An Adorable Apology From a Contrite Young Pine Cone Thief…

...Results in a Perfect Teaching Moment at Sequoia National Park

ABOVE: The note written by a recent young visitor to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. (Photo Credit: Meredith Elgart)

Why is it wrong (not to mention illegal) to remove plants from national parks?

In what turned out to be a beautiful (or should we say precious?) teaching moment last week, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks officials posted the answer to this question on their Facebook page along with an adorable note from a remorseful young visitor, who, after some very serious thinking, decided to return a giant sequoia cone that he’d pilfered from the park.

The note, along with the park’s caption (below), quite understandably went viral.

“Have you ever wanted to take a pine cone home from the park? It’s actually against park rules to do so. Why? It’s a tough environment here. The animals need their nibbles and the area needs the seeds and vegetation. Also, cones and other plants deteriorate and help to create soil in this rocky environment.

“Check out this note that we received from a young visitor. It isn’t a pine cone - it’s a Giant Sequoia cone, of course. But we are so glad this young person thought about the park’s preservation messages. Thanks for leaving Sequoia and Kings Canyon Parks as you found them. And, thanks for sending this back, buddy!”

It’s our sincere hope that a good many of the thousands of people who liked and shared the story took the opportunity to learn, along with the note’s young author, just why it’s absolutely crucial that we do our best to leave America’s national parks just as we find them whenever we take the opportunity to visit them and enjoy their breathtaking natural splendor.

To junior park explorer who returned the sequoia cone we say, Dude… way to do the right thing.

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