Rock stacking, also called rock balancing, has been around since prehistoric times. They often marked burial grounds or served as shrines. And, thanks to social media, it's been an internet trend for at least a few years. If you're unfamiliar with the practice, it looks something like this:

While rock stacking displays the builder's impressive skill and patience, it turns out it's also not so great for the surrounding ecosystem.

On July 12th, 2022, Tahquamenon Fall State Park shared this on their Facebook page:

As it usually goes with social media, especially Facebook, their post garnered several angry comments like:

What a bunch of control freaks!!! There's zero evidence a few rock stacks are harmful too the environment! Most stacks will fall back on their own or with some wind or rain. That sign is more of an eye sore than a few stacks of rocks! God forbid that you even take a breath nowadays! - Jordan S.

There are millions of rocks. There are millions of Dragonflies. How stupid can we get. - Steve K. 

I like to stack rocks. Not illegal, not hurting anyone…Gonna keep stacking rocks - Sonya V. 

Wow! People argue about anything these days. If you don't like seeing rock piles don't look. It must make you feel good to kick a pile of rocks down that some child probably built. If I see a rock pile I don't kick it over, nature will do that for me. There is no harm in it. - Jason S. 

However, over the past few years, many articles have been published imploring the public to stop stacking rocks because it does, in fact, have the potential to damage the environment and ecosystem.

Why is Rock Stacking Bad?

First, let's start with the impacts on the local ecosystem. According to ausableriver.org, many fish lay their eggs in between rocks. Moving those rocks to create your own stack may cause those eggs to be washed away or will leave them vulnerable to predators.

The same goes for salamanders and aquatic insects. That includes mayflies, damselflies, and dragonflies which just so happen to munch on those pesky mosquitoes we all hate.

Secondly, it goes against the idea of leaving no trace. If you love hiking in natural areas, you may become annoyed when seeing things like trash left behind. It's the same principle for rock stacking. We, as humans, should leave the smallest mark possible when visiting parks, rivers, and so on. You can learn more about Leave No Trace here.

And, here's the thing...if it were one or two people occasionally stacking rocks, this probably wouldn't be a conversation. But, thanks to social media and the desire to get as many 'likes' as possible, rock stacking has become prevalent enough to warrant the 'no rock stacking' signs now seen at parks like Tahquamenon Falls State Park.

If you're seeking more information on why rock stacking/balancing is potentially bad, you can read more at lonelyplanet.com.


Look, if you're someone fascinated by rock stacking and find yourself with a strong desire to prove that you, too, can stack rocks sky high...that's fine. Just do it at home.

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