Grand Canyon National Park is fed up with visitors leaving locks behind on the park's fences.

"Love is strong but it is not as strong as our bolt cutters," the park recently posted on Facebook.

What Are Love Locks?

The specific locks being called out by Grand Canyon National Park are known as "love locks." According to lovelocksonline.com, the padlocks are a "symbol of love and commitment."

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The website says the locks are believed to be inspired by an ancient custom in China "where lovers lock a padlock on a chain or gate and then throw away the key symbolically locklng their love forever."

Brides.com maintains a list of the most popular places for love locks around the world. Popular sites listed for the U.S. can be found in Pittsburgh; Augusta, Georgia; Napa, California and Loveland, Colorado.

Grand Canyon National Park is among the locations growing in popularity with those who believe in leaving behind padlocks.

"People think putting a lock on fencing at viewpoints is a great way to show love for another person," Grand Canyon National Park shared on Facebook. "It's not. Leaving pad locks [sic] like this is littering and a form of graffiti."

Why Some Say You Shouldn't Leave Love Locks

The group No Love Locks agrees with the park regarding the locks being a form of vandalism. Their website also points out possible safety issues related to the padlocks.

"The weight of the locks damages bridges and creates the need for repetitive and costly repairs," No Love Locks says.

That was part of what led to the removal of more than 700,000 locks from the Pont des Arts bridge in Paris in 2015.

A CNN story about the removal of the locks compared their weight as being "roughly the same as 20 elephants."

Grand Canyon National Park is also considering the effect the practice has on local wildlife. When part of the lock-leaving process is throwing away the key, that creates potentially harmful situations for curious wildlife.

"Condors love shiny things," the park said in a Facebook post. "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."

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LOOK: Stunning vintage photos capture the beauty of America's national parks

Today these parks are located throughout the country in 25 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The land encompassing them was either purchased or donated, though much of it had been inhabited by native people for thousands of years before the founding of the United States. These areas are protected and revered as educational resources about the natural world, and as spaces for exploration.

Keep scrolling for 50 vintage photos that show the beauty of America's national parks.

Gallery Credit: Alexander Raeburn

 

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