HOW TO LEAVE NO TRACE IN THE AGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Immersing ourselves in the great outdoors is at the core of everything we love most at East Zion Adventures. Lately, we are getting to meet many first-time adventurers who are just beginning to explore their own love of the great outdoors.
Thanks in large part to social media, people are more aware than ever about the beauty of East Zion, Utah and the rest of the world. This is awesome, but the increase of Zion area visitors comes at a price. As Utah parks become more crowded, it’s up to all of us to educate ourselves and each other about Leave No Trace best practices on social media, so we can all enjoy nature responsibly.
Zion National Park is one of the most visited parks in the U.S., which requires extra thought and care on our behalf. With National Park Week bringing even greater crowds to Zion National Park and other parks and monuments across the U.S., it’s a great time join together to build awareness, appreciation and respect for our public lands and the people who enjoy them.
The 7 Leave No Trace Principles Are:
1. Plan ahead and prepare
2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces
3. Dispose of waste properly
4. Leave what you find
5. Minimize campfire impacts
6. Respect wildlife
7. Be considerate of other visitors
You can read detailed information about each step on lnt.org or at www.zionponderosa.com.
Leave No Trace Social Media Best Practices
As more and more people get outside and share their adventures on social media, LNT has created a new set of four additional guidelines for the digital age. Like any technology or device, social media can be both a positive and a negative force. On one hand, it makes it easy to show off where we’ve been and share adventures that others may never be able to take (it’s a big world, after all!). On the other, droves of visitors are discovering once-hidden gems and the impact is showing on the environment. These new social media guidelines can help protect the outdoor spaces that we all love.
1. Tag Thoughtfully
While geotagging an Instagram photo may seem innocent enough, it can also lead to a significant impact on fragile environments as more visitors explore once-pristine locations. Guided hikes are one of the best and safest ways to visit these more remote locations. LNT recommends social media users avoid tagging or geotagging specific locations in favor of general locations, states or even regions.
2. Be Mindful of What Your Images Portray
We all want to share and inspire a love for the great outdoors, but we need to be thoughtful in what we share. We often see photos on social media of visitors on the wrong side of barriers and no trespassing signs or camping in prohibited locations. This dangerous practice can lead to accidents and damage to delicate ecosystems. Don’t do it and don’t encourage or support others to do it.
3. Give Back to the Places You Love
This can be as simple as packing out what you pack in and leaving a place better than you found it. One of the best ways to give back is to volunteer at your local, state and national parks. From trash pickups to tree plantings, there are plenty of ways that families, groups and individuals can help care for national parks and other outdoor spaces. Visit www.nps.gov for a list of scheduled volunteer events.
4. Encourage and Inspire LNT in Social Media Posts
Raising awareness is the number one way to educate others about Leave No Trace. When sharing America’s amazing outdoor spaces on social media, be sure to also share the Leave No Trace message. Hashtag #LNT and #LeaveNoTrace on social media and join the movement.