The Information Age: Losing True Adventure
Sharing every location visited can decrease its wildness and remoteness.
With the prevalence of social media platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram, our daily lives are flooded with constant information. At our fingertips, we can gain instant insight on subjects such as the latest and greatest outdoor gear, photography equipment and scenic locations and hikes. Although having access to such information is truly fantastic, are we losing a true sense of adventure as a result?
The main theme behind The Outbound Collective and other pro-outdoor platforms is to share personal adventures and scenic locations as a way of encouraging others to go on hikes, paddles, climbs, etc. of their own. With this theme, I cannot agree more. More people need to responsibly get outside, with the proper information, in order for our environment to be widely appreciated and in turn, be taken more seriously when political and ethical decisions are made that will impact our natural world. However, promoting a specific location to thousands of people across the world wide web can have some negative side effects.
Have you ever been on (what you thought would be a remote) hiking trail, a place where you were hoping to discover a sense of solitude and adventure, when you simultaneously ran into hundreds of other people hoping to do the same? You might begin to wonder if that trip report you read lied to you...that trip report that said how beautiful and remote the lake or mountain was in which you were hiking to. But then you might also begin to realize that you weren't the only one who read that trip report...
As someone who is as guilty of sharing little-known backcountry locations as anyone else, I feel I face a dilemma every time I post a story, photograph or trip report onto social media. I so badly want to encourage others to get outside, inevitably to gain an environmental appreciation of their own, and so others can have their own outdoor stories to remember and share. However, by doing so, I'm also responsible for ruining the remoteness, quiet and sense of solitude that the certain location holds. These are some of the main reasons why people escape from their overcrowded, fast-paced lives and into the woods. Yet, it's quite ironic when one starts to realize they're simply escaping from an overcrowding city or suburbia to an overcrowded mountaintop, hiking trail or lake.
If you still want to share where you've been with your friends, followers and blog readers, consider not being as specific as sharing an exact mountain, lake or trail name. For example, you could say that you were in the Adirondack Park rather than Mt. Marcy. By being more broad you'll still let others know where you were, and you'll still be able to promote a place in which you love and want others to visit. However, you'll force people to get a map of their own, and maybe even attract less people to your favorite quiet getaway.
Fighting overcrowding in the outdoors in order to keep locations remote and quiet is as important as encouraging others to get outside. Besides, part of a true adventure is not only getting to where you want to go, but whipping out a map and compass and first finding out where that place is on your own. So next time you're about to share that adventurous and name-specific Instagram post or Snapchat story to all of your friends and followers, it might be wise to think twice about how that will impact that place in which you love so much.
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.