The Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are thanking the anonymous visitor who mailed back a giant sequoia cone with a poignant apology note taped to it.
“To whom it may concern. I took a pine cone out of the forest and I wanted to return it. I hope it will be placed near the General Grant tree because that is where I took it. I am sorry for my decision. Thank you.”
Dana Dierkes, public affairs specialist for the parks, told Global News that taking anything out of a national park is against the rules.
“National parks are set aside to preserve and protect these amazing things that everyone gets excited about, but if everyone took a piece of the park home with them there would eventually be nothing left,” she said.
The rules are posted clearly and abundantly throughout the parks, but Dierkes said on the rare occasion some people do break them and take home natural souvenirs.
The giant sequoia cone that the young visitor returned, said Dierkes, could have been food for a critter. It has since been returned to the area under the General Grant tree.
Staff at the parks said the package came without a return address and had no indication about who the letter was from or where it came from, but they are happy that their message of preservation resonated with the apologetic visitor.
“We’re grateful that this person, likely a child, decided to return the sequoia cone to its rightful place,” said Dierkes.