PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia officials who manage FDR Park are on high alert after multiple canoes and fishing equipment were destroyed.
The vandalism happened on several occasions after overnight drinking and partying at boathouses, police say.
There are hundreds of families who enjoy the free fishing and boating days at the park provided by Discovery Pathways.
The nonprofit empowers youth and adults through environmental education.
One city resident, Amber Lingham, and her children were at Edgewood Lake in FDR Park enjoying the free opportunity to get out of the house.
"It's just been a great opportunity, and we came to have fun," said Lingham from South Philadelphia.
However, Executive Director Adam Forbes said a group of teenagers may ruin the fun for everyone.
"It started with a break-in on the other side where a lot of our boats were taken out. I got a call at 6 a.m. Sunday morning about a bunch of our boats on the lake," said Forbes.
Forbes said underage drinking and vandalism at the park have always been a problem, but it's escalated in recent weeks.
He said people also threw porta potties in the water, destroyed kayaks, stole more than 40 fishing rods, and vandalized the boathouse.
"They smashed the doors completely off and stole paint and poured it over everything, and dumped 10 gallons of paint into the lake which is not great for the fish and everything else," said Forbes.
The damage left behind a mess for crews to clean up while also impacting the environment, the programs, and the people who make them possible.
"It's frustrating for me," said Forbes. "It's tough to see our teens who work really hard here...to see all our stuff trashed, so they were really sad."
"They take their time and their energy to come and support and give the community something," said Lingham about the teens working at the park.
"It's a great way to get away from what's going on in the city right now. So, it's very sad," she added.
To prevent the overnight vandalism, the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation spokesperson said there will be after-hours park rangers and police patrols, secured gates, and security cameras.
"This is more than just kids being kids," said Forbes. "This is really serious damage to historic buildings and community supplies."
"Please stop," said Lingham. "What this does is it allows me and my kids to go and do opportunities, to have fun, and the fact that it's free, it's a great thing. So please stop. We need this resource."
Forbes encourages parkgoers to say something if they see something to find those responsible.
They're also collecting donations of fishing rods to continue the free program.