Why People Who Love Stacking Rocks Need to Stop Doing It
Stone stacking has been widespread since ancient times — people used it as burial monuments and to mark their environment so they wouldn’t get lost. But now, this activity has turned into a hobby, a way of self-expression, and a meditative practice. And while building cairns is a great way of relaxation, and some of them even look like a piece of art, wildlife specialists are getting worried about this trend. They suggest that this seemingly harmless process damages nature, even if we don’t notice it.
We at Bright Side were surprised to find out that one of tourists’ favorite activities may actually be really devastating to the environment, and we’re in a rush to share our findings with you.
It harms animals and plants.
Stones are a part of the habitat for many tiny creatures, from geckos and crabs, to insects. But when people move stones, it may be like they are ripping off the roofs of these animals’ homes and causing extreme invasions in their lives. Some creatures need stones to preserve water, shelter them from predators and bad weather, and even to help them with reproduction.
It interferes with the natural processes in wildlife.
Cairns may pose a significant threat to ecosystems. For example, in freshwater streams, each rock is full of plants and microorganisms living on it, and interfering with their habitat may break the natural and fragile balance to this ecosystem. If a significant number of stones are moved, it may cause faster erosion and even disrupt the flow of the rivers and streams.
It confuses hikers.
Many national parks use stone piles to guide hikers on potentially confusing paths. But now, there’s some confusion, because there are stones that are part of an official navigation aid system, and then there are creations that were built by travelers. So hikers may have a hard time figuring out what path they should follow, especially if they forgot to check in with the park’s rules before starting their journey.
It breaks the main rule of outdoor ethics, “Leave no trace.”
When we go outdoors, we are likely to want to enjoy the beauty of uninterrupted nature. But high piles of stones are pretty different from what raw nature looks like. While hikers might want to take a rest from the human world, these cairns look like some kind of graffiti that were placed there only to make a mark of someone else’s presence on this territory. If we want to preserve nature, we probably don’t really need to make a personal statement with stones.
Do you know of any other human activities that might harm our planet without us realizing it?