DNR Amends Alcohol Policy in State Forests

ANNAPOLIS (May 28, 2010) – Effective immediately, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is amending its Alcohol Policy on public lands to provide for a limited exception for State Forest campsites. The policy prohibiting alcohol in all Maryland State Parks, including family campgrounds, remains in place.

“We are grateful to the citizens and elected officials of Western Maryland, who gave us the opportunity to hear their voices in person on this matter,” said DNR Secretary John Griffin. “They persuaded us that many of the disruptive and unacceptable behaviors which formed the basis of the alcohol policy in the family-style campgrounds found in State Parks do not apply to the same degree in the more isolated individual campsites found in the remote settings in our state forests.”

DNR will continue to monitor the number and type of incidents and unacceptable behavior associated with the consumption of alcoholic beverages on State Forests. Should those incidents increase to a level which interferes with the ability of State Forest visitors to enjoy a peaceful and safe camping experience, or should the Department’s resource protection objectives be compromised by the irresponsible consumption of alcohol, additional restrictions may be imposed in the future.

The Department will pursue the possibility of new partnerships with county tourism and retail liquor stores to establish a public outreach effort to educate State Forest Visitors about drinking responsibly and employing Leave No Trace (LNT) Ethics, a policy DNR has been promoting in its parks. In order to preserve the beauty and serenity of Maryland's State Forests, visitors are asked to leave their campsites litter-free, refrain from nailing and cutting trees, report vandalism of recreation facilities, pack out all food waste and be considerate of others. A public outreach effort will strive to raise the level of compliance with LNT ethics, in order to improve campsite conditions and the outdoor recreation experience in the State Forests.

“I hope all our visitors who enjoy alcohol while camping in our forests continue to do so responsibly,” said Secretary Griffin.

Source: Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

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