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Edward Abbey Approved?

Destroying Cairns

  • No

    Votes: 8 16.7%
  • Yep

    Votes: 19 39.6%
  • Only one's that aren't built by USFS and I can tell the difference

    Votes: 6 12.5%
  • What are we talking about?

    Votes: 3 6.3%
  • Who cares bro...

    Votes: 12 25.0%

  • Total voters
    48

DouglasR

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 9, 2019
Messages
481
Location
East central, Il
I see a few of them in the Beartooths during my summer backpacking trips. IMO there isn't an overabundance. I haven't kicked any over, but wouldn't feel bad about doing it.



Many years ago Jose' sent me a copy of The Monkey Wrench Gang. I forwarded on to someone else after reading. I might have to enjoy it again.
It is with much respect that I say Jose Cuervo is the weirdest thing about hunt talk.
 

XXL

Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2016
Messages
49
Location
Baker City, OR
I've been happy to see cairns when on horseback in the middle of a meadow and looking for the trail. Even a single post that looks "out of place" can lead you to the next clue. I don't frequent areas where there are so many people you have cairns that don't really serve a purpose but I can understand why it would be annoying.
 

noharleyyet

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 15, 2004
Messages
26,238
Location
TEXAS
Agreed. Not sure how many current regulars that stick around now would have in the Golden Age.
*mellowing teaser from perhaps post Golden age;

OP, how old are you?


Just curious, as if you are a youngster, perhaps you are worth educating.

If you are old enough to buy Keystone Light and Pall Mall by the carton, then you are likely not worth the effort to educate when you have spent a lifetime of avoiding education and knowledge......-JC
 

Topoman

New member
Joined
Jul 17, 2016
Messages
18
I recently spoke with some horse folks here in central Wyoming who had issues with people destroying cairns that marked a trail moving across a high, windswept plateau. Late season, during general rifle, near-whiteout conditions make the trail impossible to follow without these large (~5 ft+) cairns. Of course, these cairns mark an existing, maintained USFS trail, as opposed to an unofficial route.

Personally, when I am off of maintained trails and find cairn-marked routes, I tend to dismantle them as I go...for the same reasons many have expressed on this thread - to avoid increased use that might affect wildlife or the general landscape in a negative way. I think it's important to leave things as we find them. I also think that unofficial trails encourage folks to get into more rugged, remote stuff without necessarily having the navigation skills to back it up.

In Washington state, there is a famous set of hiking guidebooks (100 Hikes in...) that were written way back when by these two fogies named Harvey Manning and Ira Spring. Interesting duo, and really groundbreaking books...at the time, there weren't really guides for things like backcountry travel in the Northwest. The duo eventually ended their business partnership because one of the guys, Harvey, couldn't bear to see what the increased exposure was doing to the Cascades and the Olympics. He'd grown up hiking and climbing in there and seen them go from a literally forgotten wilderness into something that was being irrevocably altered with considerable help from the books they had written. He was eventually unable to morally justify continuing to write the books. Interesting guy...kind of iconoclastic, didn't give a shit what people thought. Not a saint, by any means (though neither was Cactus Ed), but he understood our capacity to destroy what we love, and when enough was enough.
 

neffa3

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 17, 2015
Messages
4,450
Location
Wenatchee
I recently spoke with some horse folks here in central Wyoming who had issues with people destroying cairns that marked a trail moving across a high, windswept plateau. Late season, during general rifle, near-whiteout conditions make the trail impossible to follow without these large (~5 ft+) cairns. Of course, these cairns mark an existing, maintained USFS trail, as opposed to an unofficial route.

Personally, when I am off of maintained trails and find cairn-marked routes, I tend to dismantle them as I go...for the same reasons many have expressed on this thread - to avoid increased use that might affect wildlife or the general landscape in a negative way. I think it's important to leave things as we find them. I also think that unofficial trails encourage folks to get into more rugged, remote stuff without necessarily having the navigation skills to back it up.

In Washington state, there is a famous set of hiking guidebooks (100 Hikes in...) that were written way back when by these two fogies named Harvey Manning and Ira Spring. Interesting duo, and really groundbreaking books...at the time, there weren't really guides for things like backcountry travel in the Northwest. The duo eventually ended their business partnership because one of the guys, Harvey, couldn't bear to see what the increased exposure was doing to the Cascades and the Olympics. He'd grown up hiking and climbing in there and seen them go from a literally forgotten wilderness into something that was being irrevocably altered with considerable help from the books they had written. He was eventually unable to morally justify continuing to write the books. Interesting guy...kind of iconoclastic, didn't give a shit what people thought. Not a saint, by any means (though neither was Cactus Ed), but he understood our capacity to destroy what we love, and when enough was enough.
I've got a couple of those, and all I'll say is that Ira's calves are twice the size of my thighs.

There's a much less known book written by Tabor, a geologic mapper for the USGS, called Rocks and High Routes (if I'm not mistaken), that provides some exceptional routes not well known. I'm glad it didn't become nearly as popular.
 

BrentD

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 3, 2018
Messages
3,312
Location
In the middle
Do you guys know if there is still a problem with people making stone circles on public land around Sedona AZ? It was some goofy pseudospiritualistic thing and it gave USFS folk a real head ache. Not sure if it is still happening.
 

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