The ban on booze in Maryland state parks and forests is apparently having a sobering effect on tourism.
Barbara Buehl, Allegany County’s director of tourism, said Monday that several groups have canceled their reservations because they can’t drink beer around the campfire. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources said they have not seen a drop in reservations at state parks, only forestry.
The ban went into effect in November. The Maryland DNR said the goal is to make the park experience a safer and more enjoyable one for campers.
Translation: No rowdy, rude people to spoil things.
But the decision has frustrated a lot of folks who think they’re punished for the actions of a few individuals who can’t hold their liquor.
There are some exceptions. Alcohol permits will be issued for group events held at designated pavilions.
Some Maryland lawmakers have asked the agency to suspend the ban and hold a public hearing on the matter.
In the meantime, here’s the alcohol policy that took effect November 1, 2009:
The consumption, or possession of an open container, of an alcoholic beverage is prohibited in all State Park areas, including campgrounds.
Full-service cabins are exempt.
Per State law, motor homes are exempt.
Alcohol will be allowed at designated picnic shelters through the purchase of an alcohol permit available via the standard reservation process.
A $35 fee will be charged for each alcohol permit.
Permits may be issued upon request by the park manager for special events operating under a Use Agreement.
A permit may be revoked for cause by the park manager, their designee or a Natural Resources Police officer.