Note — Sep 08, 2019

Spoils of #Nature on Instagram

Aaaarghhhh!!!! Excellent feature at Beside magazine (English version of something they did in French with Radio-Canada) on the plague of the crowds “doing it for the ‘Gram.” That’s why we can’t have nice things, second order effects, get off my lawn, sign of the apocalypse, etc.

On a smartphone screen, a woman balances on a half-submerged tree trunk. Turquoise water stretches out on all sides, with the blurred reflection of a mountain, pine trees, and a glacier. Alone in the world, in an intimate moment with nature, she contemplates the beauty that surrounds her. She’s smiling. It’s the “perfect” picture.

Perfect framing, colouring, construction, mood, and in the perfect setting. Yet on the other side of the camera, 20 people are lined up to immortalize the same perfect scene, on the same log. Several small groups orbit around, telephones in hand. A portable speaker spews “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen into the landscape. […]

It’s clear that social media has contributed to the popularity of this place. Several people told me they learned about the park’s existence from Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. “We saw the geotag for Joffre Lakes with the pictures, and it created a bit of a domino effect,” a hiker explained as she stepped off the log. […]

But that feeling of luck evaporated about three years ago when Joffre Lakes started to be smothered under record numbers of visitors. “The workload increased, the park-use numbers skyrocketed, and these beautiful, sacred places began to feel like a Best Buy on Boxing Day,” Charlie says.