INDIANA (Courierpress.com) - At least one major park in the area is speaking out against the placement of painted rocks, a trendy scavenger hunt-type activity.
Painting and placing rocks isn't allowed in national parks, and it's recently become an issue at George Rogers Clark National Historical Park in Vincennes, Indiana.
National Parks have a "leave it as you found it" policy, and painted rocks are not consistent with that, said Joe Herron, chief ranger at the Vincennes park.
“While George Rogers Clark National Historical Park does not have the delicate ecosystem of Yellowstone National Park, we treat these cultural heritage areas with the same respect,” Herron said.
There also are some safety issues at play when the rocks are placed at the bottoms of stone stairways, creating a tripping hazard, Herron said.
Painted rocks have become a problem recently at the Vincennes facility, "and (last) weekend we got kind of slammed with it," Herron said. While painting rocks might be a fun, community-building activity, Herron said national parks aren't the place for them.
"We've had to be a party pooper and go pick them up," Herron said. "It's really the 'leave no trace' concept. I just had folks in from Florida and Maryland. We get people from all over, and this might be their one trip, and if they look at the Vigo statute and there's four or five painted rocks around it, it takes something away."
A Facebook group called "Evansville Rocks!" has about 2,000 members, where area residents show pictures of their treasures and talk about areas where they're being placed and found.
Wesselman Woods in Evansville has started seeing a few painted rocks on its grounds. The facility is still drafting its official policy statement, but is discouraging the placement painted rocks for the same reasons as the National Parks, said Shelby Hall, natural resource, and operations manager.