• Outdoors Outdoors

National park live stream catches problematic visitor behavior on camera: 'A disturbance to the natural beauty'

"Not sure what part of 'leave nothing but footprints' they don't understand."

"Not sure what part of 'leave nothing but footprints' they don't understand."

Photo Credit: iStock

One observant national park enthusiast spotted something upsetting while checking out the Lake McDonald webcam at Glacier Park in Montana. 

They posted a screenshot of the footage to the r/GlacierNationalPark community on Reddit, pointing out that some visitors had left piles of stones, or cairns, along the edge of the shore. 

"Doing so disturbs the habit of wildlife that lives amongst the rocks, creates navigational issues if made on or near trails, and is a disturbance to the natural beauty that we come to the park to experience," they pointed out in the caption.

Photo Credit: Reddit

It might seem like a harmless activity while visiting the lake, but moving or stacking rocks can have adverse environmental effects. 

The National Park Service notes that some parks use cairns as marker points for hikers, so building unauthorized ones could lead to confusion among visitors and get them lost, potentially putting them in danger.

"Every park has different rules about cairns, so it's always a good idea to check out a park's website for information on hiking trails before you go," the NPS advises.

Generally, though, it's best to avoid moving rocks, as it could disturb the soil and increase the likelihood of erosion, as the NPS observes. 

Whatever national park or green space you visit, be sure to practice the "leave no trace" philosophy. That means cleaning up after yourself, leaving no trash behind, and leaving the landscape exactly how it was when you found it. If you notice any damage, inform a park ranger. 

As the OP observed, this sort of activity can impact the animals that call these parks home, and disturbing the natural processes of creatures shows a lack of respect for their wellbeing. 

"Just as annoying as finding litter on the trail, not sure what part of 'leave nothing but footprints' they don't understand," one Redditor said.

"The rangers at Yosemite are encouraging people to knock over any cairns they find," another user noted.

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