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Thursday, Apr. 24, 2014

State looks to ban booze at Gull Point park beach

Thursday, January 17, 2008

State park officials want to ban alcohol at two popular state-park beaches, saying beer-drinking college students are driving away families.

Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources want to end drinking at Gull Point State Park at West Okoboji Lake and at Lake MacBride State Park near Iowa City.

Kevin Szcodronski, state parks bureau chief, said things have gotten out of control at the parks in recent years, partly because drinking is banned at city and federal parks in those areas.

"They come with cooler after cooler, and they drink and drink," Szcodronski said. "It's getting worse every year.

"We've received many complaints about this," Szcodronski said.

He said underage drinkers and people found to be drunk are ticketed, but the problem continues.

Tyler Climer, 23, Spencer, who regularly boats on Iowa's Great Lakes, opposes a ban.

"It doesn't sound like a good idea," Climer said. "People go out to have fun on the beach, not just to drink pop. Most of the time Gull Point is packed."

Lake MacBridge became a common spot for University of Iowa students after drinking was banned the Coralville Reservoir years ago.

The rule would have to be approved by the Natural Resource Commission after a public hearing process.

Szcodronski said state-park beaches allow beer and low-alcohol wine in cans or plastic bottles, but glass is banned. The department hasn't supported a statewide ban, deciding instead to address the problems at Gull Point and Lake MacBridge separately.

"We don't want to prohibit Grandma and Grandpa sitting there drinking beer and watching the grandkids building sand castles, and we have to tell them to dump the beer," Szcodronski said.



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