natural Park over the weekend, and massive lines of people waiting to take selfies at the summit of the Pica d’Estats – the highest mountain in Catalonia – sparked outrage online.

On Sunday, the Alt Pirineu Natural Park’s official Twitter account posted a video of a long line of people waiting to take photos at the Pica d’Estats, which at 3,143 metres over sea level is the highest mountain in Catalonia: 

 

The Tweet criticized the park’s overcrowding, saying it was damaging the natural landscape, and called for more regulation.

In the video, a line of people who were not wearing masks and were not respecting social distancing rules can be seen waiting for their chance to take a photo with the cross that marks the mountain’s summit. 

The account also posted pictures of camper vans parked lining the road in nearby Sant Joan de l'Erm and of visitors swimming in Alpine lakes, which is forbidden because sunscreen and insect repellent are toxic to the amphibians that live in them, according to park authorities: 

Friday was Diada, the National Day of Catalonia, and many Catalans took advantage of the three-day weekend to leave the cities and enjoy the region’s natural landscapes. 

But park authorities say that the crowds over the holiday have led them to work to establish a system to regulate access to the area going forward. 

By Sam Harrison in Barcelona
 
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