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Travel & Tourism Board Inspires A Little “Selfie Control”

By Jackson Hole Travel & Tourism Board


JACKSON, WY – On May 20, 2024, the Jackson Hole Travel and Tourism Board (JHTTB) launched an educational outreach campaign titled “Selfie Control,” aimed at reducing human-wildlife conflicts and minimizing human-caused wildlife deaths in Jackson Hole and surrounding areas. Selfie Control takes an innovative and direct approach to encourage safe visitor behavior with wildlife by reaching visitors through in-destination installations and a new Instagram filter.

In previous years, reports of human disturbances to wildlife in Jackson Hole and surrounding public lands caused negative effects on native species including more aggressive wildlife behavior and increased newborn mortality. The diverse array of wildlife in Jackson Hole is one of the area’s most unique features, creating a thriving Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and offering one of the most abundant wildlife viewing experiences in the world. Through visitor education and Selfie Control messaging, the Jackson Hole Travel and Tourism Board hopes to improve visitor impacts on wildlife and enable more responsible interactions by reaching visitors first as they are planning their vacations and again as they are exploring Jackson Hole.

“The possibility of seeing some of the 400 wild species native to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is a major draw to both visitors and residents alike,” says Crista Valentino, Executive Director of the Jackson Hole Travel and Tourism Board. “People sometimes forget that we’re interacting with these animals in their natural habitats, even if that is just on the roadside or in the middle of a busy trail. The JHTTB is taking a more interactive approach to getting information about responsible behavior in front of people as often and as creatively as possible.”

One of the main components of the campaign is an interactive Instagram filter that shows the size the animal should appear through a phone camera if the viewer is the appropriate distance from the wildlife. The filter includes additional safety messaging and call-outs that instruct viewers to stay 100 yards away from bears and large carnivores and 25 yards away from elk, bison, moose, and other small mammals. The intention is to reach visitors where they are already interacting with wildlife, often through the cameras on their phones.

Selfie Control campaign messaging can also be found on other hard-to-miss locations such as sidewalk decals and light pole banners in downtown Jackson, gas station pumps to and from wildlife hot spots, and even coasters at local restaurants. Educational efforts include instructions for safe wildlife viewing and the “how” and “why” behind it.

“Precautions with local wildlife are important for the safety of animals and humans, and consequences to poor behavior can be severe,” says Valentino. “Disregarding safety regulations put in place by our public land managers can result in heavy fines and even jail time, but the worst outcome is injury, or even death, of humans or animals. Getting the pic isn’t worth the risk to the person or the wildlife.”

Over the last five years, the Jackson Hole Travel and Tourism Board has shifted visitor messaging to support sustainable, year-round tourism with respectful visitation to the destination. This includes educational messaging to the visitor both pre-arrival and in-destination. The JHTTB is committed to ensuring that marketing efforts include a lens of sustainability and stewardship, and much of the roughly $3 million budget for education and outreach is targeted at educating visitors.

In partnership with Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Bridger-Teton National Forest, and a number of local agencies and nonprofits, wildlife safety messaging will be at the forefront of visitor contact this season. With messaging across multiple channels and touchpoints, as well as direction given at all Visitor Center locations and in the Parks and Forest, it’s likely that most visitors to the area will interact with education and safety campaigns throughout their stay. The JHTTB feels confident that Selfie Control messaging will begin to influence visitor behavior and have a tangible, positive impact through decreased wildlife conflicts and deaths.

Selfie Control Links

Through strategic allocation of Teton County’s lodging tax funds, the Jackson Hole Travel & Tourism Board stewards Jackson Hole toward a sustainable destination, where our leadership, marketing, management, and community engagement ensure the vitality of our natural and human ecosystems.