Painted Rocks: Harmless or a Problem?
Ranger Dave with Anacortes Community Forest Lands wrote a letter to those that frequent the trails and parks of Anacortes. He said that they have been simply overwhelmed by rocks that families paint and then leave for others to find them.
Leave No Trace (LNT) is a set of rules designed to keep nature the way it is. Painted rocks placed near trails can look like trash to those not playing along with a seemingly harmless game. The paint itself is a big concern. What chemicals are these rocks bringing into the natural spaces that we love to hike in?
There are many things us hikers can do to limit the visible impacts of our enjoyment. Some in the community of hiking don't want to see even rock cairns or marking trails with flags.
So are these painted rocks becoming a problem? Ranger Dave thinks so and I might agree to a certain extent. He writes that they used to see a couple a month and then found hundreds this past winter. Who else is going to pick these up?
In Ranger Dave's letter he states that local media and schools have helped promote this as a great family activity. Facebook Groups have popped up in communities like Anacortes where the County has an over 6,000 member group called Skagit County Rocks. 6,000 members! Thats a lot of rocks.
My main concern is that they will (or already have) find their way into our State's many Wilderness Areas. These are areas that our visitations are already overbearing to the meadows and lakes.