A man sits alone on a rock outcropping while looking at his phone.

Photo Credit: James Smith | Pexels

Risking It All for the Perfect Facebook Photo

Hiking is already dangerous?

Don’t make SAR come get you

We get it; you love to hike. You especially love to ramble on VanIsle. And when you’re out on the trail, you want to get that perfect photo to flex on your friends and family.

But researchers in the US have found a link between social media posts and search and rescue calls.

Photos and posts about hiking adventures could encourage folks into risky behaviour.

Well, duh, you might be thinking. We’ve all heard about selfie fails so bad the photographer literally dies. Last year, hiking influencer Sophia Cheung died trying to take a selfie in front of a waterfall.

The same goes for people who don’t necessarily die, but who might only live because of search and rescue crews.

Dr. Zachary Lu of the University of California, Irvine and a team of students gathered millions of Twitter posts and information from thousands of visits to hiking destinations.

The study had a goal, Lu told Backpacker: “How can we maximize the experience of everyone having fun while keeping them safe, and particularly as it pertains to social media?”

They found that places that get Tweeted about a lot also get more SAR calls. And the problem gets worse if that spot is in the backcountry.

But why? What causes the link?

It could be that more people know about places with lots of social media coverage. As a result, they’re more likely to want to go there.

But the researchers have another theory. They suspect it’s because when one hiker gets away with a risky selfie, others might try to get the same photo. So, over time, folks might think that a dangerous spot is safer than it really is.

More people hit those trails so they can also share that perfect selfie.

For some reason, hikers really like sharing cliff selfies. They’re also an excellent way to make sure that’s your last hike. At least, that’s what researchers in Turkey found.

VanIsle is full of beautiful and dangerous hikes. In fact, we have some of the most dangerous hikes in the province.

We want you to enjoy everything the Island has to offer. But we also know that SARs here have enough work to do.

So go outside and have a blast. Just don’t do anything stupid for the ‘Gram. We want you to survive the experience.