The word “cairn” comes from the Scottish Gaelic for stone man can bring up images of faith and motive, of an enlightened journey. In the backcountry, making cairns is a popular pastime and it’s not difficult to understand why people are drawn to these sweet little stacks of flat rocks which are positioned like child’s building blocks. With shoulders aching and flies that are black buzzing in ears, a hiker will examine the stones around her and try to pick one that has the right balance of tilt and flatness in depth, breadth and width. After a few close-calls (one too large, another too small), a purist will choose the stone which is perfect to fit. The second layer of the Cairn is now completed.
What many don’t know is that cairns can have an adverse environmental impact, especially when it’s done near water sources. When rock is removed from the shore of a pond or lake, it dishevels the ecosystem and destroys the habitat for microorganisms that are essential to the food chain. These rocks may also be http://cairnspotter.com/generated-post-3/ carried away from the edges of a river, pond or lake through erosion and end up in areas where they may harm wildlife or humans.
This is why the practice of cairn making should be avoided in areas with endangered or rare reptiles, amphibians or mammals or plants and flowers that need moisture that is held in the rocks. If you build a rock cairn on private property, it could be in violation of federal and state laws protecting the natural resources of the land. It could result in fines and even arrest.