Climbers remove graffiti at state property

LEOLA, Wis (WJFW) – The Leola Marsh State Wildlife Area in Adams County has a problem with graffiti.  Saturday October 7th, a group of volunteers gathered 15 miles southeast of Wisconsin Rapids to help clean up what is known as Owens Rock. 


DNR Property Manager Erin Grossman worked with the Wisconsin Climbers Association to organize the stewardship event. Doug Hemken is the President of the Wisconsin Climbers Association (WCA) and has an affinity for removing graffiti.  About working with the climbers, Grossman said, “They know what they’re doing, they’re really good at this, I reached out and Doug got back to me and that started the conversation.” 


Hemken says, “This is a place that we’ve been, trying to work with the DNR for a while.”  He continued, “This rock in the middle of the fields is actually a pretty nice climbing spot.”  Hemken says people have been climbing at Owens Rock in the Leola Marsh for decades.  


The graffiti removal is done by applying a solvent called “Elephant Snot” to the painted surface, it is then brushed with a wire brush, and after the solvent penetrates it is washed off with a pressure washer.  


The DNR provided the pressure washer and water and the WCA provided the solvent and the volunteers.  Hemken says, due to the sheer amount of graffiti, the WCA would be back.  Hemken said, “It’s probably going to take us two or three tries to get this rock clean.”




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