When you visit one of our beautiful national parks it’s easy to get swept up in the majesty and grandeur, and — us being humans in the 21st century — you can’t blame us for wanting to share that experience. An Instagram’d moment can be both a humble brag and a travel suggestion, it’s a public endorsement that says “you have to go here and experience this,” so it’s easy to feel like you’re being charitable to your location by encouraging others to take part.
The downside is, as we’ve covered before, by doing this, depending on your level of “influence,” you might actually be causing more harm than good. The draw of national parks is the pristine and undisturbed environment they house, but geotagging has unfortunately created extra foot traffic at a few specific places — causing unintended harm to plants and animal habitats.
To remedy this situation, the Jackson Hole Travel and Tourism Board has come up with a solution that encourages generic geotagging in an effort to protect the secluded nature of the parks. Their “Tag Responsibly” campaign pushes people to experience the beauty of Jackson Hole without blowing up a specific spot, keeping the surrounding environment raw, rugged, and wild. Through social media posts from local influencers, as well as airport signage and other social media encouraging the practice of generic geotagging, the tourism board is hoping to reach travelers before they make it to Jackson Hole.
“With two national parks at our doorstep and acres of wild spaces we see this problem firsthand, every day,” said Katie Sollitt, the executive director of the Jackson Hole Travel and Tourism Board, “We want to share the beauty of Jackson Hole and inspire more people to experience it, but we also want them to join in our efforts to preserve it.”
The campaign, developed by creative agency Colle McVoy, is a smart attempt at preservation. That’s not to say that spots should be kept forever secret (or that territorialism and localism should be co-signed) but there’s an allure to going and discovering the cool images and angles for yourself, rather than building an itinerary off of your Instagram. The “tag responsibly” concept is a reminder that Instagram is a great resource but it’s not the end all and be all of planning your next adventure.