Who Vandalized The Park?

Who Vandalized The Park?

Last evening various locations on the north shore entrance of Devil’s Lake State Park were vandalized.  Police have been notified of course, but if you think you may have seen anything, please contact the park at 608-356-8301.

Sadly, vandalism is a common problem at Wisconsin’s most popular state park and usually it’s volunteers that take on the task of cleaning it up.  This time, it will take a bit more effort than a bit of soap and “elbow grease” to repair.

There is more damage than we’ve shown here including to the historic pillars on the entrance road, but the rest is NSFW….

Update: August 11th, Follow Up.


More Damage


More Damage



North Shore Speed Limit Sign


  1. Joseph salemi

    Sickening. But even this cannot destroy the beauty and serenity of this forever iconic park. Terrorism does not deter us.
    If you see something, say something to authorities.

    Were there any reports of vilolence in the area? This seems frantic and not at all true to message. Cowards and know nothings.

    This seems to be a car load of kids and nothing in the words to be afraid of other than the paint.

    Is there ever a two minute period when no one is around on the north road? Someone had to see something.

      1. Joe salemi

        Certainly is terrorism in one of its many forms. I did not mean to say that it was “just” a bunch of kids.
        This rising trend in society is meant to shock and scare people. To call it anything less misses its intent and slows our required awareness.

        1. Cindy

          I agree with Joe. Its not terrorism as in ISIS. But by choosing the words they chose, such as, “You will die.” There intent was to not only vandalise but to terrorize, scare, frighten people not to go to the park. Thats so sad that people destroy things that belong to the community. I hope they are caught and punished !!!
          * To prrove the point, read on, you will see people change their plans of going to this park.

          1. Joseph salemi

            Yes Cindy and along with your points there is value in distinguishing vandalism, graffiti, and tagging from this terroristic act in that vandalism is simple anonymous destruction of property with no message; graffiti has at least a warped artful distinction and “tagging” which is intended to be identified with the taggers signature.
            Vandalism has no message attached.

            This damage was done with an intended message not included in these lesser acts of vandalism or graffiti. This act was intended to use a threat of violence or warning against the millions of community who use this beautiful park.
            And that intent existed even if these were adolescents, or if done by drunks or if satanists out on a lark because the intent was not simple destruction of property as indicated by the language used and the imagery generated.
            And I do not know, but this is why law enforcement will take a special look at this even if it becomes obvious to investigators that there is no merit to the threats posed.
            The intent here was far different from the simple vandalism of spray paint.

            And it appears to me that intent is further supported by that fact of the white backrounds painted behind the read paint messages and how well the wording fits on each sign. They showed up with two kinds of paint and then they either stood there working out the wording or they knew what each sign would say before they got there.

        2. Keep State Parks Clean!

          Agreed. The word terrorism has so many facets to its definition. This act featured in the article fits into several facets of definition of terrorism.

          There is no universal agreement on the definition of terrorism.[1][2] Various legal systems and government agencies use different definitions. Moreover, governments have been reluctant to formulate an agreed upon and legally binding definition. These difficulties arise from the fact that the term is politically and emotionally charged.[3] To avoid this kind of confusion, the most common definition of terrorism is used, which includes the following:[4]

          It is the use of violence or threat of violence in order to purport a political, religious, or ideological change.
          It can only be committed by non-state actors or undercover personnel serving on the behalf of their respective governments.
          It reaches more than the immediate target victims and is also directed at targets consisting of a larger spectrum of society.
          It is a group that believes that an attack against civilians is an acceptable consequence because it is in order to achieve its greater goal of achieving societal change.
          The following criteria of violence or threat of violence fall outside of the definition of terrorism.” Wiki

          1. Joseph salemi

            Thank you and to distinguish between vandalism, graffiti, and tagging. This act made threats and I hope law enforcement sees it for what it is, nothing more or less.

      1. Joseph salemi

        Get a grip along with me terry. You refer to this as if it is graffiti. This sort of thing is intended to scare and shock people. These are not taggers, or halloweeners as your comment supposes. The intent in this is clear although it is cowardly and not actual threats. It does have intent.

