A Pennsylvania man was ordered to remove nearly 40 gnome houses from a state park after park management had a change of heart.
Steve Hoke, 65, was given permission in December 2015 to place 38 gnome houses around Little Buffalo State Park in the forest near Newport, Pennsylvania, according to PennLive.
“It became a total part of me and my wife and kind of what we do during the day,” Hoke told WHTM. “So it’s kind of what retirement was all about for me.”
Hoke says the gnome houses have become an attraction for children. He says his goal was to “get kids out of their houses and away from their electronics.”
Park management gave Hoke permission to put the small houses up initially, but decided later that wildlife habitats could be affected by their presence.
“It’s not overtly harmful but those little trails [to the houses] and the compaction and people leave stuff behind and all that kind of builds up and it does affect the quality of the habitat for wildlife,” park manager Jason Baker said.
Hoke says he’s seen no litter since starting his project. People leave trinkets behind at the homes, which Hoke says is “another special part.”
An eviction notice was left near one of Hoke’s gnome homes, telling him that “All gnomes must leave Tiny Village by Feb. 29, 2016.”
The houses were removed from the park and, according to PennLive, they are currently sitting in Hoke’s driveway.
Steve Hoke says that he’s received hundreds of letters of support and has seen hundreds of pictures of his houses on social media since beginning the project. He has been contacted by other parks and a library in his home town of Newport, Pennsylvania, volunteering spaces to house some of the gnomes.