State officials have banned possession and consumption of alcohol at a popular state park in Connecticut starting this weekend.
On Saturday, there will be a temporary ban on alcohol at Gardner Lake State Park in Salem. The ban will last for 90 days as state officials work to "improve management of that park and address public safety issues there," according to Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
“I have exercised my authority to declare a 90-day ban on alcohol at Gardner Lake State Park because large numbers of people consuming large volumes of alcohol there 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 Thursday. “The ban I have issued means no alcohol at Gardner Lake State Park and State Environmental Conservation (EnCon) Police officers from this agency will enforce this ban. We also appreciate the offer of local law enforcement to support this new policy.”
Signs in park clearly state that there is no alcohol allowed on the beach, however, when Eyewitness News visited the beach this week there was evidence of drinking.
The ban comes after EnCon Police and DEEP State Parks staff reported seeing " increased crowds and an increased number of incidents." Following these reports, the Salem first selectman and others wrote to Klee.
“Given the changing use and recent issues at the park, the time has come for us to take stronger action at Gardner Lake State Park,” 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 Gardner Lake State Park– where people engage in behavior that negatively affects the experience of others.”
The latest decision means that alcohol is banned in 22 of the 142 state parks and forests in Connecticut. Alcohol is banned in the following parks:
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