This Account Wants to Stop Instagrammers from Destroying Public Lands


Instagram has led to an influx of a new type of traveler, and that is one who is journeying in search of social media likes above all else.

For some travel companies and tourist spots, this has proven to be a boon for business.

Image by Daria Usanova

For other locations, like some parks and historical sites, these travelers are not only breaking rules and destroying property but, in the case of some natural locations, doing irreparable damage.

We brought you a story last year about this very phenomenon.  We discussed how it is forcing some publicly-funded locations to implement new procedures and even pushing some to build new structures to accommodate this new kind of tourist.

But one Instagram account has decided to put a stop to this before it gets worse.

As Jezebel points out, two recent events – the US government shutdown at Joshua Tree National Park and the near-trampling of Walker Canyon’s poppy fields – have given rise to the Instagram account Joshua Tree Hates You which draws attention to bad behavior by Instagram tourists.

In the first case, during the US government shutdown which severely curtailed resources for national parks, visitors to Joshua Tree caused permanent damage to some of the unique features of the park.

In the second example, Walker Canyon’s poppy fields had to be closed temporarily due to a horde of people showing up and causing chaos.

Jezabel’s Anna Merlan notes an oft-discussed phenomenon with a lot of these photos, particularly those taken in the poppy field, and that is how they all look alike.

So, in the rush to look unique and get likes, everyone ends up taking the same photo. That sounds about right.

Or, as she writes, these photos often feature someone, “ sitting in a poppy field, gazing dreamily into the distance, sometimes holding a carefully placed sponsored product, like a cellphone case or a jaunty can of soup. They tend to make the poppies look very, very inviting, and like it’s cool to sit among them, which it’s absolutely not.”

If you’d like to follow Joshua Tree Hates you, you can do that over here on Instagram.

You can also read Jezabel’s interview with the account here.

About Author

Kehl is our staff photography news writer since 2017 and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here and follow him on Insta.

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