Alcohol banned at six Connecticut state parks for summer

Photo of Nicholas Rondinone
Citing problems with unruly drinkers, the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has put a summertime ban on alcohol consumption at six recreation areas and parks across Connecticut.

Citing problems with unruly drinkers, the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has put a summertime ban on alcohol consumption at six recreation areas and parks across Connecticut.

Cassandra Day / Hearst Connecticut Media

Citing problems with unruly drinkers, the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has put a summertime ban on alcohol consumption at six recreation areas and parks across Connecticut.

The ban goes into effect immediately and continues through Aug. 25, mirroring measures in the past to address illegal behavior, DEEP said Thursday.

The ban is in place at:

 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.

“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, DEEP’s 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 in recent summers, including last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, these parks and recreation areas have seen increased crowds drinking alcohol and with that came a rise in “unruly behavior” from property damage to trespassing. This led to complaints from other visitors to the areas, according to DEEP.

The imposed ban will be enforced by DEEP EnCon police, the department said.

While the alcohol ban largely focuses on state parks, some serious issues have occurred at the Beach Pond Boat Launch, according to DEEP.

During the summer of 2020, DEEP said there were two DUI arrests, eight boating violations, several terminated voyages and at least 47 people evicted from private property. Also at the boat launch, authorities investigated an incident where tires were slashed.

DEEP could not immediately provide statistics on Thursday for incidents at the other areas where alcohol was banned.

Eric Hammerling, executive director of the CT Forest and Park Association, said it was a prudent move for the small number of parks that have had issues.

“DEEP didn’t decide to just ban all alcohol at state parks and forest they did it in a targeted way in areas they were having some issues … bad behavior,” he said. And it comes down to safety for all the people who are visiting the parks, he added.

“There are plenty of busy parks that are very well attended that don’t have bans on alcohol, these are just areas they’ve had specific problems,” Hammerling said.