Unbelievable. Five people have accidentally plunged to their death off the Horseshoe Bend canyon viewpoint in AZ since it became a favorite Instagram spot two years ago. (No one had died for 7 yrs prior). We are literally Instagramming ourselves to death. https://t.co/ZBbsoFnkuI
— Alec MacGillis (@AlecMacGillis) July 13, 2019
A decade ago, fewer than 40,000 people a year came to Horseshoe Bend, officials in Page said. Now an estimated two million converge annually on the attraction, according to the National Park Service, which manages Horseshoe Bend as part of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. The main reason for the onslaught, officials say, is its popularity on social media.
Before Instagram, “no one really talked about Horseshoe Bend,” said Levi Tappan, the mayor of Page, population 8,000. “It was just another spot on the river.”
Across the U.S., smartphone-wielding masses are converging on picturesque attractions that many learned of on social media. The teeming crowds are creating problems that range from traffic to trash to deaths. Five people have fallen off the edge of Horseshoe Bend and died since 2017. The last such fatality had been in 2010, according to National Park Service statistics.
People have also fallen while taking pictures at the Grand Canyon and Yosemite. California’s Big Sur coast and Colorado’s Hanging Lake have been soiled by trampling of vegetation and discarded human waste. [Continue reading…]