Thoughts from the Road : Digital Leave No Trace

A few weeks ago my friend Maggie and I were talking about Leave No Trace principles for the Dispersed Camping video I posted, and while we were making the next video which was about how to find free camping, she brought up a good point about Geo Tagging

Geotagging is having a huge effect on our natural places. 

People are taking these really incredible photos in very specific locations in National Parks, Alpine Lakes, and other pristine Naturally areas then geotagging that specific location on Instagram and Facebook, insert your fave social media platform that lets you share your location, and it is creating overuse. 

Our National Parks are suffering the most from this phenomenon, but other places around the world are also feeling this impact, (That place in the Philippines that shut down because of overuse and trash spread by tourists) 

Here in the United States we are so lucky to have so many open spaces reserved for public use, but we need to recognize that since they are public spaces it is all of our jobs to make sure these areas stay pristine, free of human waste, and will be there for future generations. 

I don’t want to be a huge downer, part of my goal is to encourage more people to get out there, experience more of the world around you, I believe Nature can do heaps and heaps of good for our mental well being. But! Finding those special places that make you go Wow, is part of the fun. 

So instead of geotagging the very specific road/place/lake/natural landmark in the  National Forest or National Park that you’re at, maybe just tag the National Park or the National Forest as a whole. 

There is a time and a place for geotagging specific places, for example if you stay at a mom and pop campground, small businesses, a commercial campground that was awesome, absolutely tag that place. You sharing that spot helps out local economies, and since they’re maintained private campgrounds, people are actively keeping it clean and they have the infrastructure there for people to be coming and going.  

I hear you going, but Amanda I pick up my trash, I follow good leave no trace principles when I got to these places, it’s not ME making the mess. I totally get it, but just because you follow good leave no trace principles, doesn’t mean the stranger that randomly sees your photos, or even your cousin who sees that photo and goes Oh I want to go there to that specific spot, will be as thoughtful and aware of their impact as you were.