Nature

Painted Rocks Are Rocking the Boat in Texas State Parks

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Have you heard of the “Kindness Rocks” project? The idea is to paint pictures, art, or inspirational sayings on rocks and leave them where someone can unexpectedly find them – enhancing their day. The project has been sweeping the nation this summer as many children have taken on the task of creating art projects on rocks and leaving them for others to find.

Leave No Trace

painted rocks

Photo: Facebook/Texas Parks and Wildlife

This trend has also found its way into Texas’ state parks and, unfortunately, it is not allowed. Texas Parks and Wildlife posted a photo of some of the painted rocks that have been found in the parks this summer along with a reminder to visitors to be sure to “Leave No Trace” when visiting our parks.

“Leave No Trace,” simply means to make sure that you leave the area the way that you found it – disposing of trash and not removing any natural resources, rocks, or plants from the state park. To do so is against the law.

Social Media Backlash

State Park trail

Photo: Flickr/Jasperdo

This Facebook post, dissuading people from leaving “Kindness Rocks” in state parks caused a bit of a stir on the Texas Parks and Wildlife social media. Texas Parks and Wildlife responded:

“Texas State Parks have been established to protect special places. Leaving modern painted rocks in the view of visitors to these beautiful and special parts of our state changes the view, changes the experience for the visitors, and makes it a little harder for some people to enjoy their stay in nature. While others may enjoy the painted rocks, we’d ask that you leave them in other places outside the park, so that we can enjoy both painted rocks and the special places we call State Parks.

People may also disturb or damage plants and wildlife while hiding rocks off the trail. When painted rocks are hidden in grassy areas, they can become a mowing hazard and injure someone or damage property. Following Leave No Trace principles during your visit helps the park remain beautiful and reduces the possibility of any human/animal conflicts.”

Arts and Craft Opportunities at the Parks

Jr. Ranger

Photo: Facebook/Texas Parks and Wildlife

Luckily, Texas Parks and Wildlife sponsor many arts and crafts opportunities at state parks all over the state. So, if your artistic family members are hoping to create some art in the parks this summer, there are more acceptable ways to do that without disturbing nature. Go to the Texas Parks and Wildlife’s website at www.tpwd.texas.gov to learn more.