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Re: Is Rock Stacking Graffiti?

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avatar Is Rock Stacking Graffiti?
December 22, 2012 03:25PM
Re: Is Rock Stacking Graffiti?
December 22, 2012 03:49PM
Wow! I haven't been near Mirror Lake in years. Didn't even realize those stacks were there.
I thought the article was going to talk about rock stacking in back country.
I have no problem with that, sometimes in the middle of nowhere the trails are poorly
Marked and the best way to navigate is to follow the rock stacks. As for as this
Area near Mirror Lake, I think people are going overboard. No need to disturb an entire area
Just to stack some rocks.
avatar Re: Is Rock Stacking Graffiti?
December 22, 2012 05:30PM
It's graffiti. I knock them down whenever I see them inside the Park. There is a huge one on Tioga Road that's going to take several more trips.
Re: Is Rock Stacking Graffiti?
December 22, 2012 05:38PM
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Dave
It's graffiti. I knock them down whenever I see them inside the Park. There is a huge one on Tioga Road that's going to take several more trips.

Do you knock them down even in back country. I always assumed it was kind of a friendly thing to keep others from getting lost. I don't agree with people doing it just to do it. If you need to stack rocks in Yosemite just for the sake of stacking rocks you should probably find a new hobby.
avatar Re: Is Rock Stacking Graffiti?
December 22, 2012 08:00PM
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JamesMac
Do you knock them down even in back country. I always assumed it was kind of a friendly thing to keep others from getting lost. I don't agree with people doing it just to do it. If you need to stack rocks in Yosemite just for the sake of stacking rocks you should probably find a new hobby.
If the pile is an obvious trail marker, no, but those are rarely needed.
Re: Is Rock Stacking Graffiti?
December 25, 2012 04:59PM
Quote
JamesMac
Quote
Dave
It's graffiti. I knock them down whenever I see them inside the Park. There is a huge one on Tioga Road that's going to take several more trips.

Do you knock them down even in back country. I always assumed it was kind of a friendly thing to keep others from getting lost. I don't agree with people doing it just to do it. If you need to stack rocks in Yosemite just for the sake of stacking rocks you should probably find a new hobby.

Following them in the backcountry will get you lost! People seem to leave them all over the place with no rhyme or reason.
avatar Re: Is Rock Stacking Graffiti?
December 23, 2012 12:08AM
Quote
Dave

It's graffiti. I knock them down whenever I see them inside the Park. There is a huge one on Tioga Road that's going to take several more trips.


I wouldn't call it graffiti. Vandalism is a better word for it. Those who engage is such activity are simply vandalizing the park.

Graffiti is too nice of term (since some people believe that graffiti is an acceptable form of self-expression).

The Park Service really needs to go in there and restore that area to its natural state. I just hope no NPS or DNC employees are engaging in such destructive behavior.

.
avatar Re: Is Rock Stacking Graffiti?
December 23, 2012 08:39AM
The next break in the weather a bunch of us can meet at Mirror Lake and clean it up ourselves.
avatar Re: Is Rock Stacking Graffiti?
December 22, 2012 05:35PM
avatar Re: Is Rock Stacking Graffiti?
December 22, 2012 05:35PM
Here's the Canadian version of rock-stacking. When I was in the Jasper area a year or two ago, I was noticing "inukchuks" along roadsides and, yes, within the park. It's considerably nicer than spray-painting or carving initials into trees.

I can see where park management in either country would want to discourage it. It's so easy to do, though, that increased enforcement would probably just make it that much more interesting. If they already don't have enough resources to keep people from wading upstream from a major waterfall, I don't think they should divert any to "graffiti" abatement.

Maybe they could set aside an acre of already damaged, unnatural ground just for rock-stacking. That should take most of the fun out of it. Cry baby
avatar Re: Is Rock Stacking Graffiti?
December 23, 2012 10:02AM
JamesMac said it right. They need to find a new hobby. If they have that much energy they are not chosing sufficiently challenging trails. Backpacker
avatar Re: Is Rock Stacking Graffiti?
December 23, 2012 11:58AM
There is a large collection of this art at Olmstead Point also.



