Don't leave your troll dolls at Troll Falls, Alberta Parks urges
'We think about it in the context of leave no trace,' says local volunteer group
Alberta Parks wants people to stop hiding troll dolls at Troll Falls.
The popular short hike in Kananaskis is known for its population of small plastic toys with wild hair hidden along the trail. But now there are signs up in the area from Alberta Parks telling people not to leave the dolls behind and to remove any trolls they do find.
The signs put up by Alberta Parks are kid-friendly.
"Troll Falls is not a troll's natural habitat," they explain, showing images of smiling trolls saying, "It's cold out" and "We'd like to stay with you."
The signs explain that non-natural items found on the trail are considered litter, can harm animals and can lead to injuries for people who might climb onto unsafe places to hide them.
"A couple of years ago people just started putting dolls all over the forest. The more we pick them up, the more they keep showing up," Derek Ryder, co-chair of Friends of Kananaskis Country, told the Calgary Eyeopener on Wednesday.
Ryder said hiding trolls at the falls is actually so popular there are entire Facebook groups dedicated to it.
"That's how popular it is, really. It's kind of strange," he said.
He once volunteered with Alberta Parks for one of their cleanups at the falls, and said the group picked up nearly five dozen dolls.
"They're on the ground, underneath stuff, underneath bridges, and the really dangerous part was folks were climbing up the rocks around where the falls are — which are really, really not stable — and hiding them in the rocks, which is extremely unsafe in the summer, never mind the winter when it's all ice."
Although he knows this is done by hikers in good fun, Ryder said it's simply not good for the environment.
"We think about it in the context of leave no trace. This is a park. This is a protected area. The falls sit in a provincial recreation area which has the same rules and regulations as a provincial park," Ryder said.
"You're looking at a whole lot of unnatural stuff. If some of those things do have an aroma, maybe the person who put it there had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, then suddenly that does actually become a wildlife attractant."
With files from the Calgary Eyeopener