As an outdoor publisher we’ve been increasingly involved in the great social media debate. Now the esteemed group behind Leave No Trace are weighing in with new guidelines for social media users. So, can we post?

Around the world social media has sparked a revolution in the way we see and explore the world. But it’s also had a devastating impact on areas that have been over-trafficked by tourists all looking to get “the shot”.

We’ve started evaluating everything we post on We Are Explorers: “Are there environmental threats to the area?”, “Is it able to cope with more people?” and “Are there Indigenous concerns we should be aware of?” are common questions we ask ourselves daily.

But for most people, simply not posting isn’t a great solution. In the outdoors we experience our most cherished moments, see incredible natural wonders, spend important time with people close to us and, probably, take our best photos.

So what’s Leave No Trace suggesting?

Leave No Trace’s New Social Media Guidelines

  • Tag thoughtfully
  • Be mindful of what your images portray
  • Give back to places that you love
  • Encourage and inspire Leave No Trace in social media posts

You can read the guidelines in full in this post by Leave No Trace, but we thought we’d take a moment to add our thoughts.

How Do These Guidelines Affect Us?

Tag Thoughtfully

Geotags are one of the major reasons particularly photogenic spots suffer so greatly. If you avoid tagging, or tag the national park or track instead, it encourages the idea that the journey to the location is just as important as the spot itself.

Should we post locations with our images?

Be Mindful Of What Your Images Portray

Do it for the ‘gram, unless the ‘gram wants you hanging off fragile trees, jumping the fence into protected areas, setting campfires on cliff edges (scarring them permanently) or anything else that’s kinda questionable. No one’s going to post a photo of themselves littering, but the greater your influence, the more important it is that your photos show good practice (and don’t fake it).

10 Tips To Tread Softly In Our Wild Places 

Give Back To Places That You Love

It can be easy to go on adventures every weekend, bouncing from one ripper location to the next, but many of our wild places are under threat. Getting out and giving back is one of the best ways to guarantee our favourite spots stick around. Oh and hey, it feels good too!

5 Ways You Can Protect Our Wild Places

Encourage And Inspire Leave No Trace In Social Media Posts

Hashtagging #leavenotrace is one thing, but we can raise awareness of countless issues through the power of our social feed. We can call out threats to the area, post a photo of rubbish collection #hikeitout, celebrate adventurous women and highlight the Indigenous history that’s so often forgotten, all through posts to social media.


Feature image by Nigel Tadyanehondo

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