A little girl learned a valuable lesson after taking a stone from North Carolina's Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The girl named Katrina regretted having taken the stone during her visit to the Tom Branch Falls area of the park and when she got home she wanted to rectify it.
The girl returned the item to the rangers with a touching note of regret.
Deep Creek was wonderful. I especially liked the Tom Branch waterfall. I loved it so much that I wanted to take a souvenir with me, so I took a stone,”Katrina wrote in the letter that was published on the park's Facebook page. "Sorry, and I want to return it."
The rangers who received the letter, which included a drawing of the waterfall and a monetary donation, accepted their apology and responded to the letter on the social network with an explanation of how dangerous it is to take the stones from the park, People reported.
"Thank you for realizing that what is in the park must stay in the park," they wrote. "If every visitor took a stone home, that would mean 11 million stones would disappear from the park each year! The park, surely, would not look so pretty."
The rangers' writing also offers an explanation of the importance of each stone, which among other things can offer refuge to creatures such as salamanders.
"By leaving the stones where they are, we hope to protect these special houses [for animals], as well as the beauty of the park," they highlight in the text.
Katrina's apology does not detract from the fact that her action is a federal crime that can be punished by imprisonment, so the rangers stressed that not taking anything from a national park is a must.
"Now that you know that you have to leave nature as you found it, we hope you will help us share this message with others," said the rangers.