The risks of Cairn Making

When you happen to be hiking in the backcountry, you might notice a little pile of rocks that rises through the landscape. The heap, technically known as cairn, can be utilized for many techniques from marking trails to memorializing a hiker who died in the place. Cairns have already been used for millennia and are available on every region in varying sizes. They range from the small buttes you’ll find on paths to the hulking structures like the Brown Willy Summit Cairn in Cornwall, England that towers a lot more than 16 ft high. They are also used for a variety of causes including navigational aids, burial mounds and as a form of imaginative expression.

But if you’re out building a cairn for fun, be aware. A cairn for the sake of it is far from a good thing, says Robyn Matn, a teacher who specializes in environmental oral reputations at Upper Arizona School. She’s watched the practice go right from useful trail guns to a back country fad, with new natural stone stacks appearing everywhere. In freshwater areas, for example , pets that live within and about rocks (think crustaceans, crayfish and algae) click lose their homes when people approach or collection rocks.

It is also a violation in the “leave simply no trace” basic principle to move rubble for the purpose, regardless if it’s simply to make a cairn. Of course, if you’re building on a trail, it could confound hikers and lead all of them astray. There are specific kinds of buttes that should be left alone, such as the Arctic people’s human-like inunngiiaq and Acadia National Park’s iconic Bates cairns.