Instagrammers are Destroying Natural Landmarks

By Kehl Bayern / November 5, 2018

We’ve told you about the massive impact Instagram fanatics are having on everything from hotel management to park safety.

Image via Pixabay from

Another huge concern is the destructive force of so much foot traffic.

According to a recent report cited by PetaPixel, Instagrammers are literally trampling some of the world’s most beautiful sites under their feet, ruining once pristine nature sites that would receive a few thousand visitors at most in the past.

The long term impact of this kind of behavior, of course, is pretty devastating. But, to be fair, destructive tourism isn’t anything new and definitely not something you can pin on Instagram or social media exclusively.

From the Chinese kid that decided to write on the walls of the Great Pyramid to the many, many instances of people throwing things into or falling into the geysers at Yellowstone National Park, tourism is fraught with a destructive impulse almost by nature.

One example cited in the Vox report picked up by PetaPixel is Horseshoe Bend in Arizona. This site used to attract what rangers estimate was a few hundred visitors a month. Now it is in the thousands with the location on track to post 1.5 million visitors this year alone according to AZ Central.

The problem isn’t only that these crowds have a negative effect on the areas they visit but also that there is little to no park infrastructure in place to support these kinds of crowds. For its part, Horseshoe Bend was a site located off trail and somewhat out of the way for most tourists. As such, there wasn’t a lot of visitor infrastructure in place though that could change in the future.

Though what kind of impact those kinds of developments will have can only be imagined at this point. Part of the attraction of these locations is how undiscovered they seemingly are. Once that’s lost, will the crowds remain.

What do you think? Is Instagram causing more foot traffic to natural landmarks or have tourists always been a bother in these kinds of situations? Let us know in the comments.


About the author

Kehl Bayern

Kehl Bayern is our staff news writer and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing. In terms of photography, he is interested in architecture and modern design. Kehl Bayern is also the author of science fiction thriller Animus Proxy. He is based in Boston, Massachusetts and studied politics at the University of Virginia and, later, Harvard University for graduate school. He spends much of his time traveling up and down the east coast of the United States. You can follow him on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.


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