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Painted-Rock Trend Prompts a Reminder from State and National Parks

Nikki Brown/Caldwell Rocks
Nikki Brown/Caldwell Rocks

Last summer it was Pokemon Go. This summer it’s a new trend that’s getting people outside and on a treasure-hunt-like mission.

So…what’s with all the painted rocks, and why is Idaho not loving them?  

The painted rock movement is pretty simple.  The idea is to take a plain ole rock and decorate it, hide it in the landscape, and when someone finds that little unexpected surprise from a stranger, his or her day will become better.  It’s all about spreading kindness, and perhaps starting a new personal collection of rocks that’s a little out of the ordinary.

The problem is, people are leaving the painted rocks in parks sometimes, and that’s a violation of rules.  State and National parks are asking all of us to help keep parks natural, so plants and animals stay surrounded by things that don’t come from art supply stores.  Leaving painted rocks in public places could also be considered littering, and that’s another way the good intentions could turn sour.

Rocks are natural, but painted ones are not.  And since the decorated rocks don’t blend in with the scenery at state parks, they’re best left in flower beds in the front yard, or on the desk of a grouchy co-worker when he or she needs a little pick-me-up and the energy drinks aren’t working.

Boise, Caldwell, and several other Treasure Valley places have rock-painting Facebook group that encourage us to post a picture when we find one around town.  We can join the nationwide art rock movement by painting a rock and leaving it somewhere for someone else to find, or we can re-hide the rocks we’ve already discovered.

Just don’t be puttin’ them down in a park!

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