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Nebraska park officials dislike painted rocks trend

(NTV News)

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) The painted rocks craze isn't catching on with parks officials in Nebraska.

Thousands of Nebraska residents have joined Facebook groups in the past six months dedicated to painting and hiding rocks, the Lincoln Journal Star reported . They cover the stones with colorful images or inspiring messages and hide them at parks or outside stores for strangers to find them.

Nebraska Game and Parks Commission officials have asked visitors to refrain from hiding painted rocks in state parks and recreation areas, saying it violates a regulation against disturbing the natural landscape.

State parks administrator Jim Swenson said in a statement that for many visitors, encountering painted rocks "diminishes the land's beauty and the experience of being in nature."

Other state and national parks across the U.S. have asked guests not to hide painted rocks, commission officials said.

Lincoln Parks and Recreation Department rules adopted in 2004 prohibit people from burying geocaches hidden items intended to be found by others using GPS at city parks or from placing them anywhere at Pioneers Park Nature Center, Sunken Gardens or Hamann Rose Garden at Antelope Park.

The same rules apply to painted rocks, said Kat Scholl, spokeswoman for the parks department. She said painted rocks could present a safety hazard for park workers and that they can also interfere with sensitive ecosystems and animals.

It's unclear if people who leave painted rocks at parks can be fined, but parks staff may remove any offending rocks.

"It's just kind of frowned upon," Scholl said

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