The word”cairn” originates from the Scottish Gaelic meaning stone man. It can conjure images of purpose, faith, and an experience of spirituality. In the backcountry, cairn-making is a trend and it’s not difficult to understand why people feel drawn to these sweet little piles of flat rocks which are positioned like child’s building blocks. With shoulders aching and black flies buzzing in ears, a hiker will look over the stones in front Visit Website of her and try to pick one with the right balance of flatness and tilt along with depth and breadth. After a few misses (one too bulgy, one too small), a purist will select the stone that fits perfectly into place. The second layer of the Cairn is now completed.

Many people are unaware that cairn building can create negative environmental impacts particularly near water sources. When rocks are removed from the edges of a pond, river or lake, it erodes the ecosystem and degrades the habitat of microorganisms that are essential to the food chain. In addition these rocks can be transported by erosion to places that could pose a threat to wildlife or humans.

In light of this, the practice of making cairns should be avoided in areas that have endangered or rare reptiles, amphibians, mammals or plants and flowers that require moisture locked under the rocks. If you construct your cairn in private land, it may violate the federal and state laws protecting the land’s natural resources and may result in fines or even a detention.

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