Kim and I were surprised by signs asking us not to build cairns. We would never have thought of building them. But apparently you have to explain to some people that moving stones around in a fragile landscape can do damage to the thin soil and cause erosion.
Overall, we were impressed by the obvious general care for the environment that we saw in Norway. The ubiquitous cairns were one exception. The other was the remains of little campfires everywhere.
Eugene Crosser October 18, 2013 08:59
Apparently the urge to make cairns is irresistible, in Norway
as much as in the US
Quite amusing, and I think not too much damage, considering the alternatives.
Michael K Johnson October 18, 2013 10:06
I read recently (no recollection where…) that large ancient cairns are ubiquitous throughout the arctic, because in the otherwise relatively featureless landscape they were important navigational aids. I don’t think that explains the little modern piles of rock, though. ☺
Andrew J Hutton October 18, 2013 14:47
Cairns are used for marking things when there are no other options. Trails like those across mountains above the treeline are generally marked this way as they’re about the only material that’s available and the only real solution that doesn’t get buried in snow or blown away.
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