Misinformation in the Outdoors

“Trapped in Waterfall, Man Sends SOS Message in a Bottle” — Washington Post

Today, a broad selection of tools exist to help you in the outdoors. From printed guidebooks to smartphone apps, there are a dizzying range of options to gain insights about the places you explore. Be cautious, however, of placing too much trust in unverified sources, especially if it’s not clear how recently the information has been updated. Social media can be an excellent addition to research about an area to help you plan ahead and prepare, but be wary of self-proclaimed experts, especially if their claims seem overblown.

Beyond your own safety and well-being, ensuring you have the best information also helps protect wildlife and natural resources. Many emergency situations and rescues could have been avoided if the parties had found better information in advance. For example, people sometimes resort to “emergency” campfires — even in places where fires are prohibited — after failing to check the weather forecast.