My older brother, Christian, and I looking extremely pleased to be on another camping adventure. (Family photo)

COLUMN: Keep your camping coordinates a secret this season

‘There are simply too many people in the back country,’ says Progress reporter

There are a few yellowing photographs in my house, on that thick, etched photo paper that is the backdrop to my 1980s childhood memories.

The camping ones are my favourite. You can see a riverbank in one. And there’s me and my oldest brother looking glum in another, clad in layers of camping clothes in the green-and-gold flowering dining area of our family’s camper.

They evoke memories of our truck and camper clinging to the sides of mountains as we looked fearfully down the embankments from the overhead bunk. They bring back the smell of a campfire, sitting on a parent’s lap, watching a beat up kettle come to a boil over the flames.

The wire-frame camping toaster. The days spent slooshing mud around a gold pan. The propane heater. The smell of a musty camper in the first warmth of spring.

Sunburns. Marshmallows. Ghost stories. Back-road maps.

Decades later, all those memories are still there, thanks to a small collection of haphazardly-taken photographs. No other documentation was needed. And most importantly, no social media.

I am a heavy social media user to this day, as anyone who knows me can attest to. I post photos of my food, my garden, my kids, my cats, myself, and don’t make any apologies for it. I have taken a million photographs in my life, thanks to the arrival of digital photography around the time of my high school graduation. I’ll surely take a million more.

But as this camping and hiking, boating and beaching, and all-around-us discovering season gets it start, I’m going to be mindful of what I share online. There are simply too many people in the back country as it is. And honestly, too many of them are Instagrammers like me, looking for that perfect #pnw shot (that’s Pacific Northwest), with the perfect lighting and the happy, glowing gang of friends.

Some of them, usually out-of-town travellers, have died exploring areas that are locally-known to be dangerous.

Beyond the tragedy of death, there is also an increase in human-caused forest fires, an increase in garbage being left behind, and even the threat of having some well-loved Crown land being closed off to the public.

The thought of visiting an area just “for the ‘Gram” doesn’t sit well with a lot of back country users, from fishermen to hunters, from ATVers to long-time campers. Many of them launch clean-up events regularly, undoing the messes left up Harrison Lake, along Chilliwack Lake Road, and on the beaches of Jones Lake, for example. These people are here for the long haul and they want the forests to stay pristine.

So do I, and I’m sure most of you do, too.

Yes, it’s probably too late to go back to the simpler days — as they say, the horse has already left the barn. There is no more need to source out a back-road map at the local gas station. You just have to log into your social media for the GPS coordinates.

But I’ve decided I will try not to contribute to the problem anymore. That means, if we find a secret swimming hole (if there are any left to discover) I will keep it a secret. If we journey to a hot spring site, we won’t share the directions.

Don’t worry, I’ll still be Instagramming that perfectly-golden marshmallow. I’m just less likely to tell you where I roasted it.


@CHWKcommunity
jpeters@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

REAL ESTATE: What type of recreational property user are you?

Columnist Freddy Marks explains what you need to consider before purchasing a recreational property

LETTER: Bouquets to my neighbours for helping me heal

Christene Fitzgerald thanks her Agassiz neighbours for helping her out after a fall

Harrison Festival fundraiser dance to have ’70s theme and features Chilliwack band

Chilliwack band The Vacationers to perform at May 31 Harrison Festival Society’s fundraising concert

Seabird Island opens 50th annual festival

The weekend festival will see First Nations teams compete in soccer, three-pitch and canoe races

LETTER: Agassiz’s amazing new pump station

Edward Monro talks about Hammersley Pump, but also the need for driver support on Mount Woodside

VIDEO: Powwow shares culture at Seabird Island Festival

The 50th anniversary of the festival saw its first powwow

Semis catch fire at wrecker off Highway 1 in west Abbotsford

Crews called to scene at around 2 p.m., finding up to six semis that had caught fire at the wrecker

Social media giants in hot seat as politicians consider regulations in Ottawa

Committee members will also grill representatives from Facebook, Twitter

Wildfire crews watching for dangerous wind shift in High Level, Alta.

The Chuckegg Creek fire is raging out of control about three kilometres southwest of the town

UN urges Canada to take more vulnerable Mexican migrants from Central America

The request comes as the United States takes a harder line on its Mexican border

Mistrial declared in Jamie Bacon murder plot trial

Bacon was on trial for counselling to commit the murder of Person X

B.C. VIEWS: Money-laundering melodrama made for TV

Public inquiry staged to point fingers before 2021 election

Canadian homebuyers escaping high housing costs by moving to secondary cities

In British Columbia, exurbs have grown in the Hope Valley and Kamloops

Most Read