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Published 5 years ago by GingerBreadMan with 3 Comments

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  • TheLight

    To be honest when I saw the title I was prepared to disagree with the author but after reading the article I have to say I wholeheartedly agree. When hiking I try to stick to trails that I am confident lead to where I want to go but there have been plenty of times that I was hiking somewhere for the first time and let me tell you... it can get extremely confusing when people make "artistic cairns". One time on a road trip I was hiking near Arches National Park and saw a cairn that I assumed signified a trail, ended up bush wacking alone a water-route or animal foot-path for a bit until I decided it was best to turn around. I was younger but I still feel bad since I obviously affected the land in a way the park service does not like.

    Yesterday I saw someone building a "cairn shrine" of sorts at a pretty populated beach, and it made me think of the ethics of cairns at populated beaches where the tide will wash it away. In this particular case since there is a constant flurry of people on the beach and the water will quickly wash the cairn away as it would a sand castle I think it is socially acceptable.
    Anyways I think that this call for an end to cairns is an idea that is beneficial to spread. Thanks for sharing!

    • skolor

      I'm curious: why were you prepared to disagree? I've only ever seen these and thought they were dumb structures made by people looking to leave a mark of themselves. I don't really see it as all that different from taking a pebble or some dirt, and only slightly better than carving your name in a rock/tree.

      Now, that isn't to say that I have a problem with someone moving some stones around completely. If you're stopped for a break and you stack a couple stones that seems fairly reasonable to me, but it's the elaborate piles of dozens of stones that I think should absolutely go. The pictures are a great example: a handful of stones you moved? Not a big enough problem to spare energy being upset. Something a foot or more high? now we're starting to have an issue.

    • GingerBreadMan

      I felt exactly the same when starting the read, but got to thinking about it more and realizing that people that are through-hiking off the beaten path are trying to cover 20+ miles a day and at that pace, if you have to look down constantly, it's wasting time and dangerous to boot.

      I agree that they are perfectly fine on the beach, but keep it on the beach and stop putting them on the ground where people hike.

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