You’ve probably heard the famous “recreate responsibly” slogan that’s popular in mountain towns, national parks, and any other spot where people enjoy nature. But have you heard “create responsibly”?
“Create responsibly” is the principle that creators are responsible for the outdoors. Content creators, influencers, and everyday visitors have a responsibility in Jackson Hole when it comes to social media use and other content creation. If you intend to post pictures of a moose at Oxbow Bend on your instagram story or you have a close friend who wants to make a TikTok video of her hike to Delta Lake, then keep reading our guide for content creators.
National Parks and Other Outdoor Spaces are All the Rage these Days
The rise in Instagram use and the Covid-19 pandemic both dramatically increased the popularity of National Parks and other outdoor spaces like national forests, state parks, and BLM land. As a result, Americans want to vacation and/or live closer to public land—a scenario that has both good and bad consequences.
Public land is America’s best idea
National Parks are first and foremost for the environment and the people who seek to protect it.
President FDR famously said – “There is nothing so American as our national parks…. The fundamental idea behind the parks…is that the country belongs to the people, that it is in process of making for the enrichment of the lives of all of us.”
Public land is protected, beautiful, and for the health of every living creature in this country. Visitors and locals alike, should have access to the amazing outdoor spaces that we treasure in Jackson Hole. However, each person is responsible for their impact on the environment.
Outdoor spaces are a change from busy and fast-paced city life. More people live in cities than in rural areas and those numbers are projected to increase in the coming decades. Public land is a place where people can recharge, regroup, and heal. It is no wonder why people feel the need to come to places like Jackson Hole—we all need to connect with nature.
Over a hundred years later, his words still ring true. People need National Parks and National Forests.
Social Media in Jackson Hole and the Rise in Irresponsible Activities
Although public land is supposed to be for everyone, it’s easy to get frustrated at those who exploit the land or are ignorant about how to treat it. We all want to point a finger at the irresponsible content creators and blame them for making the National parks crowded and overrun. Famous TikTokers expose hidden gems, Instagram influencers portray a lifestyle of constant travel, and other content creators make you feel like you’re missing out if you’re not hiking all the famous trails.
Plus, you’ve probably seen irresponsible influencers who blatantly disregard rules and regulations. People who:
- Walk up to bison and try to take a selfie
- Jump guardrails to get the ‘perfect’ pic
- Ignore the ‘stay on the trail’ signs and end up trampling endangered ecosystems and habitat
- Think that walking between a mama moose and her baby totally fine
- Stop their car in the middle of the highway to get a picture of the Tetons
- Let bighorn sheep lick their cars
- Go for a walk in an area that’s off limits because of winter closures
- Drive on a gravel road that’s off limits to the public
The list goes on and on. It can be frustrating when content creators seemingly do what they want, when they want. However, ignoring the rules doesn’t always go over so well.
Careless Content Creation in Jackson Hole Comes with Severe Consequences
Content creation at the expense of the environment isn’t worth it in Jackson Hole. Besides the obvious downside to irresponsible social media use (environmental destruction) the other consequences could impact you directly. Breaking the rules on public land could mean that you’re jailed, fined, put on probation, or banned from National Parks.
In 2020 a group of people illegally drove dirt bikes along the historic Mormon Row in Grand Teton National Park—destroying hayfields that were recently revegetated to remove invasive grass. How did the national park rangers find those responsible for the destruction? It was filmed (of course) and posted on social media. The man responsible for the illegal dirt biking event was fined $9,710.96 and banned from Grand Teton National Park for 18 months.
We’re not trying to be a debbie-downer though. The news about content creation and Jackson Hole isn’t all bad. There are MANY ways to do it right. You can love Jackson Hole, create content about its amazing features, and still protect all of the spaces we cherish.
Social Media in Jackson Hole—How to Be an Environmentally Conscious Content Creator and Consumer
So how do we ‘create responsibly’ when Jackson Hole has record amounts of visitors, mountain towns are getting more popular, people go camping more now, and hiking is a top hobby in the younger generations? How can we enjoy nature in the digital age of content creation and social media?
Know Before You Go
Research about permits, regulations, requirements, weather, and other local guidelines before you head out on an adventure in Jackson Hole.
- Arrange adequate transportation and understand the type of terrain here
- Understand where the ‘no fly zones’ are for drones
- Bring plenty of water and appropriate equipment
- Understand if your pet is allowed in the area you want to go
Remember, public land is for all of us! Everyone, regardless of race, religion, politics etc, should be able to enjoy our outdoor spaces. Whether you’re kayaking on Jackson Lake, hiking the popular trails at Lupin Meadows, or stopping the car at Glacier View turnout, give space to people working or recreating.
- Avoid blocking trails, turnouts, roads, bike paths, vistas, or byways
Leave No Trace
The main premise of this slogan is to respect the land, water, wildlife, and local communities.
- Properly dispose of waste—if you pack it in, pack it out
- Leave what you find
- Protect our riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from streams, lakes, and rivers
- Stay on marked trails and in designated campgrounds
- Leave vegetation, structures, and historic artifacts where you found them
- Avoid transporting or introducing non-native species
- Keep fires small and only use established fire rings
Make It Better
Use your platforms to inspire others to take care of our precious ecosystems. When you respect and nurture places like Jackson Hole, your friends and followers will learn from your example and treat it similarly.
- Demonstrate sustainable practices
- Show how to you follow the ‘leave no trace’ principles
- Set a good example and explain why you do what you do—i.e. Staying a safe distance from wildlife, following speed limits, hiking on the trail, parking in parking lots and not on the road, carrying bear spray, yielding to uphill travelers, bringing the proper gear, etc
Jackson Hole is a Content Creator’s Paradise—And We Want to Keep it That Way!
No matter what platform you use as a content creator, you can use your influence in a positive way. We hope that Jackson Hole becomes a place where creators can follow their passions AND treat the area with the respect and reverence that it deserves. Together we can build a sustainable and equitable outdoors through our influences in the creative sphere.