Locks of Love Pose Threats in Illinois and Beyond: Wildlife at Risk from Romantic Gestures


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OGLESBY, Illinois – Romance might be in the air this fall, but so is the plea from park officials at Starved Rock and Mattiessen State Park: refrain from attaching “Love Locks” to railings and structures. 

The gestures, intended as an emblem of enduring affection, is causing unintended harm to the environment and wildlife.

This call to action from Illinois officials comes just days after a similar appeal from the Grand Canyon National Park. Love locks, while symbolizing steadfast love for some, are viewed as graffiti and vandalism by park custodians. 

More concerning, discarded keys, often tossed into rivers or canyons, later emerge as lethal threats to local ecosystems.

Padlocks and littering aren’t isolated problems at the Grand Canyon; they’re universal issues. Both parks urge visitors to cherish nature and reconsider how they choose to symbolize their love, imploring everyone to protect wildlife and the environment for future generations.


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