Acadia Busts Rock Robbers

Rangers in Maine's Acadia National Park tackle thieves who plunder rocks as souvenirs

Acadia National Park is currently dealing with a bizarre criminal element—the rock thief. Apparently, the sea-polished stones and aesthetically pleasing rocks that occur naturally on the trails and seashores of the Maine park are prized by collectors and artists who think nothing of lifting them illegally.

But rangers now say they plan to make rock thieves of all stripes "pay the price," which can include six months in jail and fines up to $5,000. Their crackdown also includes busting up unofficial cairns, which disrupt the random beauty of Acadia's rocks.

The national park's rocks are especially popular for their unique speckled coloration and smoothness, and the problem has grown enough that the local airport has reported problem encounters with overweight luggage filled with stones.

Acadia's rock robbers aren't exactly hardened criminals, though:

“Schoolteachers are really bad about it,” Mr. Weidner said. “So are people from Florida because there aren’t any rocks down there.”

Either that's the weirdest quote I've read all week, or Florida's rock shortage has gone underreported, and now it's driving people to a life of lithic larceny. The Great Recession hurts everyone, people.

—Ted Alvarez

Acadia Cracks Down on Rock Souvenirs (NY Times)

Image Credit: Smiley River