Public Lands Hate You
Thoughts on Havasupai
*** Originally posted to @publiclandshateyou on 4/29/2019***
Havasupai & Mooney Falls. We’ve all seen the pictures. It feels like any influencer that has wandered outside their concrete jungle has a picture (or ten) there. It’s undeniably beautiful & I’ve wanted to see it in person for over a decade and finally did last year. What an experience.
It’s a 10 mile hike each way with 2,400 feet of elevation change, so not really a good beginners hike. Yet I’ve never seen a higher concentration of people so out their element. I’m all for people getting out and enjoying nature, but if you can’t do it on your own, then you need to train and build up your hiking chops. Paying $100 for a mule to carry your 6-person Coleman tent with cooking vestibule, pillows, coolers, and inflatable tubes is not the answer. Especially when those animals have a well-documented history of being abused.
Multiple animals have died on the trail. Most are chaffed down to the skin from being made to literally run up and down the canyon with heavy loads. All this so that people who aren’t properly prepared can get to this one of a kind location, create beautiful “content”, and do it without the slightest bit of discomfort or work that is typically associated with a location ten miles from the nearest pavement.
@havisupaihorses has covered this topic in horrific detail, so I won’t go further into the animal abuse aspect. However, I will pose this question - What are people willing to do for the perfect picture? Break the law? Yes, we’ve seen that. Ignore the rights of others to peacefully enjoy public lands in a pristine state? Uh huh. Put likes over the heath of intelligent living creatures? Apparently so.
There are a whole other host of topics that can be discussed about Havasupai such as indigenous land rights, inequality, rural poverty, and sustainability, but that’s not what this post is about. It’s about people doing whatever it takes to get that coveted shot, even if it’s at the expense of everything around them. If gets in the way of pursuing the perfect picture, it get’s cast aside. Animal rights? Out the window. Growing plants? Step on them. Laws? They are for everyone else.
Do know someone who is thinking about traveling to Havasupai? Send them this blog post. Give them an opportunity to know before they go and think about the impacts of their choices. Knowledge is the first step in the right direction.