The Best Kept Secrets … Should Be Just That

There are very few things that make me crazier than articles like these:

Or…

Why?

Because once it’s posted all over the internet and/or in print, IT’S NO LONGER A SECRET!!! And nothing destroys these places faster than a sudden increase in visitors.

I’ve seen it happen.

To wit, several years ago, Backpacker ran a similar article with a cover featuring the Pilot Range (the far northern part of White Mountain National Forest). I had just visited the area, specifically Unknown Pond, a beautiful glacial tarn. It was lovely, primeval, and remote.

Unknown Pond, Pilot Range, White Mountain National Forest, NH

I came back a year after the article was published and barely recognized it. The place had been denuded, campsites carved all along the shore, trees stripped, garbage in fire pits—the whole panoply of poor backcountry ethics.

So my suggestion is simple: if you find a wonderful secret place, keep it to yourself and your friends. Don’t post it on social media.

And for those publications who love to run these articles, here’s a suggestion: use the same headline, but leave the article itself blank except for the words “Find your own secret place.” Offer them $2 off their next subscription if they feel ripped off.

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