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Stone-stacking by tourists as a "natural" disturbance


100+ Posts
Stone-stacking - or any other kind of seemingly "natural" physical signs that we leave in some place - have become a plague in what used to be relatively deserted locations. From the article in The Guardian :

"Our personal monuments turn empty landscapes into peopled places. When we reach a remote summit or deserted beach, we know people have stepped there before, but for a moment we can enjoy a place where humans do not predominate.
No longer. A forest of stacked stones destroys all sense of the wild."


I see quite a bit of this in the desert, as rocks abound, and the temptation to leave a mark always exists.


100+ Posts
We saw two guys stacking stones on a beach in St. Ives (Cornwall) this past spring. I don't know if their project was going to survive the high tide...


In some areas of the UK, where signposts or markers for walkers aren't permitted on moors, there are stone cairns to mark the way. But this is for a purpose, not for "art" or social media. I realize now I have seen these artsy stacked stones in other places and never quite understood them.


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I’ve seen this twice on this trip. It is odd. In some ways I like it. Better than graffiti. The first time I saw this was at a huge dolmen in County Clare, Ireland, in 1992. The stone field beside the dolmen was filled with small replicas. There were hundreds of them. And recently on the Amalfi Coast, on the Path of the Gods trail, there is a spot with many piles of stones.


In Lenk, on the path up to Siebenbrunnen.
It is better than graffiti, yes, and much better than those locks on bridges, which I think are awful and communities should ban. I didn't realize the stacked rocks thing was a thing until reading this.


100+ Posts
Hmm. I have mixed feelings about this. Andy Goldsworthy is probably my favorite artist, and in most of these cases I can't see where any harm has been done. Even that mess on the trail up to Buoux could probably be undone in just a few minutes by scattering the rocks. I'd rather see these little arrangements than Don't Touch The Rocks signs.
We saw quite a lot of this in outback Australia and I'm not a fan. I admit to deconstructing some of these piles of stones and sending them back into the wild where they belong. But I agree with Chris about the signs being worse. We saw many signs adhered to the rocks in Karijini Gorge telling people not to climb the rocks, or signs with pictures of people falling with a cross through them. People still climbed up the rocks and the signs just ruin the natural environment. Australia is the worst place for signs telling people what to do, to be careful of this and that, don't do this or that! It must be something to do with potential litigation in National Parks if someone is silly enough to climb where it is dangerous and slips.


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