Stone stacking is simple of act of balancing a few stones on top of each other and while might seem at first glance to cause no harm and can take a beautiful photo and move on.
No damage caused after all hikers has used rock cairns for thousands of years to travel in difficult environments.
First of all these rock stacks are against Leave No Trace mentality we believe here, but it’s a little more than that.
Lifting even a few rocks from the ground, lakeshores and riverbeds lead to increase erosion and can be illegal in many public lands around the globe. More importantly, it can affect habitat for sensitive wildlife.
One person stacking 5 to 10 rocks and taking a picture doesn’t have a huge amount of impact, its manageable, the issue arrives when that photo gets shared and people visit the same spot and try and build their own, even taller more impressive structure, 2 people lead to 10. Ten people suddenly become 50 and so on so 50 people taking 10 rocks that 500 rocks which have been moved.
Even if you don’t take a picture and share it, if you leave the stack in place others might see it and copy your idea (kids like to create things). Also leaving it intact again goes gains the LNT.
All it takes is for a few people to start an Instagram craze and we suddenly have thousands of these little rock formations being created all over the world damaging rivers across the globe. A mini craze did start a few years ago and I want to make sure another one doesn’t start.
I’ve spotted people Rock stacking?
Someone asked me recently what to do if you spot a rock stack what someone has done and left behind, first of all, make sure it’s not a trail cairn and if in doubt leave it and contact the local authority and give them a location.
If it’s defiantly not a marker gently dismantle then stack and place the stones around the area, to discourage others from creating other stacks. Do not kick off the stack – you don’t know how long it been there and some creatures could have made it home.
So please if you are visiting a new place, while it might seem tempting to stack some rocks, don’t. Remember to leave no trace means not disturbing the current environment as well as not leaving litter etc behind.