“[E]ngagement is growing, but it’s vapid, devoid of the deeper reflection that being in nature is meant to inspire”

The Walrus: How Selfie Culture Ruins the Great Outdoors for Everyone Else. “Social media has made natural spaces more popular. It could also destroy them.”

“For years, natural reserves have been seen as havens from the modern world, places where quotidian life gives way to quiet reflection and contemplation, often in relative isolation. But social media has disrupted the way we interact with the environment. With the right hashtag, anyone can view thousands of potential destinations—and choose which to visit based on aesthetics alone. A single social-media post can expose lesser-known or isolated places to the world. And that means good places can no longer hide. “They used to be local parks,” says Mairi Welman, head of communications for the District of North Vancouver, which manages two popular parks near the city. “But now we’re starting to see international visitors coming—and those parks were never designed to handle those kinds of numbers.” The influx has resulted in a host of problems, from woefully unprepared hikers getting hurt to people “using the environment as a bathroom.” And then there’s the parking: “There have literally been screaming matches and fist fights over parking spots,” she says. “It can be like a shopping mall at Christmas.””

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