One of the most-visited and most-photographed attractions in Norway is Pulpit Rock, a flat-topped cliff that overlooks Lysefjord and features a dangerous viewpoint where visitors inch near the edge for breathtaking photos.
One family took the danger level to new heights last weekend when the parents put their baby near the edge of the cliff so they could get a photo.
The photo of the incident, which has caused outrage, leaves the door open for debate on whether sites like these—and others that are similar—should have a protective fence.
Hiker Fred Sirevåg saw the parents put their infant so close to the 1,982-foot drop that it made him nervous. He snapped the photo you see at the top. The family departed by the time he could make his way down to warn them.
"I thought this was such a crazy thing to do that people should know about this," Sirevåg told U.K. MailOnline. "It should never happen.
"It's a straight drop. You don't want to go too close because it's pretty scary. You'd be pretty much dead if you fall down there.
"I think they put the baby into a great risk. A baby can easily tip around and it's really unpredictable and you never know when that will happen. If the baby fell away from the mommy I don't know if she could have caught the baby."
The photo has circulated online and in the Norwegian press, leaving people stunned and outraged at the irresponsible parents, the MailOnline reported.
Preben Falck, general manager of the Stavanger Tourist Association, has taken his children to Pulpit Rock but kept them at a safe distance.
"All parents are different, but I wouldn't look after my children like that," he told The Local Norway, referring to the parents in the photo.
Falck dismissed the idea of a protective fence, along with the thought of a sign telling parents what not to do.
"We cannot put up signs telling that parents should not put their children down near the edge," he said. "Nor do I think we should put up fences and secure the area. That would spoil the experience."
Such is the case at the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland where only part of the path along the cliffs is protected.
The Cliffs of Moher website warns that a remote section of cliffs is a "challenging and demanding trail with no barriers, handrails or seaward fencing. Trail features include an exposed cliff-top path, steep ascents and descents, and narrow and/or steep flagstone steps."
Further, the site states that the trail should not be taken in poor weather conditions, is not recommended for children under 12, and that bikes and dogs are forbidden.
"Do not assume that because you may see other walkers approaching the edge it is safe to do so," it states.
Norway's Kjeragbolten has a boulder pinned between two cliffs that bridges a gap 3,228 feet above the same Lysefjord as Pulpit Rock. It has no fences. People are free to take photos of people standing on the boulder, said to have been wedged there around 50,000 B.C.
NaturalBornHikers.com talks about the cliffs of Slieve League in Donegal, Ireland, and One Man's Pass, the narrow, knife-edge path that is one-meter wide to the summit and not recommended for those fearing heights. Again, there is no fence, so only the sure-footed ought to trod there.
It is our feeling that punishing responsible people for the things irresponsible people do isn't the answer. Building fences won't force the irresponsible to suddenly become responsible. A fence at Pulpit Rock really would ruin the experience.
And anyway, as former hiking guide Kjell Helle Olsen told Mashable, a fence would not make people safer at the site because people would climb the fence for a better view.
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