Karina is a young girl who loves traveling the country with her family. Some of her favorite places to visit are the national parks, but sadly on her most recent visit, her sudden urge for a souvenir left her feeling guilty.
When Karina and her family went hiking in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park in North Carolina they stopped to enjoy the beautiful view of the Tom Branch Falls. While exploring the falls Karina came across a unique heart-shaped pebble that she decided to take home as a souvenir.
However, when little Karina got home the pebble weighed heavily on her heart. She knew that by taking the pebble from the national park she had taken something that didn’t belong to her alone. She knew the only way she could make the situation right was for her to return the rock. So, she wrote a note to the park rangers that included a map of the location where she had found the pebble. She then mailed the letter along with the rock and was relieved that the ordeal was offer.
Weeks later a park ranger was surprised to receive the curious package, and upon reading Karina’s heartfelt note they decided to share her story so that Karina would know the pebble had made its way home. The ranger also hoped that by sharing Karina’s story they could show others why taking from national parks can be wrong.
The park rangers shared images of Karina’s note online as well as a picture of them returning the pebble to its home. They also shared a special message that read “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”. The park rangers also used the opportunity to share some wise words about how the rocks in the Rockies serve as part of the environment and ecosystem, and if each visitor were to take one then there wouldn’t be anything left for future generations.
While the act of taking the pebble was innocent enough, many historical and natural sites have been destroyed by tourists. Thankfully Karina decided to return the pebble and do her part in the conservation of a beautiful state park.