This is a question that comes up in photography circles often and I don't really have a good answer to it, so I figured I'd ask how other people handle it. How to you feel about sharing exact photo locations? The issue comes up because of the risks of damaging an area by over visitation.  

Here in Northern Virginia, we have a protected park. It's gorgeous. A true thing of beauty. And the wetland it contains is a rare and extraordinary treasure full of wildlife.

Unfortunately, it is also overwhelmed by the sheer number of people who go there. The results include:

  • Elevated boardwalks that are overburdened by the number of people who go there raising concerns about their possible collapse.
  • People shouting at and otherwise disturbing wildlife. 
  • Crowding to a degree that makes it difficult to even walk through the park.
  • Vehicles (scooters and bikes) being driven through the park despite prohibitions on doing so.
  • Physical injury to wildlife (e.g. turtle shells have been seen cracked open with footprints still visible on the shells)

It's kind of a poster child for the dangers of too many people--and too many of them not interested in or not aware of basic ethics. E.g., Leave No Trace.

My usual solution is to be vague, especially on social media. Notice, for example, that I haven't named the park. I'll tell people a location is in Fairfax County, Virginia or it's in Shenandoah National Park, for example. But I avoid giving the exact spot, especially if it's a fragile area.

Of course some people see not sharing locations as some form of policing or setting up barriers.

Angie