Park officials posted an image to Facebook of the letter sent to them by a young visitor named Karina who took a rock home from the Tom Branch Falls on a recent trip.
“Dear park ranger,” her letter read. “Deep Creek was awesome! I especialy [sic] liked Tom Branch Falls. I loved it so much, I wanted to have a soiveneir [sic] to come home with me. So I took a rock. I’m sorry and I want to return it.”
Karina sent the letter, which featured her own drawing of the falls on the back, along with the rock and a donation for the park.
“Thank you so much for returning the rock!,” the park said in its post, adding that young Karina is an “amazing steward” for the park.
“Thank you for recognizing that what is in the park should stay in the park. If every visitor took a rock home, that would mean 11 million rocks would be gone from the park every year!”
Officials say that animals like the giant salamander, also known as the hellbender, use the rocks to create a nest where the female will eventually come to lay her eggs.
In addition to this, removing any plant life or objects from the national parks is considered a federal offense.