While visiting a National Park, a little girl took a small rock as a souvenir. Afterward, however, she felt bad and returned the heart-shaped stone with an adorable apology letter. The park then responded with an astonishing Facebook post – read on to discover this amazing story!
The Little Girl And The Heart-Shaped Rock
As children, we are taught not to touch or take what’s not ours, without permission. Obviously, when it comes to nature, things get a little more complicated; one cannot ask a tree or stream if it’s okay to take a flower, stick, or rock home. That’s where the curious, beautiful story of Karina and her stone begins. Karina loves to travel with her family, especially to national parks. Just recently, the little girl and her family recently visited the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. In fact, Karina loved it so much, she took a heart-shaped rock from Tom Branch Falls home with her.
However, when Karina got home, she started to feel bad about taking the rock. After all, as the old saying goes, “take only pictures, leave only footprints.” Karina knew she had taken more than just photos. So, last month, the little girl returned the rock, along with an adorable apology letter. Then, earlier this month, her touching note went viral when the Smoky Mountains Facebook page shared the message in an equally sweet post…
“I’m Sorry, And I Want To Return It”
In the park’s post, they shared the contents of Karina’s letter both as a photo and in text. The sweet apology note read, “Dear Park Ranger. Deep Creek was awesome! I especially liked Tom Branch Falls. I loved it so much I wanted to have a souvenir to come home with me, so I took a rock. I’m sorry, and I want to return it.” The letter included the rock and a drawing of the waterfall; Karina even donated some money to the park.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park Rangers did not disappoint and replied to Karina’s note. Alongside some photos of the letter and heart-shaped rock they wrote, “Thank you so much for returning the rock! It has made its way back to Tom Branch Falls. We are so glad you enjoyed your visit. Already, you are becoming an amazing steward for the park.” In just days, their post went viral, with thousands of likes and shares, and hundreds of comments.
What’s In The Park, Should Stay In The Park
While Park Rangers added that, while one rock might not seem like a lot, if every visitor took a rock home with them, 11 million stones would be missing from the park. The post then went on to say, “Rocks in the Smokies also provide homes for hundreds of creatures, including salamanders! By leaving rocks where they are, we’re helping protect these special homes as well as the beauty of the park.” The post, and many commenters, praised Karina for her smart, environmental actions.
The post concluded by asking the little girl and anyone who reads it to pass on the message and raise awareness of this issue. “It is always a good thing to give another the chance to discover!”