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Public hearings set for proposed alcohol ban at Lake Macbride and Pleasant Creek beaches

DES MOINES – Two public hearings have been scheduled to accept public comment on a proposed rule to ban alcohol on the beaches at Lake Macbride State Park and Pleasant Creek State Recreation Area.

A public hearing will be held starting at 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 26, in the Fourth Floor Conference Room of the Wallace State Office Building, 502 E Ninth St., Des Moines. A public hearing will also be held the same day starting at 4 p.m. at Palisades-Kepler State Park Lodge, 700 Kepler Drive, Mount Vernon. Both oral and written comments can be submitted at either meeting site. At the hearings, persons will be asked to give their names and addresses for the record and to confine their remarks to the subject of the proposed rule amendment.

The definition of “beach” means “that portion of state parks or recreation areas designated for swimming activity including the sand, a 200-foot buffer of land surrounding the sand or a designated area which is fenced in, and the water area contiguous to the beach as marked by swim buoys or swim lines.” However, the alcohol ban would not apply to any rental facilities located within the 200-foot buffer of land surrounding the sand or fenced-in area that have been officially reserved through the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Thus, for example, the proposed amendment would not prevent an individual from reserving a beach-bordering shelter for a large party, such as a reunion or a wedding, and providing alcohol to guests.

DNR citation records and incident reports indicate alcohol consumption at these particular beaches presents legitimate safety risks to the public and DNR personnel. During the summer season, the ratio of park users to park personnel on these beaches has, at times, been estimated at over 500:1. Documented citations and incidents at these beaches that are attributed to alcohol include assaults, public intoxication (to the point of near unconsciousness), littering, interference with official acts, disorderly conduct, and minors in possession.

Any interested person may make written suggestions or comments on the proposed rule amendment on or before July 26, 2016. Such written materials should be directed to Sherry Arntzen, State Parks Bureau, Department of Natural Resources, Wallace State Office Building, 502 East Ninth Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0034. Comments may be sent by fax to (515)725-8201 or by e-mail to Sherry.Arntzen@dnr.iowa.gov. Persons who wish to convey their views orally should contact SherryArntzen at (515) 725-8486.

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