YOSEMITE, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Have you ever passed by a rock cairn and felt the urge to knock it over? Well, officials with Yosemite National Park strongly advise that you do.
Rock cairns are man-made piles of rock stacked on top of each other.
According to park rangers, Leave No Trace ethics states that when recreating in wilderness spaces, the goal is to leave no signs of human impact on the land so as to respect the other creatures living in it.
And while the effort and aesthetics of these rock cairns may seem too precious to ruin, oversized cairns are a mark of human impact and are distracting in a wilderness setting, officials say. This is why rangers want visitors to push over the “dramatically oversized” ones.
“Unfortunately, this dramatically oversized cairn is a mark of human impact and is distracting in a wilderness setting,” write officials on Facebook.
Officials also say building them disturbs small insects, reptiles, and microorganisms that live on the underside of these rocks.
In general, park rangers say rock cairns should only be built by trail workers and are meant for navigation, safety, and delineating new or hard-to-follow trails.
Yosemite National Park advises visitors to dismantle and refrain from building rock cairns when visiting the park.