Old Dude
avatar Re: Is Rock Stacking Graffiti?
December 23, 2012 06:53PM
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mrcondron
There is a large collection of this art at Olmstead Point also.
Where? I can get that in the spring.
avatar Re: Is Rock Stacking Graffiti?
December 24, 2012 06:21AM
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Dave
Quote
mrcondron
There is a large collection of this art at Olmstead Point also.
Where? I can get that in the spring.

Out on the vista point.



Old Dude
avatar Re: Is Rock Stacking Graffiti?
December 24, 2012 07:59AM
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mrcondron
Out on the vista point.
Thanks. I often get to go up a day or so early as "admin traffic" and I'll get it then.
Re: Is Rock Stacking Graffiti?
December 28, 2012 07:27PM
I knock them down whenever i can. I knocked down probably 50 stacks in Arches near Balanced Rock this past summer. They are vandalism!
avatar Re: Is Rock Stacking Graffiti?
December 28, 2012 09:25PM
There's a BIG difference between functionally useful trail markers and socially motivated rock art.
It's usually going to be pretty easy to determine which is which.

I'm firmly on the knock down side, but it would be interesting and make this thread more balanced to hear why someone thinks the stacks SHOULDN'T be knocked down.
Re: Is Rock Stacking Graffiti?
December 28, 2012 09:49PM
Quote
qumqats
There's a BIG difference between functionally useful trail markers and socially motivated rock art.
It's usually going to be pretty easy to determine which is which.

I'm firmly on the knock down side, but it would be interesting and make this thread more balanced to hear why someone thinks the stacks SHOULDN'T be knocked down.

First I'll admit that somehow I managed to be briefly led astray by cairns somewhere between Clouds Rest and Half Dome. The trail wasn't apparent and I followed some cairns that were clearly in the wrong direction. But I post here not understanding the big deal and why everyone hates them so much. There was a big news story in Anchorage this summer about a big cairn garden built in a city creek. I thought it looked cool. And no one here said anything negative about it. Anyplace I have ever seen the cairns I always thought they looked cool and didn't bother my enjoyment of the scenery. I've seen the large collection at Olmsted Point and those also didn't bother me.

I've never built or added to a cairn. But I've never knocked them down either. I am admitting to just not understanding the animosity toward them.
avatar Re: Is Rock Stacking Graffiti?
December 28, 2012 10:01PM
City park, fine. I don't care.
National Park, not OK. I'll knock down any I find. How can someone be so arrogant that they actually believe they can improve on what nature provided?
Re: Is Rock Stacking Graffiti?
December 28, 2012 10:12PM
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Dave
City park, fine. I don't care.
National Park, not OK. I'll knock down any I find. How can someone be so arrogant that they actually believe they can improve on what nature provided?

I'm not trying to argue against your point. I just don't understand it. I'm not sure the builders think they are improving anything. But personally I don't think it detracts from the view. When I am at Olmsted Point and framing a picture I can easily set one up with a nice cairn in the shot---or just as easily avoid the cairn.
avatar Re: Is Rock Stacking Graffiti?
December 29, 2012 01:16AM
It goes completely against the "Leave no trace" ethos.

When in the wilderness, the goal of everyone should be to leave no trace of their presence. That way the next person can enjoy the same pristine wilderness experience.

This "rock art" spoils that. It's about egotistical people making their presence known to others that they had been there.

Wilderness should be left as wilderness. It's the same reason many people don't like the presence of fire rings in the wilderness. At least fire rings – in theory – have some useful purpose. This "rock art" on the other hand, serves no useful purpose at all.

.
Re: Is Rock Stacking Graffiti?
January 01, 2013 12:54PM
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plawrence
It goes completely against the "Leave no trace" ethos.

When in the wilderness, the goal of everyone should be to leave no trace of their presence. That way the next person can enjoy the same pristine wilderness experience.

