I have to say I’ve never tried making a rock stack, but I see them everywhere. It’s been gaining popularity over the past decade. Did you know, that what started as a harmless summer activity has grown to be on par with the adverse effects left behind from dredge mining! Rock stacks apparently can really hurt our ecosystems, especially in rivers and lakes. These temporary natural “master pieces” may be an expression of patience, balance and creativity, but can be potentially damaging to the life cycles of organisms connected to the rocks.
Each rock in a stream is blooming with life. Everything from aquatic plants to micro-organisms are attached to those rocks. They also create habitat for crustaceans and nymphs. Crevices in the rocks hold eggs in salmon redds to be fertilized, supporting those eggs until they grow into fry and begin feeding off the very critters that were hatching off of and crawling around those same rocks. You could be lifting the roof off the home of a crayfish, or disturbing the cradle for the future generations of already dwindling salmon runs. Removing rocks from fragile stream habitats is essentially the equivalent to removing bricks from someone else’s home while raiding their refrigerator and food pantry.
Maybe you’re thinking, “just one won’t hurt anything”, but the fact this growing trend has become a problem for national parks where millions of visitors frequent each year. In most national parks, moving or dislodging rocks is against the rules and rangers are encouraged to knock them down. In researching this, I even found a blog regarding it being a problem in Aruba! Think before you stack!