        So when you see this kind of thing, say something.

        When these criminals are caught, they should not be treated as children. And any witnesses should not give them a pass as you seem to imply.

          1. Joseph salemi

            Nope, not afraid of weak cowards. None of us should be deterred from enjoying the park.
            There is nothing graffiti like about this.

      2. Scotty

        Agreed Terry – And while I do not condone the destructive nature of the acts. I will give them one thing, it was creative and they stuck with a theme. I did chuckle a bit… but what really made me laugh were the over the top comments on this forum. This is vandalism, the same types of vandalism that have been going on for decades.

        1. Joseph salemi

          Kyle and Scotty want us to know that it was just an lol lark and to go easy on the lads because things haven’t changed in decades.

          Just another day with the spray can. Darn kids, good boys at heart but hey whatryagonnado, u know how kids are.

          1. stock

            $1000 fine each, 2 years probabtion, and 30 days of community service to ruin the rest of their summer…..

            then we call it “even” and a point made.

      3. Lindy

        NO actually it is a form of Terrorism because you are ruining something that is not yours. yes some kids do that but that is not what Jesus would do and no I am not getting religious on you so you better get your facts right and don’t tell some one to get a grip.

        1. Joseph Salemi

          Hi Lindy, yes I was reminded of this incident the other day so it is interesting to see your recent comments. I have done some quick research on line and have found no further information concerning arrests of the perpetrators of these acts. My take on this is that law enforcement took this as a simple serious act but without the intention to incite terror.
          If this is true, then the next level of investigation may not have been applied and therefore the whole concept of “if you see something, say something” has no value. This leaves the people of Wisconsin unprotected in a certain sense as opportunities to prevent future acts are missed.
          As such no act of vandalism will ever be recognized by law enforcement for the intent requisite of terrorism no matter the content or language of the message ascribed.
          Law enforcement has gotten a grip and insightful people should be outraged.

        2. Joseph Salemi

          Hi Lindy, yes I was reminded of this incident the other day so it is interesting to see your recent comments. I have done some quick research on line and have found no further information concerning arrests of the perpetrators of these acts. My take on this is that law enforcement took this as a simple serious act but without the intention to incite terror.
          If this is true, then the next level of investigation may not have been applied and therefore the whole concept of “if you see something, say something” has no value. This leaves the people of Wisconsin unprotected in a certain sense as opportunities to prevent future acts are missed.
          As such, no act of vandalism will ever be recognized by law enforcement for the intent requisite for terrorism.

    1. Shelly Mitchell

      Please do not let this incident change your mind. This is a beautiful park, a great place to make amazing family memories. It is highly likely that teenagers had nothing better to do than put graffiti on signs. Yes it is graphic in nature but given a few days and the truth will surface as to who did the vandalizing!

    2. James

      The park is still an absolutely beautiful place. Don’t let a couple kids with spray paint ruin a family outing. This will get cleaned up. Great times will still be had by many at the park.

    3. Cheryl

      You’re going to not go to the park because some dumb kids vandalized the signs? Maybe instead this could be a good time to show how awful vandalism can be and how much it will cost to clean up.

    4. Tyler Brescia

      You need to make your reservations one year in advance, at this time next year the graffiti will most likely be gone.

  2. Ritva Semb

    Wonderful, now stupid kids have earned the label “terrorist”. The conservation Corp. can restore the signs, but what good is that when fools sell their kids freedoms down the river for the misdemeanors of others?

    1. Brad Schlag

      Ritva: The article and park didn’t call them terrorists, just some guy commenting. Reply to his post with your retort like Dave and Jeff did.

