Should We Share Adventure Destinations?

A few weeks ago I “liked” a photo of a waterfall on Instagram. Considering who it was, I suspected it was near Red River Gorge. The photo didn’t have any hashtags indicating the location, so I asked where it was in a comment. Later that day, the user sent me a private message with the location.

While that was the first time that’s happened to me, Clifton Road Waterfall MotoADVRI’ve noticed a similar trend on Instagram (and elsewhere); various users have posted photos of sites near the gorge that I know well, but there are no hints or captions indicating the location. Mind you, many of these people simply don’t want to take the time to #Hashtag #AllTheHashtags, but I have a suspicion a number of them intentionally leave the photos ambiguous, perhaps to avoid having these destinations overrun with #InstaFamous tourists. This thought was reinforced by a recent Adventure Rider Radio RAW Podcast I listened to on a similar topic.

With regard to tourists “ruining” travel destinations, Tail of the Dragon Triumph Scrambler 129PhotosThe Tail of the Dragon comes to mind. While I only recently started riding to that part of Tennessee, long-term motorcyclists tell me that US-129 was a hidden gem up until the 90s. Today “The Dragon” can be downright congested on a Saturday afternoon; packed full of squids, baggers, passenger cars, and the occasional (illegal) eighteen-wheeler, the road is probably far less dangerous than the traffic created by exposure. I suppose one could say that I’m also “that tourist”; every fall, I make the pilgrimage to “The Gap”, and undoubtedly share a photo of the notorious road at some point that week.

On a similar note, the Daniel Boone Backcountry Byway has also received similar “attention” in recent years. Launched publicly in 2016, the trail conditions on “the Byway” are a far cry from what they were 3 years ago. Spaas Creek Crossing One 4I managed to finish the DBBB last fall on the Scrambler; a feat that would be significantly more difficult today considering the evolution of the terrain. Now, I’ll be the first to admit, 2018 was the wettest year on record in Kentucky; that situation played a significant role in the damage to the trail. However, I question the “tread-lightly” message from the off-road community when folks are rolling 30 Jeeps deep on a Saturday, but we’ll talk more about that another day.

Part of me gets it. Bennett’s Publical is my local watering hole of choice; with an eclectic menu, PBR for $3, and several rotating craft beer taps, it’s a place you should never go. I say that because I’m selfish and love the fact that the owner knows me by name and while it’s crowded on Friday and Saturday nights,Bennetts Publical Dirtster Scrambler MotoADVR it seldom gets so busy I can’t find a seat. Let’s not be ridiculous, you should absolutely go there (tell them I sent you). As much as I want my favorite pub to remain the hidden gem of South Dayton, that’s a pipe dream. Folks should enjoy a place in its heyday and appreciate it at its best instead of lamenting about what it was or what they wanted it to be.

I should probably apply that logic to my go-to routes in the Bluegrass State. While Fincastle Road now pushes the limits of what I feel comfortable doing on the Scrambler,Big Sinking Creek CRF250L MZ660 MotoADVR I brought home a 250 Dual-Sport for a reason. Ultimately that’s kind of how I feel about the sharing of information with regard to trails and sightseeing. While I don’t necessarily agree, I can understand an argument for a destination that’s hidden in plain sight that becomes overrun or closed because of disrespectful tourists. However, on the other hand, when destinations like Big Sinking Creek are revealed to the masses, I suspect few are willing to make the journey, let alone traverse the challenges necessary to see the majestic view.

Leatherwood Cliffs MotoADVR

Obviously, private property is a different story. On a few occasions, I’ve commented on photos to discover that a given location is on private property. That’s understandable, I don’t want strangers wandering around the “family farm” in Kentucky without expressed permission either. However, if something is already public on Google Maps and so on, I don’t have a lot of heartburn about sharing information with like-minded adventurers. Hence, the Red River Scramble routes are still public (they are of course public roads).

 

What do you think, should we in the “adventure” community be more private about our favorite destinations, or are they places people will discover on their own anyway?

 

 

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5 Responses to Should We Share Adventure Destinations?

  1. I get what you’re saying. Once the exposure happens, the place seems to loose some of its magic.

  2. MarylandMoto says:

    I had a pretty similar experience recently, I was suggested a place to ride and have since seen others there. I’ve noticed no one has location tagged it but also hasn’t really been secretive when asked where it is. I’m completely OK with letting good things grow slowly rather than get overrun immediately.

  3. Ted K says:

    Ssshhhhhhh…… no one has to know.
    There are some things, many things, that are better left unsaid. The masses as a whole do not contain the respect for the environment, trails and nature as we would hope. This holds true for the mountain bike community as well and I have seen many trails closed because of those who are inconsiderate. The rules of the trail are often ignored for the sake of “fun” and that right there is a no-no. Trash finds it’s way to our trails by these same idiots. You have a great trail or trails you ride? Keep it to yourself and share if you must with those like minded.

  4. Paul says:

    It’s funny that you just posted this article. On Facebook a rider posted about how crowded the Dragon was and that they rode a different road. I commented that the Dragon was a victim of its popularity. That there are better roads and that if you or I find a really good route to keep quiet. This was partly in jest but also with truth. Similar to your statement about Bennett’s.

  5. Dan says:

    In New England there is much beauty and very little of it is a secret. The coast, the lakes white and green mountains, etc. Our short riding season (for most) increases the bike population in those spots for the riding months.

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