The Department of Natural Resources is urging state park visitors to avoid taking rocks from trails and bodies of water and then stacking them to make a tower.
Whether it be for decorative purposes or simply out of fun, the DNR is urging those who are visiting state parks not to do so.
Theresa Neal is a DNR Educator for Tahquamenon Falls State Park. She says rock stacking is a problem at the river she helps manage. The stone towers can interrupt the natural flow of water and the habitats for insects like Stoneflies and Caddisflies.
“So, while our river is really long, there’s only very small portions that are rapid, fast moving water, and there’s certain aquatic insects that rely on that rapid, fast moving water in order to lay their eggs and for their larvae to hatch," she said.
Rock stacking can also cause habitat loss for birds using them for nests.
Neal said she encourages visitors to take pictures and leave nothing but footprints.
“We set up an educational table at the Lower Falls that’s staffed a few times a week during our busy times, as well as some signage that is out at the Lower Falls itself," she said. "So, where people actually get into the waterfall is where we put signage that seems to be helping.”
She said she’s noticed other parks having similar problems, but she has also seen park visitors more viligant about the practice who are taking down the stacks.
Last year, she counted 106 towers in one area of the park, and now there are virtually none.
McKoy's story is brought to you as part of a partnership between WKAR and Michigan State University's Knight Center for Environmental Journalism.