Crystal Mill is a location I had seen on Instagram hundreds of times. When I realized that it was a day trip away, it immediately made it to the bucket list. Even with locations seen on Instagram that aren’t just a day trip away, my bucket list seems to be never ending and constantly growing and that can be said for thousands of others.
I have an extreme love hate relationship with social media. It opens my eyes to so many destinations I never even dreamed of existing. At the same time, it takes its toll on those same destinations that everyone is in such a hurry to visit. There are many “insta-famous” locations that have had to enact permit systems, tolls, and some have even closed for restoration. Crystal Mill, for example, recently enacted a fee and waiver due to someone trying to sue the town after falling while going down to the creek bed.
I used to geotag every single photo I posted to the exact location. I’ve only altered that within the past year, after realizing how much damage that can do to our planet and the gems that it holds. I now tag the national forest, wilderness location, or the town at the most. It may not make a difference, but it makes me feel like I’m doing a small part.
I don’t want people to be deterred from seeking out popular destinations, but I do want people to keep Leave No Trace in mind. It’s the best and easiest way to make sure you’re treating nature with respect and to ensure destinations you love will be here for future generations.