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  1. #1

    Default Alcohol consumption and prohibiitions

    I have seen a few of the free or low cost hiker hostels affected by rambunctious, disorderly behavior involving alcohol use, some close to all hikers. Connecticut has strict regulations at many parks against the consumption of alcohol. I can see cause for enforcement for disorderly behavior, but not for responsible beer drinking, etc.. I was talking to a former campground worker at Macedonia brook near Kent who talked about a lot of evictions of drinkers at Macedonia, Kent Falls and other parks. That is very disturbing if you have responsible drinking; so you have the ugly specter of some park workers lurking and creeping around looking to catch drinkers and then have the other authorities evict them from the parks. This is Napoleonic law; judging and convicting people without real probable cause. What do you think?


  2. #2

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    We have a big forest service car campground in the mountains of TN called Indian Boundary Lake and it has clearly posted signs "No Alcohol". Of course many campers nurse their red solo cups full of beer/beverages while in camp and no one seems to mind, although as you say abuse results in evictions or worse.

    What do I think? Well, many WB members seem to be sticklers for the law when it comes to stealth camping or the Baxter rules or using a bear canister when it's required or a dozen other things and if a park has strict rules against the consumption of alcohol then I imagine these members would be just as vocal and vehement in agreement with these no alcohol rules.

  3. #3
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    Truthfully my experience drinking while camping is that as long as you are not a problem, no one cares. I've had nice conversations with rangers all while sipping a cold one.

    When you pay for a camping spot in a public campground, I think it is reasonable to expect that you can do all the legal things you can do at home, as long as you are not disturbing others.

    When staying at private campgrounds and hostels I think you should always respect the owners wishes in this regards.
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  4. #4

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    The problem is many drinkers tend not to give a crap when they are roaring drunk. Thus a private establishment that prefers not to deal with the results put the rules in place. I have known and met many folks that are normal folks when not drinking but get mean and rowdy when drunk. Good luck trying to get them to clean up the mess they made.

  5. #5

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    I'm guessing there are just "no alcohol" areas in the busy day use areas. Such as around a popular swimming hole or lake. Off in the campground, that's a bit more of a gray area. Just don't call attention to yourself.
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  6. #6

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    You never know how any given person will react to alcohol. Some just mellow out and fall asleep, some get mean, some get loud, some have a whole lot of fun without regard for others, some turn into sloppy Joe "Kiss Me" Namath when they drink, etc. People aren't even always a good judge of how they behave themselves when they drink.

    The truly responsible drinkers are capable of foregoing alcohol for a weekend, without it affecting their ability to enjoy themselves. That's the definition of responsible when a facility states no alcohol.

    I don't consider it remotely Napoleonic to ban alcohol based on past problems, noise, violence and all that crap. I spent quite a few nights on the trail, wondering when and if I might get to sleep while some idiot was enjoying himself while having "baby's first beer." The park hires personnel to deal with conservation issues, to teach, to provide guidance, to rescue, to do whatever else they do, the employees shouldn't have to double as bouncers.

  7. #7

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    I like a good brew as much as the next guy, but I'm more about quality than quantity. I have no interest in drinking the cheap stuff even if that's all there is. If you can't go a few weeks without having a drink, I think there is a problem that is being avoided. It shouldn't be hard to obey the rules; especially when it comes to staying overnight somewhere. Irresponsible behavior has shut the doors permanently at several hostels and trail angel homes, so I say respect the rules so the rest are more likely to remain open for the rest of us. You don't have to agree with them, just obey them or stay elsewhere. You can always stop in town at a bar/tavern for a drink if you must have one, or even "pay" for a private hotel room.

    Even where I live, there is a nearby regional park campground I often go to just to sleep outdoors occasionally without having to drive somewhere far. No alcohol allowed due to numerous past problems. Even with that, I see cops sometimes called in to remove some people who didn't obey the rules and weren't even trying to hide the fact. And the rest of us trying to sleep were kept awake late by them until the cops showed up. If its a choice between allowing drinking and putting up with people who are irresponsible with it, or banning it in public places, I'm fine with banning it; which is often the case now anyway. I can always drink at home.

  8. #8

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    I would agree with most of the points on vigorous enforcement when people are disorderly and obnoxious, but I know few other state campgrounds than those CT bans alcohol at that do this in the Northeast, NY, MA, VT, NH, for some reason CT decided to institute bans and have been doing so for over 30 years.


  9. #9
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    If the sign says "no alcohol", it means no alcohol. It doesn't mean it's ok to drink as long as you're a happy drunk. No wonder places close down.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by greenmtnboy View Post
    I would agree with most of the points on vigorous enforcement when people are disorderly and obnoxious, but I know few other state campgrounds than those CT bans alcohol at that do this in the Northeast, NY, MA, VT, NH, for some reason CT decided to institute bans and have been doing so for over 30 years.
    A lot of laws aren't enforced particularly vigorously. But, they have to have the laws on the books, so when someone is obnoxious and disorderly, there's an easier crime/fine to hit them with. Easier as in less expensive to prosecute, less harmful as far as causing a criminal record.

