We’ve seen people damage artworks, nature, national parks, even hurt animals just to take photos for social media. Recently, it has been happening around Lake Wanaka in New Zealand. A photogenic tree in the lake is insanely popular on Instagram. There’s even a hashtag #thatwanakatree, with almost 20K posts at the moment. Tourists are visiting the popular location and climbing the tree to take photos. Because of this, the brittle willow could be destroyed.
The popular tree is a crack willow, and by the very name you can conclude how brittle it is. Lonely Planet writes that the tree even lost a limb before Christmas. Reportedly, there are concerns that “its deterioration could continue without efforts to stop it.”
Browsing through Instagram hashtag #thatwanakatree, I stumbled upon several photos with people leaning against the tree and sitting among its branches. It’s a pretty small tree, so I believe it makes it even easier to damage. One user complained about the tourists who walk out to the tree and climb it for the photos. And according to Lonely Planet, the local tourism board plans to fight against this trend.
Tim Errington, the arboricultural officer for the Queenstown Lakes District Council, told Lonely Planet that there would soon be warning signs near the tree. They should discourage the tourists from climbing; they will be written in English and Mandarin and also contain a graphic. He explained that they want to avoid putting up a fence around the tree because it would affect the “beauty associated with its stunning backdrop.” However, if the tourists keep ignoring the signs and the tree suffers more damage, they will consider more substantial solutions.