How Instagrammers Might Be Destroying Nature


How Instagrammers Might Be Destroying Nature

You scroll through your best friend's Instagram feed and see the world's most beautiful setting, and think: "I really want to go there."

According to travel photographer Brent Knepper, you're unfortunately part of the problem.

As Knepper says in The Outline's article "Instagram is Loving Nature to Death,", thanks to the photo-sharing application, some of the best-kept secrets of the world's natural scenery are drawing big crowds who are literally altering the landscape.

Knepper told NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro about some of those idyllic locations which are seemingly being destroyed due to exposure on Instagram.

One of those locations is Horseshoe Bend in northern Arizona. It is that beautiful spot seven miles up the Colorado River from the Grand Canyon. It is in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, and it makes a complete 180-degree turn in a canyon a thousand feet deep.

From the viewing point at the top, one can get that amazing view of that horseshoe shape, hence the name. It is a rugged, remote spot, and it is a charming place as long as people are willing to share it with a crowd.

On Instagram, Horseshoe Bend's popularity, in its hashtag or its geotag, is normally ten times as popular as anything else in the same area. Popularity is significant, as the outdoor world needs more visitors as well as more accessibility. The difficulty with managing this side of it is that construction effects might have adverse conditions applied to these natural areas.Of course, not all visitors are a problem. It's just that some people neglect responsibilities of their visitorship.

There's also another place in Colorado, Conundrum Hot Springs, which, after becoming a popular spot on Instagram, the amount of visitorship went up extremely high. The problem, since that's a very remote location where people stay for a long time in the hot springs, is that they've run out of places to go to the bathroom. Therefore, Conundrum Hot Springs had to be shut down for a while, until the issue was solved. As toilets weren't built, the park rangers literally had to shovel up everybody's waste and pack it out for them!

Finally, Vance Creek Bridge is possibly the most famous spot within the Instagram niche. It's the second-tallest bridge in the U.S.; it is privately owned and located about a two-hour drive outside Seattle.

Since its location was revealed in 2012 on Instagram, the visitorship has just exploded. The railing company, the owner of the bridge, has tried to slow down the number of people who visit it by putting up a fence and then excavating the entire area before it drops down over three hundred feet towards the river. They have not been successful with that, and as a result of vandalism, graffiti and several campfires that caught the bridge on fire, they are just going to tear it down now.

Undoubtedly, there's a community aspect of it. There is nothing wrong with seeing a cool space on social media and deciding to go there, as long as you don't start fires there, and you clean up your poop.

NPR's Digital News intern Jose Olivares produced this story for digital.

Reference: NPR



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Thinking Humanity: How Instagrammers Might Be Destroying Nature
How Instagrammers Might Be Destroying Nature
You scroll through your best friend's Instagram feed and see the world's most beautiful setting, and think: "I really want to go there."
Thinking Humanity
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