Girl returns purloined park sticks

Brenna Swift, The Union Democrat

A Yosemite National Park junior ranger has shown the ultimate in environmental stewardship.

About a year ago, the young visitor sent the park's public information office a letter with two small sticks enclosed, proclaiming that they needed to be returned.

"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," the letter said. "Please put them in nature."

The junior ranger's first name is Evie, but the park isn't releasing her last name. Her letter was posted to Yosemite's Facebook page Wednesday.

"The rangers that answer the phone and mail in our public information office receive a lot of letters, but this might be one of the best in recent years," read the photo's caption.

After he received it, park ranger Matt Holly hung the letter up in the public information office with the two sticks attached. He shared a photo of it on his Facebook page, but recently decided it deserved a wider audience.

Having gotten permission from Evie's family, he posted it to the social media site Reddit. The letter became a social media favorite, shared by the U.S. Department of the Interior on its Twitter feed with the designation "Cutest. Story. Ever."

Holly wrote Evie back to tell her he was impressed with her dedication to protecting nature.

"It was kind of touching to all of us," said Holly, who has worked year-round at Yosemite National Park since 2010.

He noted on Reddit that the lessons Evie learned at Yosemite will "far outweigh any environmental impact" from the missing sticks.

He also assured her he will put the sticks in nature. He's awaiting word on where she'd like them to rest and plans to photograph them at their final destination.

The Union Democrat
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