Gros Morne National Park — Parks Canada is requesting that visitors to Newfoundland and Labrador’s Gros Morne National Park stop building inukshuks, which tamper with the area’s delicate ecosystem, and resume taking hundreds of selfies, which bother no one but the hikers’ friends on social media.
Hikers build inukshuks to show they’ve completed a particularly difficult trail system, or to otherwise announce their presence in a remote and rarely travelled area. A Parks manager said people often build the stone structures in ecologically sensitive areas, and that the questionable practice needs to stop.
“Look, I’m all for self-indulgence — heck, just last week I took one of those ‘I woke up like this’ selfies and posted it to Instagram,” said Gros Morne manager Rachel Boone. “But for one, inukshuks are an Inuit thing, and it’s usually white couples building them nowadays… what could be more meaningless? And that’s why I say just take selfies and leave nature alone. Endless photos of your ugly mug don’t disturb the real landscape, just the one online.”
Many hikers are concerned that if they aren’t allowed to build inukshuks, their friends on Facebook will not believe that they were actually in the vast Canadian wilderness, accomplishing something truly amazing.
“I don’t think it’s vain to want to leave my mark everywhere I go,” said hiker Tom Slaney, attaching his phone to his selfie stick and posing next to an inukshuk he built, “and to want my friends to know I’m out doing cooler things than they are. Now the people will know I was here, right?”
Slaney’s girlfriend Denise expressed agreement as she applied makeup and searched for the most flattering angle for her own selfies, which she plans to add to a Facebook album called “Roughing It.”
“He’s absolutely right; regular selfies just don’t cut it these days as far as getting attention. We need selfies next to impressive things, like these little stone men or whatever.”
For visitors who just can’t resist the temptation to build inukshuks, Parks Canada officials ask that they do so on one of Gros Morne’s stony beaches.
“We recommend that these people go to the beach, find the biggest rocks they can, then hold onto those rocks, walk out into the water, and never turn back,” said Boone. “Leave some space in nature for the rest of us.”