The word “cairn” comes from the Scottish Gaelic for stone man is a symbol of faith and purpose, of spiritual journeys. In the backcountry, cairn-making is a popular trend and it’s easy to see why people are attracted to these adorable piles of flat rocks which are positioned like child’s building blocks. A hiker who is suffering from aching shoulders and black flying flies buzzing her ears will attempt to choose a rock that is the perfect combination of flatness as well as tilt, width and depth. After a few close misses (one that’s too bulgy and another that’s too small) the shrewd will pick the one that’s perfectly in place, and the subsequent layer of the cairn will be complete.

However, what a lot of people don’t realize is that cairn building can have an adverse environmental impact, particularly when it’s done near water sources. When rocks are removed from the edge of the shores of a lake, river or pond, they alter the ecosystem and destroy the microorganisms’ habitats that provide the food chain. The rocks could also be carried away from the edges of a pond, river or lake due to erosion. They can end up in areas in which they could harm wildlife or humans.

To avoid this, the practice of making cairns should be discouraged in areas that have endangered or rare reptiles, amphibians or mammals or plants and flowers that require the moisture locked under the look at this web-site rocks. If you build a cairn on private land the land could be in violation of federal and state regulations that protect the land’s natural resources and may result in fines or even a detention.

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