Re: Another Reminder to Leave No Trace! TACOMABEAST Vandalism
On section 2 of the WABDR is a turnoff to a sweet little meadow called Cash Prairie that leads to one of the best lookouts on the whole route. As you drive along the well-marked trail there is a pair of 2' deep ruts heading off the trail into the otherwise pristine landscape. I wasn't there when it happened, but if you know the weather in the PacNW it's a pretty fair assumption that some knucklehead decided to go freelancing during the rainy season in a place where they shouldn't have been. Naturally, the ruts were an open invitation to anyone else with the same mindset to follow suit and so now there is a permanent new "trail" that everyone gets to look at. All it takes is one person's negligence to cause damage that can take decades, if not longer, for nature to erase.
So of course there's an overreaction when someone posts a photo on social media of themselves doing something that looks irresponsible. And then an equivalent overreaction from the opposition. And the feedback loop never ends. Fake news, liberals, conservatives, agendas, politics--it's all irrelevant. The recent trashing of our national parks by a handful of morons should be heartbreaking to anyone who enjoys nature. What message does this send to anyone other than that opening our public lands results in having to pick up tons of trash and human waste at best, and does irreversible damage to the landscape, plants and animals at worst? How should people react to this behavior, or behavior that looks like it, if not with great concern or outrage?
By the same token, scratching letters into rocks and posting it to social media might be harmless in some cases, but it represents a lack of awareness on the part of the person doing it. Social media is predicated on outrage, and doing things that look outrageous is going to get a swift reaction. Anyone with the competence to acquire sponsorships and hashtag every brand they have a deal with should also be able to do enough homework to at least look like they care about their behavior. If not for themselves or the rest of society, then for the sake of their sponsors who generally recoil from this kind of stuff for fear of negative perception.
As operators of large, heavy vehicles that can easily cause as much damage in minutes as thousands of hikers can cause in a whole season, shouldn't the onus not be on us to act responsibly, educate ourselves, and keep one another accountable for not just our behavior, but how our actions are perceived?