(WFSB) - Alcohol is temporarily banned from six recreational areas.
The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection announced the ban on Thursday afternoon.
The impacted areas include:
- Gardner Lake State Park, Salem
- Paugussett State Forest (upper Section)/George Waldo State Park, Southbury
- Wadsworth Falls State Park, Middletown/Middlefield
- Lake Waramaug State Park, New Preston
- Quaddick State Park, Thompson
- Beach Pond Boat Launch, Voluntown, as well as the portion of Pachaug State Forest, within 500 yards inland from the Beach Pond shoreline.
The ban went into effect immediately. It runs until Aug. 25, 2021.
There is outrage over conditions at a local state park.
In recent summers, including last year, DEEP said the locations have experienced increased crowds and alcohol consumption, which led to increased incidents of misconduct, unruly behavior, property damage, trespass, and complaints by other visitors and the surrounding communities.
“We want our parks, forests, boat launches, and waters to be peaceful, family-oriented places where adults and children can feel welcome and safe,” said Mason Trumble, deputy commissioner for environmental conservation. “This measure, combined with continued supervision and education by DEEP staff and officers, will help restore a welcoming and safe atmosphere for all.”
DEEP said a temporary alcohol ban provides its law enforcement officers with an enforceable tool to dissuade inappropriate use of the state outdoor recreation areas and has been an effective tool employed to reduce negative behaviors and make state parks, forests, and boat launches safe and enjoyable for all.
Officer Elise Bouthillier with DEEP said one of the big problems was that most of the parks are in rural areas, and it takes them a little longer to respond when something happens.
“Unfortunately before the alcohol was banned, it was getting to a point where we were responding to a large issue, a large fight, a domestic dispute or something like that, and it was taking us a while to get there and then it was becoming a multi-agency response,” Bouthillier said.
The ban received mixed reviews by visitors.
"It's understandable. People drink sometimes and get out of control," said Clarice Gilbert.
Last year at Gardner State Park in Salem, there were large crowds on the beach. Bouthillier said overcrowding was just one of the issues.
"Fights, rowdiness, assaults, in some cases, boating under the influence, driving under the influence, things of that nature, and really the best and most efficient way to avoid these problems is to stop it before it starts," Bouthillier said.
Violators could be removed from the park and face a $75 fine.