The risks of Cairn Making

When youre hiking inside the backcountry, you may notice just a little pile of rocks that rises from landscape. The heap, technically called a cairn, can be used for everything from marking tracks to memorializing a hiker who died in the region. Cairns are generally used for millennia and are available on every region in varying sizes. They are the small buttes you’ll discover on tracks to the hulking structures like the Brown Willy Summit Tertre in Cornwall, England that towers much more than 16 legs high. They are also intended for a variety of causes including navigational aids, funeral mounds as a form of artistic expression.

But once you’re out building a tertre for fun, be aware. A tertre for the sake of not necessarily a good thing, says Robyn Matn, a professor who specializes in ecological oral histories at North Arizona School. She’s observed the practice go coming from useful trail indicators to a backcountry fad, with new natural stone stacks popping up everywhere. In freshwater areas, for example , family pets that live underneath and around rocks (assume crustaceans, crayfish and algae) suffer a loss of their homes when people move or collection rocks.

It may be also a infringement in the “leave no trace” concept to move boulders for your purpose, even if it’s just to make a cairn. And if you’re building on a path, it could mix up hikers and lead these people astray. The right kinds of buttes that should be left alone, like the Arctic people’s human-like inunngiiaq and Acadia National Park’s iconic Bates cairns.

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