The Wonders of Chasing Waterfalls | Health, Economic and Environmental Benefits

The Wonders of Chasing Waterfalls | Health, Economic and Environmental Benefits

While the cold rapid water flows down onto your face while you look up upon the abyss of a god created masterpiece, do you ever wonder what drew you to this moment and place? For all the social media addicts out there, we are all familiar with the 2 hour muddy hike through a creek or the forest just to obtain the perfect scenic picture. After hours of editing, picking the right filter and writing captions like “Chasing waterfalls”, yes, it is a proven fact that waterfalls are a huge hit on instagram. But do people stop to wonder about the essentials of preserving waterfalls and how in-turn they can benefit your health, the economy and the environment?

Mind, Body, Soul

Lets begin with health. We will talk about the benefits that a body of water that falls over a ledge and forms a pool at the bottom can make a substantial influence in someone's life. Like many of us, stress is a common struggle and research has shown many negative health implications that derive from it. We all seek different ways to lower our stress levels and increase our endorphin levels. The sound of water flowing through a stream, falling down at a pool of water is actually one of the most soothing and calming concepts. Observing the waters course is also a psychological aid in lowering stress levels, and it mimics similar hypnosis techniques. This is why many people come to waterfalls to find zen and meditation. Here’s a little scientific theory for more evidence. The earth is full of anions which are negatively charged ions and our body carries positively charged ions called cations. When two opposites attract, they balance one another out, thus when you step foot under a waterfall or just lay in a field oyou are essentially balancing these ions out. This motion increases serotonin levels, much like endorphins that help you relieve stress, serotonin are like brain chemicals that make you happy. And if that isn’t enough, another bonus is that hiking is estimated to burn 430-450 calories within an hour!

Economic Riches

This will blow you away, economically waterfalls attract about 30 million people per year. Niagara falls is one of the largest waterfalls in the world that runs between Canada and America. It is estimated that earnings reached an all-time high of more than $400 million in 2013 and it has been substantially growing ever since. Just those numbers alone demonstrates that waterfalls can attract a large audience into your city and can pay off in a large way. Another example is in California and Washington where we see millions of tourists a year venture out to Yosemite National Park and Mount Rainier National Park. A study showed in 2017 that Washington brought a whopping sixty-six million in revenue due to the large attraction of Mount Rainier National Park. Thus, if you’re the mayor of your city and you’re lucky enough to have waterfalls, I would do everything I can to preserve those sites.

Environmental Beauty of Waterfalls

And to end off on an even better note, let's talk about the environmental impacts waterfalls have on the global ecosystem. Just like trees giving us cleaner air, waterfalls have the exact same impact. The mist cleanses and deposits natural minerals in the air, which means cleaner, healthier air to breathe. The mist from the water also helps plants grow because of the rich natural minerals. A spray zone is defined as the distance at which the mist of the water can reach. One common plant that is crucial to preserving our ecosystem is moss. Waterfalls and moss go hand-in-hand, moss is very unique as it acts like a sponge that soaks up the water, when it is fully absorbed the excess-water disburses creating a larger spray zone. This widens the effects on its ecosystem, creating rich nutrients for the soil and a healthier air for us to breathe. 

Whether it’s a waterfall that stands 167 feet tall or one that only stands a mere 25 feet tall, research has shown that an increase in endorphin levels is significant. It has shown to improve a mental and physical well being in people. It is a major source of revenue and a huge tourist attraction to market your city. Waterfalls are a significant resource for keeping our ecosystems clean and alive. Like I said, if that’s still not enough, waterfalls are one of the most memorable places to be with your loved ones. It can be the first place you ask your crush to be your girlfriend or the first time you introduce your children to the magical wonders of our earth. Next time you post that instagram photo, make sure to educate and illustrate the real beauty of waterfalls and that they're not just a pretty face. 

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