Hiking for Selfies in Guaratiba

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Selfie scene at Pedra do Telégrafo suffers from bad tourists
October 1, 2016

It became a fever on social networks. In October 2015, Vasco’s midfielder, Nenê, created a stir among fans by posting a picture on Instagram where he appears hanging off a rock, on a cliff, kissing his wife, with a beautiful scene that mixes sea and mountain as the backdrop. He wasn’t the only one. Selfies at Pedra do Telégrafo, in Barra de Guaratiba, in the West Zone of Rio, simulate a radical effect, which is nothing more than an optical illusion, but they have become the new trend for Cariocas and tourists who like adventure. But the city’s ecological paradise, little known until recently, began to suffer from depredation, garbage and even graffiti. Thanks to bad tourists who leave behind a trail of destruction and disrespect of nature.

The 354-meter mountain, in Pedra Branca State Park, started to become popular a little over a year ago. Today, it receives thousands of visitors, most of them looking for amazing photos to impress friends and followers online. On Friday, the site was host to a Summer Operation, promoted by the State Environmental Institute (Inea), which manages the park, with the support of Mosaico Carioca, a group of administrators of ‘conservation units’ in Rio.

“Only locals and mountaineers knew the place. Now the average is 1,000 to 1,500 people per weekend. The vast majority are bothered by the vandalism,” says Andrei Veiga, head of the park. The agents began installing educational and directional signs, with guidelines on the most appropriate conduct in protected areas, as well as railroad sleepers and [cantoneiras?] to prevent motorcycle access, in addition to removing graffiti from rocks and maintaining the trails.

“With the sharing of photos on social networks, tourism has greatly changed the region. Now another kind of group is coming, those that like trails, some more for the trendy photo than for the spirit of hiking,” says environmentalist Pedro Felipe Carvalho, 26, a resident of Guaratiba and a tour guide.

“It’s possible they’ll open their minds to this idea of nature and healthy living and look for other trails, but unfortunately most don’t know how to respect things. They leave trash and graffiti. It looks ugly and spoils the photo,” he adds.

Camping and illegal commerce of food and drinks and other articles on Praia do Perigoso, which is part of the neighboring Municipal Natural Park of Grumari, were also the target of the recent public order. “We want to promote adequate visitation, without prejudice to the biodiversity and natural attractions of the park,” said Andrei Veiga. According to him, from now on, on weekends, teams from Inea and the two parks will be present on the beaches of Meio and Perigoso and at Pedra do Telégrafo.

Residents unite to save the wild beaches

In December, the NGO Amigos do Perigoso removed half a ton of garbage from the beach and the trail. Eighty tree seedlings native to the Atlantic Forest were planted. “We are always demanding, making a group effort, bringing seedlings and plants to try to make people aware. But city hall and the park should have already been playing this role for a long time. With this inspection and the operation, now it will get better”, bets Pedro Felipe, a Tourism graduate from UERJ.

He and his friends, Rafael Klein, 35, and Wilton Maral, 31, joined together a year ago to create Trilha Guaratiba, which organizes walks to Pedra do Telégrafo and Tartaruga and to the so-called Wild Beaches (Perigoso, Búzios, Meio, Funda and Inferno).

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Pedra do Cavalo is the most famous point at Morro do Telégrafo. It was named after a photo taken over 20 years ago by Victor Klein, Rafael’s father, in which a horse appears, as if contemplating the breathtaking landscape. It is there that the busiest selfies on the tour are taken. Lines of up to two hours form for the desired photo. – Source (PT)

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