March 25, 2013
By Ari Cetron
Some people have been prowling the hidden nooks and crannies of Evans Creek Preserve and playing a little game of “hide the lawn gnome.”
The activity has at least one member of the Planning Commission wondering how the practice got started.
“Who is the gnome master?” asked Brad Connor.
Conner and his 2-year-old son, Brody, were out in the park in late August or early September when they first noticed the little gnome, similar to the kind seen in the ads for Travelocity.
The gnome was tucked away a few feet off the trail. When the pair investigated, they found a small tag had been attached on the bottom congratulating them for finding the gnome and encouraging them to hide it themselves.
Connor said he’s out in the park regularly and is fairly certain he found the gnome for the first time fairly soon after it started.
The pair did so enthusiastically, and Connor said the gnome helped make him want to make more use of the park.
“It encouraged us to walk the whole course,” he said.
Then, in the fall, the gnome went missing.
Whether someone took it, or it was covered in falling leaves, or it was simply using some sort of gnomish invisibility trick, Connor couldn’t tell.
“There’s all these little, unique nooks and crannies and gnome homes,” Connor said.
So, Connor replaced the missing gnome with one he went out and purchased. Then after he placed it, he discovered another gnome, different from the original.
Yes, now there are at least two gnomes in Evans Creek Preserve, and there may be more.
“It’s just fun, and it adds a bit of character to the park,” Connor said. “It brings the community together.
Parks Director Jessi Bon said the city doesn’t know how it got started, either.
“It just kind of happened organically,” Bon said.
She did ask that people hiding the gnome try to keep it within five feet of the trail. Evans Creek Preserve has some ecologically sensitive areas, and its best to keep them free of humans tromping around.
“Just enjoy the park and be respectful.”
Photo credit: Ashley Connor