  3. Tess Douglas

    This is plain sick!
    Whomever did these horrific vandalism, these statements of hatred have some serious major mental issues. I cannot understand anyone with a sound mind can do such a horrible things to a place of beauty, a state treasure, a place where people can not only learn but to create good memories, to enjoy nature as nature can be enjoyed.
    I would hope that if anyone knows anything about this acts of vandalism, ungratefulness, disregard and disrespect for many peoples enjoyments, and the deliberate crime to cause harm both possibly physical and emotional would speak out and turn them in.

  4. John Brinkmann

    As a yearly visitor for over 50 years to the park I’m more inclined to bellieve it’s some idiot(s) from my home home state of IL…Those responsible sadly enough got what they were looking for—a reaction to their shocking and horrible vandalism…Cowards sneaking around at night tagging signs at DLSP will not deter those of us who cherish the place…See what you can do to donate toward the cleanup—I’m stopping by the park station to ask what I can do to help—at minimum I’m donating a check to The Friends of Devils Lake State Park…and to those who defaced the hallowed grounds, be warned, karma is a b

  5. E smith

    Barbara pierce, font let this deter you from visiting one of the most beautiful, peaceful parks in the state. This act does not reflect the majority of our residents. Would be a shame if some punk kids (99.99℅ that’s exactly what it was) could change your mind. Don’t give them that power. It will be fixed soon, I’m sure. We are very prideful of our lake and would love for you to come.
    I do agree this is quite lame. Damn kids…

  6. Nolan Solberger

    They should put up trail cameras after they clean everything up. Because most likely the people that did the vandalism would be back to do it again.

  7. Laurie Duraney

    Terrorism, no. Vandalism and desecreation, yes. Spirit Lake is sacred to the Ho-Chunk people and to spray paint ugly words in this area is a desecration. As the person aboe said, karma is a b….

  8. Nicki

    I don’t live in this town, but a friend shared it on Facebook. No need to fear, anyone afraid of Satanic terrorists, these are definitely not them. A Satanist (a true, practicing Satanist) has a deep respect for nature and also for property which they do not own. A Satanic terrorist is an oxymoron. These are a few kids that probably need help with all of the spray paint fumes that they have inhaled.

  9. Julie Keller

    Stupid, bored, punk kids just adopting the trending bad behavior of the day. Don’t encourage them by calling them terrorists.

  10. Blake

    It’s a park named Devil’s lake — they are just playing on that. Terrorism? LOL – it’s horrible, stupid and ignorant what occurred, but terrorism? This is a park named after the Devil – the comments above are amusing to say the least. If you are scared, given no reports of violence, you are just weak minded, seriously.

  11. Joseph salemi

    It is terrorism without qualification and without Blake’s approval who would let them the “kids” off with a “now clean it up boys”.
    Note that many here agree that the nature of this was terroristic.

    And if you want to keep up the personal attacks, I am always available with 3-4 hours notice. I’ll bring my weak mind.

    Calling it terrorism doesn’t raise the status of the acts. But calling it terrorism because of the nature of words and imagery and intent would bring a special kind of attention from law enforcement and hopefully the courts when they are found. Communities should be concerned and vigilant when the line is crossed in this way because if bad things happen the community would not be able to say; “oh we had no warning, he seemed like a good kid, a little troubled, but a good boy.”

    The only picture posted in the article that showed vandalism-only was the 85MPH sign which was done in black paint while the others were in white and red. This would seem to be either a whole other incident or a ride along just joining in the fun. But the red and white appears pre planned for which sign would recieve which words and was aimed at striking fear or shock in the minds of the community.

    Fear and shock are very different from graffiti or “just some kid with a paint can.”

    I’d like to thank Derrick for them forum. Thank you sir.

  12. Rob

    This wasn’t terrorism. It was some horror-themed vandalism at a park with a perfect name for horror-movie themed vandalism. They’re saying a $5000-$8000 in damages, but another article I read showed volunteers scrubbing the signs clean, so I’m guessing that the cleanup costs will actually be lower. Kinda wondering why they don’t use a pressure washer, because that’d take fresh paint off road signs and stones lickety split.

