Visitors Attempt to Furnish National Park, Leaving Park Service Furious

by Amy Myers

“This land IS your land (but it’s not your living room),” the National Park Service of the Santa Monica Mountains wrote on Friday.

For all of us Outsiders, it’s common sense to leave our favorite parks and recreational areas as they were before we arrived. Not only is it a matter of respect for nature, but it also helps preserve the area for wildlife and future visitors to enjoy. However, this group of visitors decided that the Santa Monica Mountains needed some exterior redesigning.

Last Friday, the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area posted several photos of their staff members removing a six-piece sofa set from the park. The furniture overlooked the Pacific Ocean at Deer Creek. Needless to say, the park service staff was not pleased that they had to spend their day dragging furniture. According to the park’s statement, “It took some human muscle, hand carts, and two trucks for five federal employees to haul the furniture from National Park Service property.”

While it may seem harmless to stow a few recliners on park territory, it can actually have detrimental effects to the ecosystem. The couch itself most likely killed any foliage beneath it. And with the scent of humans wreaking from every fiber, most animals probably elected to stay far away from the area in fear of potential predators. This could disrupt feeding and mating behaviors.

National Park Rangers Report Litter at Site Filled ‘Two Garbage Bags’

Perhaps worse than the unnecessary refurbishing was the amount of trash also at the location. The National Park rangers reported that the cigarette butts, beer cans and beer bottles surrounding the sofa filled “two garbage bags” and further angered the employees.

Besides being an eyesore, the litter poses an immediate threat to wildlife, especially scavengers, searching for food scraps. Broken glass, shards of aluminum and extinguished cigarettes are sure to harm any unsuspecting wildlife at the national park. Not to mention, the West Coast still faces impending wildfires, so a still-burning cigarette butt is more than enough to ignite another tragedy.

This is what truly enraged the National Park employees–and us Outsiders. Thankfully, many of the National Park’s visitors were just as astounded and outraged as the staff.

In the comments of the post, one wrote, “Thanks and gratitude to those who cleared this mess. Thank you for trying to keep our planet clean and safe. What a disgrace some humans are.”

Another gave a lesson on “Leave No Trace,” a set of principles that help preserve parklands and recreational areas.

“Nature 101: go and enjoy. Whatever you bring in you bring out. ‘Pack it in, Pack it out.'”

“Please consider your actions and don’t litter! This was a waste of resources and time,” park wrote in their post. They signed it as “park rangers at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area who spent their day hauling away litter.”