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Walking groups and authorities have warned Australian hikers not to build rock towers over fears they could impact natural environments on bush trails.
Who knew a pile of stones could cause so much havoc?
"It's unsightly and unnatural," she said.
While cairns are usually built to help hikers navigate their surroundings, rock towers that do not pose a purpose are considered ‘vandalism’.
The situation is so intense that Queenslanders can be fined up to $6,000 (USD $4,160 or £3,386).
"Most of us go to national parks to really experience that natural scenery, and just like scratching your name into a tree, rock stacks are seen as vandalism,” she said.
Queensland National Parks also stated via Facebook that cairns are ‘becoming a problem’.
However, besides vandalism, rock towers can also cause erosion and destroy animal habitats.
"The rocks help to absorb water, and they prevent runoff," Gatley continued.
"[They also] provide a habitat refuge for many plants and animals … moving the rocks, it takes away that habitat and can also make animals more open to predators because they have less places to hide.”
Head of central Queensland and Townsville Hike and Explore Groups Michael Plough told the outlet that they can also harm ‘marine creatures that live in these environments’.
He's urged people to stop making them for personal enjoyment.
The Guardian writer Patrick Barkham advised that rock stacking goes against the number one rule of outdoor exploration.
“A forest of stacked stones destroys all sense of the wild. Stacks are an intrusion, enforcing our presence on others long after our departure. It’s an offence against the first and most important rule of wild adventuring: leave no trace,” he wrote.
Head of the volunteer-run environmental organisation, Blue Planet Society John Hourston said the issue has become extremely ‘divisive’ as many claim cairns are just an innocent pastime for explorers, as means of ‘making their mark’, according to The New Yorker.
While stone stacking has become a popular hashtag on social media, Hourston said these creations violate the ‘seclusion’ of national parks.
He said: “It struck me as a real shame, because there are very few places where you can still find solitude and seclusion, and here they were absolutely covered by the footprint of man.”
Featured Image Credit: Chris Hellier / Alamy Stock Photo. Peter Hermes Furian / Alamy Stock Photo
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