State officials have decided to ban alcohol at two state parks after “numerous incidents of unruly behavior by large groups consuming alcohol.”
The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection announced on Friday that alcohol is banned at Nepaug State Forest and Satan's Kingdom Recreation Area, both of which are in New Hartford.
DEEP officials said they “banned the possession and consumption of alcohol” to “address public safety issues at these locations.”
"There's been a number of incidents over the last few years and we've seen an increase in that use and increase in illegal activity and we felt this was the next logical step to ensure public safety," DEEP Bureau Chief of Outdoor Recreation Michael Lambert said.
The ban will take place from Friday to Oct. 26.
"The ban I have issued means no alcohol at Nepaug State Forest as well as Satan's Kingdom. Environmental Conservation Police officers from this agency will vigorously patrol the park to enforce this,” DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee said in a statement on Friday.
The ban comes after Klee said “many of incidents of unruly behavior have been driven by excessive alcohol consumption, resulting in considerable disruption for other forest visitors and their enjoyment of the recreation area.”
“That is not a combination conducive to public safety and enjoyment of our state's natural resources," DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee said in a statement on Friday.
DEEP officials said the use of Satan's Kingdom, which is a “popular recreation area,” “has intensified dramatically in the past few years.”
“We want our forests to be peaceful, family-oriented places where adults and children can feel safe,” Klee said. “The vast majority of visitors to our parks enjoy themselves while following the rules and exhibiting good behavior. Unfortunately, situations do arise – like that at Nepaug State Forest and Satan’s Kingdom– where people engage in behavior that affects the experience of others.”
Eyewitness News asked why Nepaug State Forest and Satan's Kingdom and not other parks.
"There's a lot of use around the Farmington River and we feel like this is where the incidents have been occurring and this is where we have the public safety concerns," Lambert said.
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