    Chances are, they won't notice you if you don't disturb anyone else. In my experience, drunk people just aren't very good at determining what disturbs other people. I've been guilty of this myself. Just friends playing cards and laughing, next thing you know the neighbor is knocking on the door, oops, sorry, will keep it down, and ten minutes later the volume has crept right back up without us noticing. Drunk people are tend to selfish when drunk or... addicted, which is another whole ball of wax.

    Edit: WB rules state that we can't advocate breaking the law. So, just don't drink when it's illegal to do so.
    Last edited by Puddlefish; 08-11-2018 at 07:52.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenmtnboy View Post
    I would agree with most of the points on vigorous enforcement when people are disorderly and obnoxious, but I know few other state campgrounds than those CT bans alcohol at that do this in the Northeast, NY, MA, VT, NH, for some reason CT decided to institute bans and have been doing so for over 30 years.
    I believe a tent or camper is considered a temporary private domicile, so there are limits on what activities can be regulated within them. Although alcohol may be 'banned' in the state parks if you are in your private space and not a public area it could be that authorities would have difficulty actually pursuing a caae.
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenmtnboy View Post
    .... Connecticut has strict regulations at many parks against the consumption of alcohol. I can see cause for enforcement for disorderly behavior, but not for responsible beer drinking, etc.. I was talking to a former campground worker at Macedonia brook near Kent who talked about a lot of evictions of drinkers at Macedonia, Kent Falls and other parks. That is very disturbing if you have responsible drinking; so you have the ugly specter of some park workers lurking and creeping around looking to catch drinkers and then have the other authorities evict them from the parks. This is Napoleonic law; judging and convicting people without real probable cause. What do you think?

    If you are drinking in a park that bans alcohol then that is not responsible drinking it is irresponsible drinking in my view.
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  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by imscotty View Post
    I believe a tent or camper is considered a temporary private domicile, so there are limits on what activities can be regulated within them. Although alcohol may be 'banned' in the state parks if you are in your private space and not a public area it could be that authorities would have difficulty actually pursuing a case.
    I have seen CT campgrounds especially Housatonic Meadows where the noise, music and overcrowding on sites are problems on weekends. In many cases some rules don't get reported and then enforced. You could have a couple having sex, and if the noise levels exceeded a certain level, get reported with state workers coming in for an inspection.

    They have gone overboard on the drinking issue where other states do not have blanket bans with state workers lurking around trying to get campers in trouble for having a beer or two. Personally I have never been drunk. Someone who had a couple beers and was quiet at a campground was followed by a state trooper the next day trying to issue a DWI based solely on a state worker's report of smelling alcohol. You may have campers checking in who drink nothing on the premises getting reported. On one hand you have responsible alcohol use, a beer or two and then those who drink the hard stuff with unpredictable consequences. A reasonable compromise could be made such as many other states have settled on.


  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by TexasBob View Post
    If you are drinking in a park that bans alcohol then that is not responsible drinking it is irresponsible drinking in my view.
    Bingo...…..

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    Quote Originally Posted by TexasBob View Post
    If you are drinking in a park that bans alcohol then that is not responsible drinking it is irresponsible drinking in my view.
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  16. #16

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    Okay, I went and used google. What a concept. Here's a story which gives some background.

    http://www.courant.com/politics/hc-p...803-story.html

    Apparently, only 22 state parks out of 142 out right ban alcohol. Also as I suspected, the 22 parks which ban drinking are mostly popular water locations where there is boating and swimming. Activities which don't mix well with drinking.
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  17. #17

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    I saw that article too; many of the parks with bans are heavy use areas, like Kent Falls and Sherwood Island; but those are not campgrounds; if you have complaints from other campers and those involved in recreation, the problem gets dealt with. Hammonasset State Park is a very heavy use area and campground, why no ban there? http://www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?...av_GID=1650%20 People are reluctant to make complaints for various reasons, but should when there is a real problem. I'm surprised the state workers are willing to do the dirty work of going around to find drinkers.


  18. #18

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    I despise, tattle-tail campground workers. Sounds like using good judgement is being replaced by blanket policy and regulation.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Night Train View Post
    I despise, tattle-tail campground workers. Sounds like using good judgement is being replaced by blanket policy and regulation.
    Blanket policies and regulations are usually in place because of a lack of good judgement. If you don't like the rules of whatever campground/hostel/hotel/motel, don't stay there.

  20. #20

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    If the campground rules are no alcohol and the camper is drinking alcohol, the camper is already breaking the rules. Whether or not the camper is responsible or not is a crapshoot. You might think you are a great driver but if you are 10 miles over the limit you're gonna get a ticket.

    At state parks, an out of control party is a bit more problematic for law enforcement. It's a more out of the way location, they probably have less backup, the state police may be needed, plus you have a problem of finding drivers for evicted drunk campers. There's people trying to sleep etc. There's that whole alcohol lowers your inhibitions thing.

    Personally I look elsewhere if the campground has a no alcohol policy.

    Also do note what ImScotty wrote because sometimes the no alcohol policy is for the more general areas of the park but alcohol is permitted at your campsite. Read the campground rules and the park rules. Can't say that is true for CT or not.
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