Golf Ball Mystery Solved at Joshua Tree

Man pays tribute to fallen duffers

By Olsen Ebright
|  Friday, Sep 18, 2009  |  Updated 10:25 AM PDT
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Golf Ball Mystery Solved at Joshua Tree

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A Joshua tree forest is shown in Pipes Canyon Wilderness Preserve.

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When we first heard that park rangers were finding thousands of golf balls in Joshua Tree National Park, our instincts told us someone was too cheap to pay driving range fees.

Turns out, that's not the case.

Meet Douglas Jones of La Quinta. He has a soft spot in his heart for the golfers of yore.

Jones has spent years throwing golf balls into the park out of his car window. It's his way of honoring fallen golfers, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"Sometime around 2007, our rangers began discovering large quantities of golf balls in some turnout areas of the park," park spokesman Joe Zarki told the Times. "We were wondering what was going on here. There were also some tennis balls involved."

On Aug. 17, park officials finally found Jones. He confessed immediately.

"He said he did it because he wanted to honor all the golfers who had died," Zarki told the Los Angeles Times.

Golf balls weren't the only things Jones was leaving behind. Park rangers said they also found cans of fruit and vegetables and some park literature, the Times reported.

The food, Zarki said, was for stranded hikers. The park literature was his way of leaving his mark, Zarki said.

Zarki told the Times the park has spent about $9,000 on cleanup.

Jones was cited for littering, feeding wildlife and abandoning property, the newspaper reported. He faces jail time and a possible ban from the park.

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