This "rock art" spoils that. It's about egotistical people making their presence known to others that they had been there.

Wilderness should be left as wilderness. It's the same reason many people don't like the presence of fire rings in the wilderness. At least fire rings – in theory – have some useful purpose. This "rock art" on the other hand, serves no useful purpose at all.

.

So next time a tree falls onto a trail, don't bother clearing it.
avatar Re: Is Rock Stacking Graffiti?
December 29, 2012 08:36AM
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chicagocwright
I'm not trying to argue against your point. I just don't understand it. I'm not sure the builders think they are improving anything. But personally I don't think it detracts from the view. When I am at Olmsted Point and framing a picture I can easily set one up with a nice cairn in the shot---or just as easily avoid the cairn.
They do believe they can improve on nature. There is a difference between a city park and a national park. One is to be disturbed as little as possible. Rock piles are graffiti, a disturbance, a nuisance that detracts from the natural enviornment.

Take only pictures.
Leave only footprints.
avatar Re: Is Rock Stacking Graffiti?
December 29, 2012 11:11AM
"Leave no trace" in order to preserve the wilderness experience is the crux of this arguement. Stacking rocks is certainly not as bad as spray painting "Kilroy was here" on a rock face or carving "John loves Sharon" on a tree but it's still a form of grafitti that should be discouraged. We hike the widerness trails to experience wilderness, not human rock art. Most of us also have no need for markers showing the way across large expanses of granite slabs. That's what trail maps and compass points are for. We should be capable of figuring it out on our own,---just teeny tiny little challenges from time to time to keep things interesting.
avatar Re: Is Rock Stacking Graffiti?
December 30, 2012 02:29PM
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Dave

Take only pictures.
Leave only footprints.

That is exactly it. Everyone should be thinking about having a low impact. I wish that no trace and respect of nature would be taught more in the schools. I see a lot of people posing for pictures, saying look at me, look at what I accomplished. People lean over rails to get a more daring shot to show everyone. It should really be a more reflective appreciation of nature. I am glad that it is usually not too hard to escape the crowds and just appreciate the wonder of nature in solitude.
Re: Is Rock Stacking Graffiti?
December 30, 2012 09:41AM


These are just a small portion of the stacks I knocked down near Balanced Rock in Arches. They were most definitely an eye sore!
Re: Is Rock Stacking Graffiti?
January 01, 2013 01:06PM
This is obv. excessive - not sure why someone feels the need to do this. I guess they can't help it. For the record, I'm not a duck-builder or rock stacker. I just don't pay much attention to them, normally. Can find my own way & it's easy enough to use domes/landscapes as reference points.

Although I have removed some rocks that were placed on the top of trail signs in various parks.
Re: Is Rock Stacking Graffiti?
December 31, 2012 11:35AM
Quote
qumqats
There's a BIG difference between functionally useful trail markers and socially motivated rock art.
It's usually going to be pretty easy to determine which is which.

I'm firmly on the knock down side, but it would be interesting and make this thread more balanced to hear why someone thinks the stacks SHOULDN'T be knocked down.

I'd consider myself a bit more of a more moderate on this one. In the case of "cairns-as-trail-markers," I've appreciated having them more than once, when a well-marked trail came out to a vast expanse of open slick rock with little or no immediate indication of where to go. This was especially true when I was more of a neophyte hiker but, especially on a first-time visit to a new area, I still find them helpful, provided their accurately placed and fairly discreet.

As far as "creative cairnage," eye rolling smiley I can't say it bothers me 100% of the time. Contributing factors to me are 1) How pristine the area is (cairns in the courtyard between the Lodge and Mountain Room would be unlikely to bother me) 2) How many of them there are (I recently came across a single small arch-shaped cairn along the trail to Observation Point in Zion but I actually thought it fit so well with the surroundings that I almost (but not quite!) wondered if it was natural) and 3) how big they are.

