But mainly, pointless cairns change the value of the wilderness experience by degrading an already beautiful landscape. Building cairns where none are needed for route finding is antithetical to Leave-No-Trace ethics. Move a stone, and you've changed the environment from something that it wasn't to something manmade. Cairn building might also be illegal, since erecting structures or moving natural materials on public lands often comes with fines and/or jail time. Of course, I doubt the Forest Service will hunt down someone who decided that his or her self-expression required erecting a balanced stone sculpture on a sandstone ridge. Yet it is an unwelcome reminder of humanity, something we strive to avoid as we enjoy our wild spaces.