Instagrammers are Destroying Natural Landmarks

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

grand canyon
Image by Clay Banks

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 Author

Kehl is our staff photography news writer and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here

Thank you for the interesting read! I like to think that Instagram has helped people become more aware of the beauty of the world. That social media has encouraged individuals to explore and become more adventurous. It’s a shame if there are destructive acts taking place on these treasured landmarks, but I’m happy to hear the increase of foot traffic.

These public lands were meant as much for the public to enjoy and appreciate as it is to save them for future generations. It is great that so many people are visiting them. I hope that many of them will continue to be respectful and keep an eye out for those who are not. It would be nice if more of the influencers on Instagram and other platforms spent more time talking about our responsibilities as citizens and be more specific on how to take care of these resources. It would also be nice if our elected officials started working together to find better solutions. We are surrounded by two large oceans and two friendly neighbors to the north and south. Maybe we could spend a little less on the ‘police state’ and a little more on taking care of our natural resources and each other.

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