PEI

Parks Canada to dismantle 'inspirational rock tree' on Island beach

Parks Canada is going to dismantle a rock pile build as an "inspirational rock tree" on a beach at P.E.I. National Park to preserve the park's natural landscape.

'When it comes down I'll always know that it was here'

Monty Hennessey says he didn't know creating rock formations on the beach was against national park rules when he started building the rock tree. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

Parks Canada is going to dismantle a rock pile build as an "inspirational rock tree" on a beach at P.E.I. National Park to preserve the park's natural landscape.

Monty Hennessey, who built the pile, said he walks the beach near Ross Lane in the park every day, where he often creates small rock formations in the sand. He said he found a part of the beach that was fairly rocky and secluded and came up with the idea to build something bigger. 

"It turned into a rock tree," Hennessey said. "When I got that done I said, well, you just can't leave it like that, you've got to send a message."

'It turned into a rock tree,' says Hennessey. 'When I got that done I said, well, you just can't leave it like that, you've got to send a message.' (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

Hennessey said he started collecting shells and inscribing them with inspirational quotes and happy faces to decorate the rock pile. He added that since then, people have come to visit the structure and leave messages of their own. 

Parks Canada said its staff have found a number of shells with messages located on beaches and boardwalks and because this is encouraging defacement of natural resources, the pile will be dismantled. 

"I'm basically a little disappointed that they have to remove it," Hennessey said. "Because I thought if it brought a smile to one person's face even, you know, made them feel a little bit better or that somebody cares about them, that it was worth it.

"But I know that Parks Canada and their staff have their rules and their regulations," he added. 

'Intentions are fantastic'

Brad Romaniuk, resource conservation manager for P.E.I. National Park, said while leaving positive messages for others to find is a lovely gesture, it distracts from the natural landscape that Parks Canada is working hard to maintain and restore.

"Visitors are asked to help us maintain that natural landscape, which includes leaving resources as they're found and in their natural state," Romaniuk said. 

Monty Hennessey says he started building the rock pile on a secluded part of the beach last month and decorated it with shells inscribed with inspirational messages for people to find. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

"The intentions are fantastic," he added. "Really the dismantling of the rock tree goes back to that. It goes back to our responsibility for restoring, and ecological integrity, and maintaining the natural areas in their natural states."

He said people visit the national park for a number of reasons, some for solitude or a connection with nature, and sometimes these types of formations distract from those experiences.

"It's really about our job, as much as possible, to maintain a pristine landscape."

'I'll still come to the beach'

Hennessey said he was not aware that creating the rock tree was against park rules and he understands what has to be done to preserve the natural environment. 

"That's why she's coming down, but I'll still come to the beach. I love it," Hennessey said.

'I'll still come to the beach. I love it,' says Hennessey. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

He said he would like to find a new location to build something similar that won't violate any park rules and continue sharing positive messages with people on the Island. 

"When it comes down I'll always know that it was here," he added.

"I just hope that they enjoyed it and got a laugh out of it or a smile on their face and made them think, well life's short, try to live it everyday and be kind to everybody." 

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