People often like to enjoy their time in nature and technology allows them to share that with the rest of the world. With a single click we can send our pictures, videos or even complete stories to whoever we want on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter or our own personal homepage. But this poses more and more a serious threat to the natural wonders we have in Europe and the world.
Tagliamento, Italy and Soča river, Slovenia
In August 2017 our Wilderness team performed a pre-assessment at the Italian Tagliamento river. This beautiful Italian river has the potential to become a WILDRiver. What surprised the team during the visit, were the abundant signs of human activities along the river. Multiple places showed tracks of quads in the riverbeds. Other places showed clear signs of regular passing cars. And in some places our team found abandoned campsites and fireplaces on the riverbeds.
A quick research on the internet showed us different websites and blogs, Instagram photos and even Facebook comments, where people showed and talked about their often illegal personal experiences on the Tagliamento. Whether it is wild camping, off-road driving, blasting with a Quad through the river beds or other outdoor activities. Some people even provided directions and GPS-location for the best place to do the illegal activities! These websites and social media promote these activities along the river, posing a big risk for the local nature.
A visit to the Soča river in Slovenia afterwards, showed similar human activities. While you are allowed to do rafting and canoeing, it is illegal to camp, drive through the riverbed and make campfires along the riverbanks.
An overlooked issue
Tagliamento and Soča rivers are not the only ones suffering from extensive human activities. Many protected areas and other natural wonders are coping with people that go anywhere they want. A solution would be simple, combat the illegal activities by patrolling and fining. Unfortunately, most of the times there are no resources (both human and financial) to do this.
You enjoy natural wonders?
Then help to protect them! Observe the regulations in the natural areas, don’t do anything illegal. And if accidently do, definitely don’t comment or publicise your actions on social media or the internet. We should respect our natural wonders, not share them on the internet to abuse them. If you enjoy nature that much, be aware that you have an exemplary role. You don’t want to be responsible for the damage that people cause, because you made a mistake and then had to show how you joyrided your quad through the river, right? If you see other people do these kind of things, please remind them courteously that they are actually destroying the natural wonders we must preserve for our children to enjoy.