Residents have been leaving brightly painted rocks on Langley trails in an effort to uplift the community, but many have gone missing.
Metro Vancouver staff have been removing the painted rocks from regional parks because bylaw “does not permit anyone to place permanent or temporary items” in those parks, they told the Langley Advance Times.
“Metro Vancouver is aware of the recent trend of painted rocks. While we appreciate the sentiment behind this activity, we kindly ask people to refrain from placing painted rocks or any other material in regional parks to help us keep the natural environment ‘natural,’” said Sarah Lusk, a media spokesperson for Metro Vancouver.
Regional parks include Aldergrove Regional Park, Brae Island Park, Campbell Valley Regional Park, Derby Reach Regional Park and Glen Valley Regional Park.
One Langley resident believes the rocks are more than just a sight for the eyes.
“I walk the trails several time a week and whenever I have seen the painted rocks, they are not just pretty rocks to me, they are the feelings of love and compassion and caring of those who put them there, many of whom are children,” said Art Folden.
Meanwhile, Langley City and Township have both confirmed they have not removed any painted rocks from local parks or trails.
However, Township park staff in some cases have moved rocks found in “grassy mow strips” to avoid damaging the rocks or the mowers.
“The painted rocks are heartwarming gestures of caring and support, and to ensure they remain for all to view and do not get damaged or damage the mowers, we ask that community members place them in areas other than the grassy mow strips,” the Township said in a statement to the Langley Advance Times.
“In these instances, the rocks are relocated to an area just off the mow strip but in the same vicinity,” they added.
Last summer a Langley resident started a Facebook page for a painted rock scavenger hunt that is now followed by hundreds online.
Brittany Wristen, 34, was visiting family in Medicine Hat, Alta. last summer where her sister introduced her to rock hunting. She was so moved by the idea that she brought the hunt back to Langley.
Due to the coronavirus crisis Metro Vancouver staff are not able to provide rock-owners a place to claim their works of art at this time, according to Lusk.