Using a popular Instagram hashtag could cost you $8,000, experts have warned.
Taking a photo of rocks stacked on top of each other to create a ‘cairn’ in a scenic area has become something of an Instagram trend, with many visitors to parks posting creative photos with the hashtag #rockstacking or #rockbalancing.
But the art of stone balancing has been known to cause erosion and damage ecosystems.
In Victoria, damaging, disturbing or destroying wildlife habitat is illegal – and carries a whopping $8,000 fine with it.
Why is rock stacking is problematic
“Visitors that build these towers in Zion may not think this hurts the environment, but it can,” Utah’s Zion National Park posted on its Facebook page earlier last year.
“Moving rocks around exposes the soil to wind and water erosion and takes away shelter for many small animals.”
Senior ecologist at the Victorian Government's Arthur Rylah Institute, Nick Clemann, told ABC disrupting the animals’ habitats has grave consequences.
"That's what the animals live under and any disturbance to that can mean that the animals are pushed out," he said.
Clemann said if people knew they were causing a “major problem” for endangered species, they wouldn’t be doing it.
But these rock stacks spell bad news for humans too.
“Rock stacks along trails could be confused as a trail marker and send a hiker in the wrong direction,” Zion National Park stated.
“These hikers may be at the park to get away from civilization and to connect with nature. When people move rocks to create decorative cairns, they are altering the natural beauty of the park and leaving a mark on the landscape. Like graffiti, artistic expression like this has no place in our national parks.”
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