    There was no political motivation; there isn’t an ideology. If we’re calling this terrorism, we can just add “terrorism” to the list of words that have next to no meaning because they’ve been overly watered down. 9/11 was terrorism. The armed standoff this winter in Oregon was terrorism. The Oklahoma City Bombing was terrorism. The shooting at The Pulse in Orlando was terrorism. The attacks in France with bombs, guns, and a truck were terrorism. Burning crosses on people’s lawns and throwing bricks through their windows with death threats is terrorism. Spray painting some signs to thematically mimic a horror movie is vandalism. Maybe even enough damage to make it felony destruction of property or such. But, not terrorism.

    1. Author

      The signs that could be pressure washed were. However the large wooden front sign can’t be pressure washed. In addition the pressure washer didn’t completely clean the pillars either. Paint is still sticking to the grout, etc..

    2. Joseph salemi

      Keep State Parks Clean! posted above describes it well with Wiki definitions.

      no ideology? Head in sand. “u will die, suffer with me” is not ideology in Robs mind. An upside down cross is not an ideology?
      But terrorism does not need an ideology. It needs intent to strike fear in people. This act has intent.

      Certainly any serious approach to finding these criminals would involve an investigation of arrests under similar circumstances where terrific language and acts were used. Why? Because of the serious nature of this.

      Sorry folks this is not just paint and adolescent pranks although the absence of actual violence does not negate the intent to incite fear and therein lies the terrorism watered down only by the missing physical violence.

      The threat of violence is terrorism.

      It is not known if they were armed, don’t know if they were “kids” don’t know what would have happened if confronted, don’t know their backrounds, their past. All we know is what they said and how they said it.

      It is important to distinguish these acts as terrorism for the purpose of awareness, law enforcement purposes and for justice in sentencing. If you don’t want to call this terrorism, efforts to find these criminals will be business as usual and the sentence will be a small fine and community service.

      Certainly Rob doesn’t want to give them a pass as mere pranksters with paint having a little fun with the word “Devil” at our favorite park.

      1. Brad Schlag

        Joseph, if you want to think of this a terrorism, go ahead, put please stop re-posting about it. No one else agrees or cares. If you’re concerned, go talk to law enforcement or volunteer your time protecting the park. But I think they’d rather you just volunteered to clean up trash and cut back vegetation.

        1. Joseph salemi

          Yet another poster who agrees that this is terrorism posted on November 2. I prefer that you go back and read it and that you add to the basis of discussion here. Nothing is reposted except to reiterate that this was not taken as a serious terroristic act by law enforrcement. And now I would add that if the citizenry would see this for what it is that they could put pressure on law enforcement to treat it as such. Otherwise nothing will be done as we can see.
          This wasnt just a bunch of good boys out on a lark with too much to drink. Sorry to wake you from your slumber.

  13. Get off of my lawn

    Use the wrong word and the semantic overlords will strike you down.

    Very cool all those who are volunteering to help. This park is my back yard and a seriously appreciated respite for the wickedly overworked.

    I’m pissed at these dumb shits with paint.
    May your car break down driving back to whatever hole you drive out of only to be forced to solicit the good will of others to take your smelly baby shit souls back to your parents to finish the uphill task of socializing your dumb
    shit selves.

  14. Willy donut

    How dare you whoever tainted my most favorite place I’ve been over and over for many years with your disgusting filth. If it’s the devil you preach then beware because the carma cloud has been filled with horrible trouble and its coming for you. To add to your trouble the voodoo doll will also be poked over and over and over again until you feel the every bit of regret raining down on you for vandalizing such a blessed place. Good luck with your life! muahahahahahahaahaaaaaaa!

  15. Jody

    Young punk kids with no morals!!! They need to get a life and get a job…then they wouldn’t have time to be so stupid!!! Totally uncalled for, I hope they get caught and get punished as they should be and not just a damn slap on the had!!

  16. Burton Lindquist

    Atleast it wasn’t the rocks they were marking up…. some of us have had enough of a battle trying to remove graffiti from the quartzite rocks. This sucks as well of course. Dang pesky kids….

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