If you’ve spent enough time in the wilderness, you’ve likely come across rock cairns, also known as giant stack of rocks. While these manmade creations can look cool in front of your favorite outdoor destination, there’s only one thing you should do if you see one.
In a recent announcement, Yosemite National Park encouraged hikers to dismantle rock cairns if they ever come across one. The park emphasized the importance of adhering to Leave No Trace ethics and respecting the wilderness environment and its inhabitants, which includes not building cairns and pushing them over when you see them.
Here is the announcement:
The oversized rock cairn in question was deemed to be a clear sign of human impact and stood out conspicuously in the natural landscape of the wilderness area. The construction of rock cairns can disrupt the habitats of small insects, reptiles, and microorganisms that reside beneath them.
While rock cairns serve useful purposes such as navigation, safety, and marking new or challenging trails when properly utilized, the park administration stressed that their construction should be limited to rangers and trail workers. The announcement urged visitors to dismantle any rock cairns they come across and refrain from building new ones during their visits to Yosemite National Park.
By adhering to Leave No Trace principles and refraining from creating unnecessary rock cairns, visitors can contribute to the preservation and natural beauty of the park’s wilderness areas.