March 1, 2013 at 1:48 PM ET
The role of Yosemite Junior Ranger comes with many honors and responsibilities. Few have taken those responsibilities as seriously as Junior Ranger Evie. After a trip to the park, this young nature lover discovered that she’d accidentally taken two small sticks home with her.
Taking sticks, she remembered too late, is against park rules.
Wanting to do the right thing, Evie mailed the sticks back along with a letter that read,
“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”
That letter has been hanging in park rangers’ office for about a year now, delighting all who’ve seen it. “Recently, I was thinking we’ve had this letter up for awhile. It’s time to return these sticks to nature,” Yosemite Park Ranger, Matt Holly, told TODAY.com.
Holly offered to let Evie decide exactly where in nature those sticks should go. “I made the offer, saying I’m willing to go around and take pictures of the sticks in various places around the park and let Evie decide where in the park she wants them,” Holly said. He’s now waiting to hear back from Evie and her family about his offer.
Holly also asked the little ranger’s family for permission to share a picture of the letter and they agreed. Under the username bestmattever, he posted the picture, which has since gone viral, on Reddit. People have largely delighted in the young girl’s good nature and have also had fun joking about the case of the missing sticks. “I bet you guys were relieved when you realized where those 2 sticks went,” joked Reddit user SamWilber. Via Reddit, Holly quipped back, “We had search parties looking everywhere! We all can sleep soundly now.”
“Two sticks in the grand scheme of things — nature’s not going to miss them," Holly said. "But the fact that she cared and had those thoughts shows she cares about her impact on the environment and shows she’s got a bright future ahead of her.”
For now, the letter and the sticks are still hanging in the park rangers’ office, but Holly told TODAY.com that there is talk of moving the letter to a visitor center at some point, perhaps the family-focused Nature Center at Happy Isles.