First, thanks for the kind words about the photos, I admire yours also.Hey Tom, I admire your photos a lot. You raise an issue I've thought about quite a bit in the past 8 years.
I have walked along, and in, many streams in the Pine Barrens in knee boots, hip boots and chest waders. Most of the best photos I've taken have been in environmentally sensitive areas. For the most part, I explore the same areas that hunters frequent. I know this because I see deer feeders and stands all the time.
If there were 100,000 people walking on sphagnum moss, or into the Tulpehocken, or into the Oswego or Batsto or Mullica or Wading Rivers, down the flooded Road at Deep Run, those areas would be destroyed. But there aren't that many people doing it. Am I acting illegally or unethically?
Hunters trap beaver, kill deer, coyote, turkey, etc. Are they destroying the environment?
If you or I are taking photos of heron or snowy owl and they fly away because they see us, we have disturbed them in their natural environment. Is it illegal? Is it ethical?
If someone drives a 4x4 into a spung, or a river, or goes muddding on legal roads and tears them up and makes the holes deeper, or makes doughnut tire ruts, is it legal or unethical?
If you or I drive down Railroad Ave and use an established go-around, is that illegal?
I know a lot of landscape photographers, and they all walk into savannah, leave roads and trails and walk into the woods, cross cedar swamps. Are we breaking the law? Are we acting unethically? Many use drones, (on this one issue I am clear because drones are 100% illegal in state parks).
It is a complicated issue.
It is a complicated issue, but I think much of it is just common sense. Most of us, I hope, can frequent the areas you mentioned, without doing damage, leaving them like we found them.