Let’s be honest, we all wanna show off our trips on social media—but what if I told you that your Instagram posts might be taking a negative toll on our favorite landmarks? It sounds far-fetched, but geotagging has become a huge issue as social media—and how we interact with it—evolves.


At Parks Project, we strive to protect, preserve, and enjoy the outdoors in every way possible—which includes our digital footprint; this is why we choose not to geotag our posts, and why we encourage our community to follow in our footsteps.

Geotagging: Let’s talk about it.

 

What is Geotagging and how is it impacting the environment?

 

Geotagging is the act of tagging a photo’s exact location; it seems harmless, right? It might even seem like a good deed: we’re not gatekeeping Mother Nature’s best assets. So how could geotagging possibly be a bad thing?

When the exact coordinates of these beautiful locations are broadcasted to hundreds, thousands, or millions of people online, more and more people flock to these Insta-famous destinations. Geotagging has led to a huge spike in tourism, and the increase of visitors has unfortunately resulted in an increase of litter, erosion, and destruction. On top of that, it forces the National Park Service to work even harder to keep up with the facilities and safety precautions necessary to accommodate a larger crowd. What began as an innocent action (geotagging), has become a huge issue. 

 

 

What can you do to help?

 

You don’t need to stop visiting the Internet’s most beloved locations or sharing your photos online! We love seeing these landscapes in-person and on social media, but we also love protecting and preserving these landmarks, which means not geotagging and sending thousands of people to their exact locations.

Here are three things you can do to help:

 

 

1. Think before you tag

 

If you really want to tag the location of your post, we encourage you to use a generic location (such as an entire national or state park, rather than a specific landmark) as the geotag. You'll still get to rep the cool location, but without risking the potential environmental harm!

 

 

2. Leave no trace

 

When we’re outside, we’re always following the seven principles of leave no tracewith the influx of reckless visitors flocking to social media's beloved landscapes, it's even more important to be the difference: dispose of waste properly, stay on trails, and leave what you find. 

Wanna take it a step further? Set a good example and share these principles with your audience. 

 

 

3. Volunteer

 

With the increase of visitors, litter, and destruction, Mother Nature is in serious need of volunteers. If you love her landmarks as much as we do, consider giving back to the environment with some volunteer work!

Not sure where to start? Join our volunteer alliance to keep up with our volunteer events! From removing invasive plants and restoring native plant habitats to cleaning up trails and rivers, we have a job for everyone.

 

At the end of the day, we want you to have fun, adventure responsibly, and—as always—leave it better than you found it.

 

Geotagging: what is it, why does it matter, and why do we avoid doing it?
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