National Park

Inside the Law: National Park Souvenirs

September 14, 2018 - 3:15 am

By Amy E. Feldman, Judge Technology Solutions​

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- What can you take as a keepsake from a national park?

A man who took a small rock from the Australian outback claims he’s been cursed ever since. He says that he’s been struck by the curse of Uluru, which jinxes tourists to pocket rocks, sand, and other items from the Australian landmark, and that he’s making a trip back next month to return it. 

In Australia, taking souvenirs might get you a curse from the spirits. In the U.S., taking items from national parks will get you charges from the authorities. 

Just as you wouldn’t visit the national gallery and take a small picture as a souvenir, removing things from a national park is illegal. 

According to the National Park Service, there have been nearly 20,000 known violations of the rule, including the theft of thousands of protected fossils, Native American pottery and arrowheads, Civil War relics, and countless plants and animals. And while some of those cases are knowing thefts by poachers and artifact collectors, the Park Service believes that it’s more often casual park visitors who think they’re just taking valueless keepsakes that does most of the damage.  

If you want to bring something home, buy a souvenir in the gift shop like a four-leaf clover or a rabbits foot for a lucky reminder of a great trip.