A Love Locks Hazard: Grand Canyon Issued a Warning About Love Locks 

Stop in the name of love! Recently, Grand Canyon issued a warning about love locks, as not only are they considered litter, but they are also posing a serious threat to the wildlife of the area. 
Loves locks in Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon Issued a Warning About Love Locks    

Grand Canyon issued a warning about love locks

Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona uploaded a new post on their Facebook page which reads:

“Love is strong, but our bolt cutters are stronger.”

In the post shared on social media last week, the management of the park expressed their concerns about love locks. Love locks are padlocks, often bearing a couple’s initials or names, and are hung from a metal fence, with the key thrown into a nearby water body. Love locks are a symbol of commitment and love, with many believing them to be lucky for their relationship. Once the love lock is secured on the mental fence the key is thrown away, symbolizing unbroken love, or locking love forever. 

Why Grand Canyon Issued a Warning About Love Locks?

Love locks impact on the condors of Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon issued a warning about love locks as these unbroken symbols of love and their keys are posing serious problems. The locks are considered graffiti and littering, while their keys pose a serious threat to wildlife. The California condor, a critically endangered bird is attracted to shiny and shimmery things like a moth to flame. The keys thrown in the water attract the condors, and they end up eating them. Most of them required surgery to remove the keys from their system. 

“Condors are curious animals and much like a small child will investigate strange things they come across with their mouths,” reads the social media post. “Condors are not meant to digest metal and many times cannot pass these objects. If a condor ingests too many objects like this, it could die.”

Impact of love locks on wildlife

In light of the rising concerns for the condors, the Grand Canyon issued a warning about love locks, asking visitors to abstain from hanging them and throwing away the key. The Grand Canyon National Park Service rangers soured the South Rim, bolt cutters in hand to rid the place of love locks. By last Friday, the rangers had cleansed the place of dozens of love locks. A spokesman for Grand Canyon National Park, Jeff Stebbins stated that every two years the rangers remove love locks that accumulate on the fences. According to Jeff, the locks are:

“Effectively vandalizing and littering and ultimately damaging public lands for both people and wildlife.”

History of Love Locks 

No one knows of the true origins of love locks; however, it was once believed that they originated about 100 years ago in a Servian World War I tale. The tale explored the love of a young schoolteacher for a soldier who was recently deployed to the front. However, according to Ceri Houlbrook, a professor of folklore at the University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom, there is no saying if the tradition of love locks originated from that particular story. Professor Ceri Houlbrook has researched as well as written a book on the history of love locks.

She states that the first evidence she found of the love locks custom was in Pécs, Hungary, in the 1980s. However, at that time the custom wasn’t associated with romance but with a punk movement. In Italy however, during the same time, padlocks were placed on the bridge by the members of the military as a form of celebration. 

The catalyst that turned that custom into a romantic gesture was the novelist, Federico Moccia. His book “I Want You” features a scene in which the two love interests attach a padlock on the Ponte Vecchio Bridge in Florence. After reading the scene, fans of the book wishing to imitate the practice went to the bridge, and from there the custom caught on. Professor Houlbrook stated:

“Whenever you get something a bit odd in a public space, a tourist space, tourists start to just imitate doing it. 

“So, they started doing it and documenting it on social media, and it just spread globally from there.”

Love Locks Infestation Around the World 

Love locks in Paris

Even though Grand Canyon issued a warning about love locks and is taking actions to minimize their impacts, there are several other places in the world, heavily impacted by them, with no action being taken to remove them. At Paris’ Pont des Arts, the weight of the love locks was so heavy that it was damaging the structural integrity of the bridge. In the year 2015, the city of Paris took action and ended up removing 700,000 padlocks, the total weight of which came out to be that of 20 elephants. After the removal of the locks, glass partitions were put up on the bridge in order to prevent visitors from adding locks. 

Love locks on Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge was also littered with padlocks, that were removed by the workers to prevent damage to the bridge. A bridge in Malborne was beginning to wear under the weight of the 20,000 love locks that clung to it, fortunately, the officials removed them to prevent further damage. 

However, in many areas around the world, the custom persists. The fact that they are cheap and easy to write on, and make one feel like they are a part of something big, something unique, the trend of love locks shows no signs of fading away. According to Professor Houlbrook:

“There’s something satisfying about kind of adding your own to a big assemblage of something — to see it grow with your contribution and hundreds of others’ contributions. 

“You feel like you’re leaving your mark.”

Grand Canyon Issued a Warning About Love Locks – Conclusion

When the Grand Canyon issued a warning about love locks, it caught many of those who were planning a trip to the Canyon off-guard. Those planning a trip to the Grand Canyon to solidify their unyielding love by hanging a love lock on the fence as they glimpse the every lasting expense of the mudstone were left in a puddle of tears after the warning. 

Top 10 Vacation Spots in the USA: The Ultimate USA Bucket List 

Hanging a love lock on the fence isn’t the only way to profess your undying love, a tour around the Land of Liberty will more efficiently prove your love to your partner. Read our article to find out about the top 10 vacation spots in the USA that you can tour with the love of your life.

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