- Lisa Parsons
Instagram Roadmap to the Middle of Nowhere Hot Springs
If I told you where the hot springs are I'd have to kill you said a local, jokingly, who had no idea that his inside tip would go global. His favorite secret spot is now everyone's favorite spot and he can't find a parking place when he goes these days.
Millions of Insta-grammers are destroying the solitude and adventure of wild places by posting articles, photos, and GPS coordinates to locations around the globe.
Like Airbnb the "instagram selfie" is reeking havoc on local communities around the world. What were remote distant locations that few knew about and the locals cherished are now inundated with selfie iPhone entrepreneurs that are coming for a different reason. They are coming to make money, promote themselves, and rack up a list of "been there done thats". Lost is the spirit of adventure, stewardship, and inspiration.
So often what starts as a good idea, like sharing a personal home on Airbnb or writing articles on the Best Secret Locations to Visit, have become revenue generators, investment opportunities, or worse a roadmap for a new golf community. AS David and I travel around the U.S. exploring remote locations and writing about them we've discovered the darker side results of sharing. We are creating road maps for others who maybe, don't share the same environmental or moral ethic that we do. What if our quiet escape down a dead end canyon dirt road becomes someone else's directions for the next desert Rave, gun range, or campbell soup promotion. "Look you can use this old Hopi cooking oven to heat up your soup". I'm sure that hasn't happened but you can see what I mean.
So we now have to ask ourselves key questions. Are the roadmaps we are creating going to benefit the place we are visiting? What are the possible repercussions of posting this place to instagram or Facebook? If we are going to do so, how can we give back?
There are times when giving a road map or getting people out to a place is beneficial. I worked on land conservation in the Seattle area for many years. Two of the key areas I worked on were little known gems that if they continued to go unnoticed would have eventually been new housing developments or the next freeway off ramp. So in those cases I weighed the good with the bad, created community support for conservation, built trails and made maps. Yes, there will be negatives to the campaign but ultimately the good outweighs the bad in these cases. If they come they may overrun it but if no one comes it will quietly get converted into the next mining operation or housing development and we will have lost something that is irreplacable in a world that seems to define itself by the lowest common denominator these days.
So David and I will weigh heavily the pros and cons of sharing the location of places. We will consider if it will benefit it or destroy it. We will work to be responsible travelers. We'll pack out our trash, take only photos, stay on the trail, and decide whether sharing the place will negatively impact the place or be a benefit to the place and the people who visit it.
Also in the spirit of land conservation and outdoor adventure if you have a little known place that could benefit from millions of instagrammers knowing about it please contact us. We'll try to do our part to promote the area in a responsible way so that, maybe, your local politician or land manager will take notice of its increased popularity and make it a priority for land acquisition, new trails, or recreation infrastructure.
So with that I'm sharing this remote Hot Springs in photos only. If you have a spirit of adventure and are willing to do the research you to can find your way down miles of dirt road, a short hike, and a river crossing to this well known but difficult to get to hot springs. Enjoy!
Local flavor. Artist's decorate the old stone buildings. Some of the art on the inside walls have been there for over ten years.