Archive for Monday, May 15, 2006

Alcohol banned at lakes

May 15, 2006

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Wildlife and Parks has banned alcohol - including 3.2 percent malt beverages - from many state fishing lakes, including Douglas and Leavenworth.

Intoxicated drivers, trash, vandalism, fights, rowdy parties that disturb other lake users and lack of law-enforcement manpower are among reasons for the move.

"Drinking at our state fishing lakes has gotten to be a big problem," Wildlife and Parks official James Hulbert said.

Hulbert said that almost every weekend last year at Pottawatomie Lake No. 2, either the state or neighbors had to patch fences run over by vehicles.

"Since we banned alcohol there on Jan. 1," Hulbert said, "we haven't had to fix one fence."

Pit toilets were also constantly vandalized when drinkers tossed cans and bottles into them.

"It should cost $125 to have the pit toilets pumped," Hulbert said, "but one contractor took eleven 33-gallon bags of trash out of a pit and had to charge $450 to cover the extra time spent picking out trash. Ninety percent of it was beer cans and bottles."

Alcohol has also been pinpointed as the cause of many fights at state lakes, prompting families to threaten to abandon the lakes because of the rowdy, sometimes dangerous behavior of drinkers.

In addition to Douglas and Leavenworth SFLs, alcohol possession and use are banned at Rooks, Atchison, Middle Creek, Miami, Pillsburg Crossing WA, both Pottawatomie lakes, Shawnee, Pratt Backwaters, Kingman, Black Kettle, McPherson, Chase, Butler, Cowley, Lyon and Montgomery.

Douglas SFL, located north of Baldwin, is closed to fishing because of dam renovation. However, Leavenworth SFL, near Tonganoxie, is open to fishing.

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