By mid-day yesterday many of the signs that were vandalized at Devil’s Lake State Park had been cleaned or removed. Other than the missing sign on the north shore entrance road (which was taken to be cleaned), and some hard-to-remove red paint on the historic gateway pillars, you’d hardly know the park had been vandalized at all. Credit to the park staff for moving so quickly on this one.
According to a report from the folks at WISC News 3, Assistant superintendent Jim Carter said, “the most extensive damage was done to the main north shore entrance sign, which will cost $5,000 to $8,000 to replace. Other objects that were spray painted were cleaned off with a power washer.”
Anyone with information about the vandalism is asked to call Sauk County Crime Stoppers at 888-847-7285.
Of course the reaction of park users was fast and furious on the web and social media, where hundreds of people commented on our Facebook Page, The Fans of Devil’s Lake Facebook, as well as Reddit and other forums. Most of the comments expressed anger, sadness or dismay at the vandals, others lamented what they see is a general decline in care of the park, lack of staff or visible law-enforcement recently. Some used the occasion to rail about politics as they do, and many volunteered to help out where they can. (Thank you! Click here to volunteer!) Certainly there are a lot of concerns and conversations to be had in the future. That said, It’s very clear that Devil’s Lake State Park park is loved by millions all across the country. I’m reminded of this quote from John Muir,
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.”
In the end, however they chose to express it, yesterday, a lot of folks said in unison, “This is important. Don’t mess with our parks.” Something to think about.
*** And of course, just a reminder that this blog and my crazy thoughts are my own and don’t in anyway represent the opinions of the Wisconsin DNR or any other group, organization or book club.