Why Stacking Rocks in Nature is Harmful at Illinois State Parks
Stacking rocks, also known as cairns, might seem like a harmless and fun way to leave your mark on a hike, but it can actually cause serious harm to the natural environment. In Illinois, where there are many beautiful state parks to explore, it is important to understand why stacking rocks should be avoided and what you should do if you come across them.
One of the main reasons why stacking rocks is discouraged in nature is that it can disrupt the delicate ecosystem. Cairns can be mistaken as natural formations by animals and insects, leading them to migrate or hunt in areas they wouldn't normally. Additionally, cairns can also disrupt the natural flow of water, causing erosion and sediment build-up in streams and rivers. This can lead to the destruction of habitats for fish, amphibians, and other aquatic animals.
Another reason why stacking rocks is not a good idea is that it can create confusion for hikers. Many people rely on cairns to navigate through difficult terrain, and the placement of random cairns can lead to confusion and potential danger. Cairns can also lead hikers off-trail, causing damage to the natural environment and endangering plants and animals.
In Illinois, there are many state parks that are home to unique and fragile ecosystems, such as Starved Rock State Park, Matthiessen State Park and Giant City State Park. These parks are visited by thousands of people every year, and it is important that visitors understand the importance of preserving the natural environment. Visitors should respect the park's rules and regulations, which include not stacking rocks or building cairns.
If you come across cairns while hiking in Illinois, the best thing to do is to leave them as they are. They might look beautiful and harmless, but they can cause serious harm to the environment. Instead of stacking rocks, consider taking pictures of the natural scenery or leaving a small and natural object behind, such as a leaf or a small stone.
In conclusion, stacking rocks in nature is not a harmless activity, but it can cause serious harm to the environment and create confusion for hikers. In Illinois, where there are many state parks to explore, it is important to respect the rules and regulations of the park, which includes not stacking rocks or building cairns. If you come across cairns while hiking, it is best to leave them as they are and instead focus on enjoying the natural beauty of Illinois.