So, excesses like those shown in hotrod's photo below strike me as intrusive, unnecessary and excessive but I'd be hard-pressed to give a categorical point at which I draw the line. I have no problem clearing this sort of thing but, on the other hand, I did once yell at a little kid who was kicking down cairns along the trail to Delicate Arch in Arches (this was along an extended stretch of slick rock and, at least at the time, it seemed to me that these were genuine navigational aids (arguably of minimal utility given the crowds of people along that particular trail but fairly clearly intended as navigational aids nonetheless).

On another thread recently, somebody mentioned that they were building native-American Inukshuk's along the trail. While I understand the desire to express a connection with the land through an ancient tradition, I can't really support that, at least not in Yosemite where (to the best of my knowledge) the local Indians had no such tradition. It does, however, raise some food for thought. I certainly don't advocate people building such structures now (nor creating petroglyphs) nor do I approve of the vandalism of such ancient embellishments but was it anymore acceptable for the native Americans to create these in the first place? They may be ancient artifacts now but they were, at one point, every bit as much an intrusion as people feel that the 21st century cairnage is (I'm starting to like that word!).

FWIW, I find that fire rings, legal or not, tend to strike me as a greater blight on the landscape.
avatar Re: Is Rock Stacking Graffiti?
January 01, 2013 12:36PM
Having preiviously stated my position I will note one occasional exception. Numerous trails in Maine at some point come out to large expanses of rock slabs where continuation of the trail is not obvious. Trail maintenance volunteers frequently place cairns along the rock slabs pointing the way. The reason this is done is because these trails are not regulated (no quotas) and come under very frequent use. The only regulation are signs saying , "Please stay on the trail". Where cairn markers are not in existence wayward hikers have adversely impacted the ecologically fragile surrounding areas by tramping all over them attempting to find their way. In this case, the cairns actually help in efforts to leave no trace. I'm not sure that applies in a place like Yosemite where daily quotas tend to limit this kind of impact.
Re: Is Rock Stacking Graffiti?
January 13, 2013 05:36PM
The current edition of OUTSIDE magazine contains a list of things that it considers to be "perfect", and there it is at # 14: Cairns. Says OUTSIDE: "So
much more pleasing to the eye than blazes, signs, or any other kind of trail marker".

Just the messenger....
avatar Re: Is Rock Stacking Graffiti?
January 13, 2013 05:57PM
They are talking about an actual trail marker, not a pile of rocks someone decided to "decorate" nature with.
Re: Is Rock Stacking Graffiti?
January 14, 2013 12:47PM
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AnotherDave
The current edition of OUTSIDE magazine contains a list of things that it considers to be "perfect", and there it is at # 14: Cairns. Says OUTSIDE: "So
much more pleasing to the eye than blazes, signs, or any other kind of trail marker".

Just the messenger....

Cairns on a trail are placed usually 10-20 feet apart, in a line. Not gathered in a "forest."
avatar Re: Is Rock Stacking Graffiti?
January 14, 2013 09:15PM
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hotrod4x5
Cairns on a trail are placed usually 10-20 feet apart, in a line. Not gathered in a "forest."

I would expect them to be as few as possible, line of sight, usually much more than 10-20 feet apart unless you're in thick forest.
Re: Is Rock Stacking Graffiti?
January 15, 2013 12:09PM
Is adding a stogie or hair to the Smiley Face rock near Twin Bridges okay? ha. I've done that a few times. Come to think of it the eyes and nose aren't natural either.
avatar Re: Is Rock Stacking Graffiti?
January 15, 2013 08:34PM
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Mom
Is adding a stogie or hair to the Smiley Face rock near Twin Bridges okay? ha. I've done that a few times. Come to think of it the eyes and nose aren't natural either.

That reminds me -- I don't know who did this one. I noticed it near the Pohono Trail last August.

avatar Re: Is Rock Stacking Graffiti?
January 27, 2013 08:44PM
I hate these things, and I kicked over a ton of them hiking in New Zealand in November. Apparently Americans aren't the only ones with bad taste in rock art.
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