General News · 12th May 2021
I wondered about this when reading a recent notice on Tideline. Someone was wanting to be supported to come here and build cairns. Rock stacking has become a popular activity among tourists and some tour operators. Some call it an art or a hobby, which are basically human-made piles of stones, also known as cairns.
Rock stacking has unfortunately grown into a widespread activity. All over the world, people are stacking rocks and stones in all shapes and sizes.
But why? Naturalist and conservationist opinions seem to point to this being a really bad idea to the point that many national parks and regions are banning it outright.
Possible origins: The official uses of rock stacking are memorials or landmarks. Cairns have been used since the beginning of humanity, mostly to set marks to not get lost in nature. Later, cairns were used as burial monuments and as landmarks to locate buried items.
When hiking through nature, it could be useful to see a landmark every now and then to remind you that you’re still on the right track. Please don’t do this!
A landscape full of piles of stones is just not what nature should look like. When stacking rocks it disturbs the natural order of nature. Every time you build a pile you’re basically scaring away wild animals and disrupting their natural habitat. Some experts argue that extensive rock stacking can even lead to extinction of certain species. While we’re not in a position to dispute that either way, would it be worth the risk just for the fun of stacking some rocks in odd shapes? We say definitely not.
In the US, the national parks service forbids disrupting or moving any rocks or other natural structures within the parks.
It’s just unnatural to have an island full of piles and stacks everywhere. Please think about the consequences and keep our happy little island free of rock stacks. Our wildlife (and we) will love you for it! 🙂