Spike in drug violations at state parks prompts authorities to warn perpetrators

Wardens report a spike in drug violations and illegal use of weapons on state land
Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 4:27 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 8, 2023 at 4:43 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - High Cliff in Calumet County is one of the places where conservation wardens have seen a spike in drug violations. Officials are now sending out a clear message: Troublemakers will be pursued and caught.

Lieutenant Chris Shea is with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Division of Law Enforcement. He says most park visitors are good patrons - but this summer he’s already concerned about a high number of drug arrests: “So far this year, we’ve had violation encounters with meth, cocaine, marijuana, illegal prescription, pills, inhalants. High Cliff is a safe, family-friendly experience and we want to keep it that way.”

He adds that it’s not just hard drug violations, he and his colleagues are also seeing issues with alcohol and even weapons.

“This year’s shenanigans, if you wanna call them that in the parks, are seeming to be starting off full throttle,” said Joshua Wiedenhoeft from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. He oversees parts of Sheboygan, Fond du Lac County and the Kettle Moraine State Forest.

Wiedenhoeft claims that this season, he’s already seen it all.

“Like, we just spoke about somebody who is target-shooting on state land, we responded and heard him shooting roughly 20 to 30 shots of the time,” Wiedenhoeft noted.

He made it clear that all wardens want people to know: Breaking the rules in the parks will cause trouble for those that are responsible.

“It could land you anywhere from a couple hundred dollar fine to sitting in jail until you speak to the judge about what you did,” he explained.

Wardens also want visitors to know that they are constantly out on patrol to keep the parks safe. They are encouraging witnesses to report suspicious sights or illegal behavior immediately.

DNR law enforcement says that criminal activity at popular High Cliff State Park is increasing, and the busy summer season is just beginning.