Title

Wilderness & the Geotag: Exploring the Relationship between Georeferenced Social Media Data and Recreational Visitation in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, WA

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Event Website

https://source2022.sched.com/

Start Date

19-5-2022

End Date

19-5-2022

Keywords

GIS, Public Lands, Social Media

Abstract

Many have raised concerns about the impact of geotagged social media images on public lands. They claim that geotags increase recreational visitation which subsequently contributes to negative recreational impacts including crowding, trampled vegetation, erosion, and litter. Others, however, claim that geotagging on social media has made the outdoors more accessible to less privileged communities and raise concerns that restricting geotags will perpetuate the exclusion of certain groups from nature. This debate is particularly relevant to federally designated wilderness. Wilderness is legally defined as "untrammeled by man," and this problematic construction has helped justify indigenous land dispossession and restricted access for other marginalized populations in wilderness areas. This paper will present the results of research that explores the relationship between geotags, visitation, and the perception of recreational impacts within the Alpine Lakes Wilderness in Washington. It uses a GIS kernel density analysis to determine which locations are most frequently geotagged on Flickr and Instagram and then surveys visitors at these sites to ascertain if geotags played a role in individuals' decisions to visit. It also explores whether recreational impacts negatively affect visitor experience at these sites and explores visitors’ expectations for wilderness. The findings of this study suggest that social media does play a role in some visitors travel decisions, however few visitors consider geotags specifically when making their decisions. Furthermore, this research suggests that, despite individuals' concerns that geotags are "ruining nature," the majority of visitors' expectations are still being met within frequently geotagged sites in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

College of the Sciences Presentation Award Winner.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Carla Jellum, Jennifer Lipton, Sterling Quinn

Department/Program

Cultural & Environmental Resource Management

Additional Mentoring Department

Hospitality, Tourism and Event Management

Additional Mentoring Department

Geography

Additional Mentoring Department

Graduate Studies

Additional Mentoring Department

Funding from Central Faculty-Student Provost Research Grants

Streaming Media

COinS
 
May 19th, 12:00 AM May 19th, 12:00 AM

Wilderness & the Geotag: Exploring the Relationship between Georeferenced Social Media Data and Recreational Visitation in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, WA

Many have raised concerns about the impact of geotagged social media images on public lands. They claim that geotags increase recreational visitation which subsequently contributes to negative recreational impacts including crowding, trampled vegetation, erosion, and litter. Others, however, claim that geotagging on social media has made the outdoors more accessible to less privileged communities and raise concerns that restricting geotags will perpetuate the exclusion of certain groups from nature. This debate is particularly relevant to federally designated wilderness. Wilderness is legally defined as "untrammeled by man," and this problematic construction has helped justify indigenous land dispossession and restricted access for other marginalized populations in wilderness areas. This paper will present the results of research that explores the relationship between geotags, visitation, and the perception of recreational impacts within the Alpine Lakes Wilderness in Washington. It uses a GIS kernel density analysis to determine which locations are most frequently geotagged on Flickr and Instagram and then surveys visitors at these sites to ascertain if geotags played a role in individuals' decisions to visit. It also explores whether recreational impacts negatively affect visitor experience at these sites and explores visitors’ expectations for wilderness. The findings of this study suggest that social media does play a role in some visitors travel decisions, however few visitors consider geotags specifically when making their decisions. Furthermore, this research suggests that, despite individuals' concerns that geotags are "ruining nature," the majority of visitors' expectations are still being met within frequently geotagged sites in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

College of the Sciences Presentation Award Winner.

https://digitalcommons.cwu.edu/source/2022/COTS/43