(MARIPOSA, Calif.) — Stealing natural resources from a national park is against the law, but park rangers at Yosemite National Park in California made an exception after they received a letter from a little girl named Evie.
Evie, a Yosemite Junior Park Ranger, came home from a trip to the park and discovered that she had accidentally taken two sticks with her.
She later mailed the sticks and a letter to park rangers that said:
“Dear Park Rangers, I am a Yosemite Junior Ranger. I went to Yosemite recently and accidentally brought home two sticks. I know I’m not supposed to take things from the park, so I am sending them back. Please put them in nature. Thank you, Evie.”
After a year of hanging on the wall in the park’s office, the letter was posted on Reddit by Ranger Matt Holly, who described it as his favorite of the many he receives from park visitors.
Holly, a public information clerk, told ABC News Thursday, “We get letters all the time. This is one we thought was exceptionally cute.”
There was no additional information available about Evie.
After obtaining permission from her parents, the park rangers were eager to share Evie’s letter with the public as an example of respect for the park’s rules. “Just to show that, yeah, they’re two sticks,” he said. “But in the grand scheme of things, the fact that she recognized it and took the initiative to send the letter, it’s wonderful and special.”
The park receives nearly four million visitors every year, and if every visitor were to take something, such as a pine cone or a stick, as a souvenir, it would eventually be detrimental to the park, Holly said.
The Reddit post later received close to 2,000 comments, and the ranger responded that he had sent Evie an extra Junior Ranger patch along with a letter that told her how the rangers displayed her letter in their offices to show others how great their Junior Rangers, like Evie, are.
Matt recently spoke to Evie’s parents and decided to let Evie decide where she wants the sticks returned: “I asked, ‘Is there a particular spot you would like me to place them? I would like to take some different photos in some different locations.”
“You can write back, and let me know what you think is best.’”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Camille Verdier, Steve Visser and Margot Haddad, CNN
Jeanne Sahadi, CNN
Samantha Murphy Kelly, CNN
Kevin Liptak, CNN