Principle 4: Leave What You Find

Gnome homes are bad
Park resources, especially living plants like mosses and lichens, should not be used for arts and crafts projects like "fairy houses" or "gnome homes."

NPS/Charlie Jacobi

Leave Plants, Animals, and Other Natural and Cultural Objects in Their Place
Removing these resources:

  • threatens species survival,
  • degrades the natural landscape,
  • denies others the chance to discover and enjoy them, and
  • forever destroys the archeological context and takes the story out of history.

There are a few exceptions to this. The following items may be gathered by hand for personal use or consumption, in accordance with these restrictions:

  • Fruits and berries (excluding apples) - one dry half gallon per person per day
  • Unshelled nuts - one half gallon per person per day
  • Apples - five dry gallons per person per day
  • Removing fruits, nuts, and berries shall not damage the remainder of the plant.
  • Collecting unoccupied seashells is permitted provided that shells are not collected from historic and prehistoric sites or shell middens.
  • Dead wood on the ground may be collected for use as fuel for campfires in campgrounds and designated picnic areas, provided that wood is not collected from within the campgrounds, except from park-provided wood piles, and chainsaws are not used to gather wood.

Keep the Lakes Natural
Introduction of non-native or non-endemic fish and non-native plants may severely endanger lake ecosystems.

  • Do not introduce fish, including fish bait, to any water body.
  • Check your boat before you float. Clean your propeller and boat of all plant materials before you arrive at the launch and as you leave.

Leave the Rocks for the Next Glacier
Rock cairns guide hikers safely along trails in areas where there are no trees. Adding to or building cairns or other rock objects:

  • misleads hikers,
  • detracts from the natural landscape, and
  • causes soil erosion and plant loss.
Rock Art is Bad
Do not add to or build cairns or other rock objects. The safety of hikers may depend on it.

NPS/Charlie Jacobi


Let it be; let it be.

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 177
Bar Harbor, ME 04609


(207) 288-3338
General information and questions. The phone is answered weekdays 8 am - 4:30 pm.

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