The World Waterfall Database was created as a long-term project seeking to create the most comprehensive, complete record of waterfalls found throughout the world.
After evaluating the usage of the Google Maps widgets used throughout the website over the last month and a half, it became apparent that it won't be possible to continue using custom maps everywhere they were previously used. The interactive maps used for browsing State data will remain unchanged (again, for now), but the maps on the Waterfall pages have been reverted to the standard Google Maps embedded window instead - there won't be markers showing exactly where the waterfalls are, but they will at least be interactive again. Coordinates are still provided for easy searching. This is just a band-aid solution to a longer term problem, and eventually the maps will (hopefully) be fully interactive and show the markers again. When that will happen, I can't say.
In addition to the changes to the maps, it's also become apparent that some changes to the content on this website are necessary. Long story short, too many waterfalls are being loved to death. The impact of Social Media and its associated behaviors on some of these waterfalls is getting harder and harder to ignore or brush aside. There are countless instances waterfalls where rocks are being marked with graffiti, moss and plants being trampled into muddy pulp around the base of waterfalls thanks to surges of visitors, inconsiderate visitors leaving piles of trash or feces, bonfires being started illegally (and in some cases even whole trees being burned down), and camping where not allowed, and so forth. This is not isolated to any particular country or region either, it's been happening at an increased pace all around the globe, but much more frequently in places which are currently popular for Social Media visitation (Iceland, for example). Many waterfalls which are more off-the-beaten-path are essentially having paths beaten to them, largely due to the viral nature of pictures on Facebook, Instagram, and whatever other digital flavor of the month is currently the rage, and much more often than should be, the behavior of those who visit these places is unacceptable.
So, while encouraging visitors to be good stewards of the land, practicing leave no trace ethics, and sharing information responsibly is the obvious thing to ask, it's become clear that it's necessary to go one step further where possible. Therefore effective immediately, the World Waterfall Database will no longer provide explicit directions to any waterfalls which are not accessible via an established and maintained trail, and in some cases even if there is an unofficial trail, if the waterfall is located within a more delicate environment where increased visitation may pose a risk to the long term sustainability of the surroundings, directions may be selectively omitted as well. In contrast however, for off-trail waterfalls which are located in areas where there is little risk of the surroundings being trampled by heavy visitation, explicit directions may be selectively provided - this will be determined on a case-by-case basis and will have to be audited manually. For the time being all off-trail waterfalls have had their directions removed.
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