For all the die-hard romantics traveling to the desert, the Grand Canyon wants you to stop leaving love locks on its fencing viewpoints.
In a Facebook post last week, Grand Canyon officials warned that the practice of leaving “love locks” — where a couple leaves a padlock (usually engraved or penned with initials or romantic messages) chained to fences or bridges and tosses the key, are considered acts of littering and vandalism.
“Love is strong, but it is not as strong as our bolt cutters,” the official account of the Grand Canyon National Park posted. “People think putting a lock on fencing at viewpoints is a great way to show love for another person. It’s not.”
Wildlife officials are troubled that California condors, critically endangered birds with wingspans of nearly 10 feet, might ingest the padlock keys or other metallic objects that people toss into the canyon, potentially leading to fatalities, the New York Times reported.
“Condors love shiny things. They will spot a coin, a wrapper, or a shiny piece of metal, like a key from a padlock that has been tossed into the canyon, and eat it,” the post said. “Condors are not meant to digest metal and many times cannot pass these objects.”
While it may be a romantic gesture, the practice of leaving love locks on monuments can cause harm to the local environment and wildlife. Justin Sullivan | Getty Images.
The act of affirming one’s love under lock and key at a national monument isn’t unique to the Grand Canyon. In 2015, Paris officially banned the practice of putting love locks on its iconic Pont des Arts that overlooks the Eiffel Tower after a part of the bridge collapsed due to the added weight of the locks in 2014.