The advent of social media has directly resulted in dangerous scenarios in some of Southern California’s most beautiful, and otherwise safe, national parks. Daredevil images taken by visitors have drawn hoards of youth seeking thrills and fun to quiet enclaves such as hidden creeks and coves, which has been resulting in damage to natural wildlife, injuries, and even deaths.
A culture of “one-upmanship that happens with kids taking risky jumps and filming themselves,” according to State Parks spokesman Craig Sap, notes the Orange County Register. And people taking selfies with wildlife such as bison, elks or even bears is a major cause for worry.
One simply has to search YouTube for the phrase “Rindge Dam” to find videos of teens filming themselves, beers in hand, jumping from dangerous, rocky heights into murky green waters below; rock music in full blast in the background.
Social media users on both sides of the issue have expressed themselves:
#repost yesterday at the #rindgedam with @rorykramer @iflow05 such a fun day! #malibu #hidden #cliffjumping #LA @turqsport @redination
— Brie (@BrieCube) October 6, 2014
— Gary (@Garyx24) August 22, 2014
“The more you look online, the more videos you can see of people going up there and encouraging others to too,” said forest spokesman Nathan Judy to the Register.
In July, Joseph Sanchez, 18, was believed to have been crushed by waves after he went missing at a cove in Palos Verdes while hanging out there with friends. And over July 4 weekend, the area experienced 50 rescues and three airlifts because of the growing attention this once-private spot had received, the Register notes.
Southern California’s parks are not the only victims of the social media frenzy: it has also spread to other regions such as Arizona and Nevada.