Over the summer I helped run the social media for Grand Teton National Park. As part of that task, I constantly checked any and every teton-related hashtag for images for our accounts to feature. What I saw astounded me.
It can be hard for some to understand how just one person doing these things could possibly be a big deal. The problem is, its not just one person- its hundreds of people influencing thousands of people influencing millions of people.
I understand the frustration of some people that the National Parks just have too many rules and it’s impossible to follow them all. Trust me, I understand. I would love to camp at Schwabacher Landing and get that POV tent shot. I would love to be able to take dogs on a hike with me and photograph them at a backcountry lake and I would love to fly my drone and get aerial shots of the Tetons. But, I understand that the rules are there for a reason. They are there to make sure these gorgeous lands and the wildlife they hold are protected for our future. Personally I think some of these, like hopping fences and feeding wildlife, have no place anywhere. But others like flying drones, hiking with pets, and sparklers are awesome and should be encouraged. But not in our protected lands.
So how do we combat this growing trend? As photographers, influencers, and the outdoor community, we can make the choice to respect the environment we capture, and to never take or post photos that encourage behavior otherwise. As followers, we can choose not to like photos and even comment on such posts letting them know we are not okay with that action. On top of that companies and hubs can make the choice not to feature these photos. With the National Park Service Centennial approaching in 2016, we need to act as a community and send the message that the National Parks are NOT the place for this behavior. It's up to us to make the change.
Written by Christina Adele Warburg/@christinaadelephoto with edits by Elisabeth Brentano/@elisabethontheroad