DEEP temporarily bans alcohol at Gardner Lake State Park in Salem

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SALEM – Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) has temporarily banned the possession and consumption of alcohol at Gardner Lake State Park in Salem to improve management of that park and address public safety issues. The ban will go into effect on Saturday.

DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee said,

“I have exercised my authority to declare a 90-day ban on alcohol at Gardner Lake State Park because large numbers of people consuming large volumes of alcohol there is not a combination conducive to public safety and enjoyment of our state’s natural resources. The ban I have issued means no alcohol at Gardner Lake State Park and State Environmental Conservation (EnCon) Police officers from this agency will enforce this ban. We also appreciate the offer of local law enforcement to support this new policy.”

Gardner Lake State Park in a popular park in Salem with a beach and swimming area used by many Connecticut residents and visitors as well as a nearby state boat launch.

EnCon Police and DEEP State Parks staff have seen an increase in crowds and number of incidents over the past few summers. They say these conditions create disruption for other park visitors and their enjoyment, as well as for DEEP staff as they manage the park on busy summer days.

Members of the state legislative delegation in the Salem area, as well as the First Selectman of Salem and other local leaders, had written Commissioner Klee asking for a temporary ban on alcohol at the park.

Commissioner Klee said,

“Given the changing use and recent issues at the park, the time has come for us to take stronger action at Gardner Lake State Park. The vast majority of visitors to our parks enjoy themselves while following the rules and exhibiting good behavior.  Unfortunately, situations do arise – like that at Gardner Lake State Park– where people engage in behavior that negatively affects the experience of others.”

Alcohol bans are now in place at 22 of Connecticut’s 142 state parks and forests.