Is Geotagging on Instagram Ruining Natural Wonders? Some Say Yes

Sorry, Instagrammers. You are ruining Wyoming.

Last week, the Jackson Hole Travel & Tourism Board requested guests to cease geotagging images on social media in an effort to guard the state’s pristine forests and distant lakes. Explaining the marketing campaign, Brian Modena, a tourism-board member, instructed the panorama was below menace from guests drawn by the attractive vistas on Instagram.

Delta Lake, a distant refuge surrounded by the towering Grand Tetons, has change into “a poster child for social media gone awry,” Mr. Modena mentioned in an interview final week. “Influencers started posting from the top of the lake. Then it started racing through social media.” (Influencers, when you don’t know, are folks with large social media followings who typically make a dwelling posting about locations and merchandise.)

A couple of years in the past, one or two hikers a day would make the nine-mile trek as much as Delta Lake. Now, he mentioned, as many as 145 individuals are mountain climbing there every day to shoot engagement images and hawk well being dietary supplements. Little-known trails are closely trafficked and eroding in some locations, taxing park sources.

“We want people to have a real connection to nature,” Mr. Modena mentioned, “not just a page with a pin on it.”

A spokeswoman for Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, declined to comment or make executives available.

But Dana Watts, the executive director of Leave No Trace, said: “There are a lot of reasons why people want to showcase where they have been. Bragging rights. It’s an unusual place.” But, she said, “We just want people to stop and think before they share a location.”

“While tagging can seem innocent,” she added, “it can lead to significant impact.”

That said. there are exceptions. “The Kunene Region of Namibia, a vast area that is not formally protected, has an important population of black rhinos that could be vulnerable to poaching,” Ms. Dean said. Her organization supports Save the Rhino Trust in Namibia, which asks people not to publish rhino sightings or document vehicle tracks.

Mr. Modena, the Jackson Hole tourism board member, said it could take years for behavior to change because smartphones are not going away. “We want to start a responsible conversation now about social media and conservation,” he said. “Selfishly, there are hikes I’ve seen that are beautiful that I am not going to name.”

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