Pokemon Play at Balboa Park Damages Rose Garden: Visitors

Some Balboa Park visitors are upset because they say Pokemon Go players are leaving behind litter and damaging the park’s Inez Grant Memorial Rose Garden.

The wildly popular cellphone game has drawn an uptick of visitors to San Diego’s iconic park. But not everyone is happy about that, saying the players are trampling through the award-winning roses.

One visitor emailed NBC 7, saying he’s seen empty beer cans, cigarette butts and damaged roses after late-night Pokemon play.

“Pokemon Go players literally stay till 3 or even 4 a.m. to play this game,” Paul Punla said in an email.

Players flock to Balboa Park because it’s a popular spot and has numerous “Pokestops,” or stops where you can catch the game’s monsters.

So is it a good or bad thing for the park? Officials appear to enjoy the sudden increase in people, even after hours. In posts on Twitter and Facebook, the park has said it has broadened its diversity of visitors.

“Love it or not, it’s bringing new ways to visit the park to a wide spectrum of users,” a post to Balboa Park’s Facebook page read on July 12.

A spokeswoman for the City of San Diego said Tuesday that park maintenance crews hadn't noticed an increase in littering specifically tied to Pokemon play.

She said the summers months normally seen an influx in park littering because of the larger crowds.

Volunteers, however, spotted park guests loitering around the rose bushes.

Guests are being encouraged to obey park signs, stay on the sidewalk and avoid walking through the gardens.

Later, in a tweet on Tuesday afternoon, Balboa Park asked followers to be respecful of "the people and land around you."

In comments on NBC 7's Facebook page, several park visitors said they hadn't seen any damage to rose bushes and that Pokemon players were acting respectful of park property.

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