Years ago, when I was playing Little League with pals Don McKinney, Ted Goto, Mark Tanaka and Bobby Brosi, in the off-season my dad took me to the Grand Canyon. Overlooking the great natural abyss while listening to dad explain that the blue trickle at the bottom was actually the mighty Colorado River, I picked up a rock and tossed it over the edge hoping to make a splash. Never heard it hit. The only thing I heard was when a ranger tapped me on the shoulder and scolded me for testing out my throwing arm.
“If everyone that visited the Grand Canyon threw a rock down there, son, pretty soon we wouldn’t have a canyon at all,” he admonished. Dad nodded, but I just looked into the deep, wide hole and to the few more rocks on the ground and tried to ponder such a manmade (or kid-made) disaster.
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I told you that to tell you this. Now comes an ABC newscast about a little girl who took a couple of sticks from Yosemite National Park. Feeling guilty (or mom and dad made her), she mailed the sticks back to Park Headquarters with a letter stating she “accidently” took the pieces of wood. I don’t know how you accidently take two sticks from Yosemite, but it was very nice and honest of the girl, named Evie.
Park rangers hung Evie’s letter and the sticks on their office wall and wrote a thank-you letter to Evie explaining that if every visitor were to a take pinecone or stick it would “eventually” be detrimental to the park. I suppose so, but on my next trip to the desert I’m going take a grain of sand, show it to a ranger, and tell him I’m taking it home. Just to see what he says...