For those interested in reaching out to Leave No Trace about this issue, we have created the following form letter to make it easy and simple:
The ability to enjoy nature unspoiled by crowds, trash, and misuse is why I am a strong supporter of Leave No Trace principles. However, in an increasingly connected age, where social media can have instant impact, I have growing concern about the lack of a specific Leave No Trace principle as it relates to the digital world. The ability to share detailed locations of wild places to a massive audience has the potential for lasting environmental destruction. Therefore, I would like to request that Leave No Trace consider adding an eighth principle that encourages people to reflect on the potential impacts to wild places that can result when pictures and details are shared on social media.
Several articles have been published in recent years that document this issue and many public lands managers agree that when natural places “go viral” on social media, especially those not part of official trail systems or in fragile habitats or with sensitive cultural resource present, there are often negative impacts that are difficult to mitigate. I believe it would be appropriate and effective for Leave No Trace to take a stand on this issue.
Please consider adding something along the lines of the examples below as an eighth principle:
- “Be mindful when posting on social media and consider the potential impacts that rapidly increased use can have on wild places”
- “Use discretion when posting on social media and consider the potential impacts of creating a “buzz” about specific destinations”
Thank you for your consideration and for the work done by Leave No Trace to educate visitors to public lands.
You can download this as either a pdf (Letter to Leave No Trace) or .doc (Letter to Leave No Trace). Feel free to personalize it as you see fit. And please, it should go without saying, but….be polite!
Leave No Trace contact info:
Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics
P.O. Box 997
Boulder, CO 80306