apology note national park

Little Girl’s ‘Apology’ Note for Taking Rock From National Park Will Brighten Your Day

Need a smile? Young Karina’s note to park rangers at Great Smoky Mountains National Park will do the trick.

Every year, it seems we come across story after story of misbehavior in national parks. Antagonizing wildlife, shooting at Sasquatch, even bathing in acidic hot springs (do not attempt) — plenty of visitors violate park rules and etiquette again and again.

But one young visitor provided a shining example of how we should all behave — not just at parks, but in life. Last week, rangers at Great Smoky Mountains National Park posted a letter they received from a young girl named Karina. In the short, handwritten letter, Karina copped to taking a heart-shaped rock from Tom Branch Falls.

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“I loved it so much, I wanted to have a souvenir to come home with me,” Karina wrote. But, like a true public lands steward, Karina mailed back the palm-sized stone. Not only that, she apologized and included a donation to the park.

In a Facebook post, rangers thanked her for returning the rock and called Karina “an amazing steward.” They even returned the rock to its initial location.

If that doesn’t give you warm fuzzies, we don’t know what will. Karina, we at GearJunkie also thank you for being an amazing example.

Adam Ruggiero

Adam Ruggiero is an all-sport activity junkie - from biking, running, and (not enough) surfing, to ball sports, camping, and cattle farming. If it's outside, it's worth doing. Adam graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism. Likes: unique beer, dogs, stories. Like nots: neckties, escalators, manicured lawns.