‘Tis the season of the leaf-peepers

Capturing the glory that is autumn is admirable, yet when armed with phones, torrents of leaf-peeping “influencers” can ruin the seasonal spectacle.

Photo by Kate Coghill on Unsplash

Leaf peeping is an informal term used in the United States and Canada for the activity in which people travel to view and photograph the autumn foliage. Not a new phenomena the term was first recorded in the Webster’s dictionary in 1965, but its usage has increased with the rise of social media.

In her article for the BBC entitled “Pomfret, Vermont: The fall foliage town that banned influencers” Suzanne Podhaizer reports how the picturesque small town in Vermont is swamped with torrents of leaf-peepers keen to document their presence against the backdrop of the “winding earthen road lined by stately maple trees lit up in autumnal reds and jack-o-lantern oranges leading toward an elegant 1700s Cape Farmhouse on Cloudland Road”.

Cars abruptly halting ongoing traffic, long traffic jams, accidents, trespassing, trampled gardens, defecation along roads and on private property, tour buses dumping people in remote locations, all in the hope of “capturing a perfectly curated autumn photo”. And that in the knowledge that the carefully curated photo you see on instagram is but one of hundreds taken, ensuring the subject is seen in the best possible light.

Podhaizer writes how the locals are fighting back, backed by crowdfunding to curb over-tourism and “fight back against the hashtaggers”. A costly strategy, as its not only expensive to manage traffic, people and enforce controls but also because tourism is a big part of the Vermont economy. Regrettable, as with just a little respect for the surroundings, people and property, everyone should be able to enjoy the spectacle.