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Please don’t geotag your photos

A welcome wildlife surprise  (Provided photo — Diane Chase)

A million years ago it seems, before quarantine, my husband was asked about guiding a hiking group to a specific spot in the Adirondack Park. The people had noticed a particular view from an Instagram account and only wanted to go to that location to replicate that photo.

After numerous emails and conversations, the people in question decided not to hire my husband because he didn’t think it was a practical choice for inexperienced hikers. The trek would have required some special gear, an early morning start and no guarantee that the goal would be reached.

That is when I realized that I was part of the problem. If I posted a photo with a location, people weren’t understanding the preparation involved to take the particular photo. They just wanted to increase their Instagram status (or whatever the kids are calling it these days) without understanding that camping overnight was involved. Some people expected to be back at the hotel room in time for cocktails. 

Believe me, I’m as excited as the next person when I manage to get to the summit of a mountain, see a moose or find some backwoods oasis. I want to share that information with my family and friends because sharing is caring, right? 

A few years ago I was on a backwoods road and came across a young moose standing in the middle of the road. I was so excited that I pulled the car over and watched that moose until it went into the woods. It didn’t occur to me until later that I was the one drawing attention to the moose because I was outside my car looking into the brush like a kid at a candy store. I wasn’t close to the moose, but I was along the side of the road. 

These days I want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. I try to be more aware of labeling places because there are more people visiting with even less wilderness experience than the people mentioned above. Social media isn’t beneficial if it causes destruction to wild places or wildlife. 

I realize that some of us have a bucket list we are constantly updating, but let’s not accomplish it at the expense of our mountains, animals or fragile ecosystem. I hope to be better. I know you feel the same way. I appreciate all the rangers and wildlife educators continuing to work in the field and their willingness to always answer my questions. Thank you.

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