If you go into wild spaces, somewhere you can wander in the throes of the natural order, and don’t put a jaw-dropping photo on Instagram to rub it in your friend's faces, did you even go?

Pamela Bond, a board member of the Idaho Trails Association (ITA) and Evan Worthington, a Leave No Trace (LNT) Master Educator look to explore the modern adaptation of that timeless question at an upcoming REI class Wednesday, January 29, called “Social Media Etiquette, Leave No Trace Principles.”

“Have you ever thought about how your Instagram and Facebook posts are affecting the wild places that you love?” a description of the class on REI’s website says.

In a short interview in downtown Boise, Bond and Worthington were both quick to emphasize the importance of heightening general consciousness in the form of discussion- more than a “lesson.”

Evan Worthington Photo: Courtesy of Evan Worthington
Evan Worthington Photo: Courtesy of Evan Worthington

“It isn’t about perfection,” Worthington said. “There is more load out there (on wild spaces) than ever before, and (therefore) we need to be more conscious than ever before. Trails, and wilderness are a space to be explored, not exploited.”

This is the third year that ITA, LTA, and REI will team up to provide outdoor education classes and the second year Bond and Worthington will be paired to present to eager eyes and ears. This is, however, be the first time the pair is hosting this particular talk on social media etiquette.

LNT actually recently considered adding an entire social media “principle,” but did not, after deciding the other seven pillars provided all the direction needed- including social media. To learn more about the seven core principles of LNT, click here.

“We thought the other seven pillars covered how to responsibly enjoying nature. Not taking anything like arrowheads out of the environment, not geotagging and encouraging others to leave it how they found it,” he continued.

Geotagging, or the act of identifying locations where photographs were taken by the exact GPS coordinate, has recently been a hot-button point of focus for conservation and preservation advocates.

“30 percent of Americans surveyed said they were influenced by social media when booking a trip” one article entitled “Geotagging and Social Media in Our Modern Age of Conservation” from REI’s own website claims.

Neither Bond or Worthington hesitated when asked if they were attempting to stop the momentum of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

Pamela Bond is a board member of the Idaho Trails Society and will be teaching a class on Social Media Etiquette and Leave No Trace on Jan. 29. Photo: Courtesy of Pamela Bond
Pamela Bond is a board member of the Idaho Trails Society and will be teaching a class on Social Media Etiquette and Leave No Trace on Jan. 29. Photo: Courtesy of Pamela Bond

“I am in no way out to stop people from recording and sharing their experience,” Bond said. “Many people just don’t know the impact they have. And that they realize they could be setting the example for a thousand people behind them.”

The duo said that the aim of Wednesday’s meeting is to discuss and bring responsibility and awareness to the top-of-mind.

Worthington explained their presentation as a “rising tides raise all ships,” scenario.

“If more people were conscious of their impact using the pillars of LNT before they went out, it will at minimum enhance their experience while almost guaranteeing greater preservation of the natural resources for others to enjoy.”

“At a basic level, we want to get out there and capture memories, but we want to do it in a responsible way,” Bond softly explained.

Bond believes that many attendees to Wednesday’s meeting will already be believers of LNT principles and responsible digital sharing, but seemed a long for a skeptical crowd.

“We hope there are people that show up that are non-believers,” Bond said with a smile. “Best case scenario, we get new people thinking and talking about these topics.”

Bond and Worthington shared they are excited to continue their discussion and are eagerly pursuing teaching in schools around Idaho.

Social Media Etiquette, Leave No Trace Principles is a free class. It will be hosted at on Wednesday, Jan. 29 at REI, Boise, from 7-8:30 p.m. located at 8300 W Emerald St, Boise, ID 83704. More information can be found at https://www.rei.com/events/94477/social-media-etiquette-leave-no-trace-principles/262822




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