HONOLULU(KHON2) — Annually more than 3,500 rocks, packages of sand and coral are returned to Hawaii National Parks. Whether tourists accidently keep a rock with them or purposely snag one, taking items from nature off the island is considered bad luck.

Bennadette Duman, goes by Honeygirl, is the Interpretation and Education Specialist for Haleakalā National Park. She said every year they receive thousands of taken items from Haleakalā National Park. Something she said is a big problem.

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“We actively educate park visitors to help them learn that it is both culturally inappropriate and illegal to remove rocks from Haleakalā National Park (36 CFR 2.1) and other National Park sites.”

Honeygirl said it is very inappropriate to take rocks from Hawaii National Parks and with summer tourists booking their trips now is a good time to remind them.

“Many learn that Haleakalā is viewed by Hawaiians as their ancestor, from the smallest rocks to the highest peaks,” said Honeygirl. “The rocks also provide habitat for rare plants and animals. By leaving rocks in place, we respect Hawaiian beliefs and help nature to thrive.”

Courtesy: NPS Photo/Honeygirl Duman

It is illegal to take items from National Parks. Some say doing so opens the door for what might be considered a string of bad luck. 

For the people who may feel guilty about snagging a rock or taking a bottle full of sand, you can return said items by mailing it to the park you took it from. However, that doesn’t make the bad deed go undone because the item will never be in its original spot. 

“Once rocks, sand, and coral is taken, they will never return to its original location because we do not know where it truly came from,” said Honeygirl. “Instead of taking home a valuable part of our natural resources, take a photo instead!”

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Respecting Hawaiian land is key for visitors along with understanding the importance that each rock, grain of sand, or plant play a vital role in keeping the islands so special. 

Correction: An earlier version of this story had inaccurate information about the legality of removing rocks and sand. The story has been corrected.