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Discussion in 'Maryland' started by critter, Sep 5, 2012.
We often camp in the MD State Parks and have been visited a couple times by rangers. Usually it is so that they can give a bear warning or just general information but I get the feeling that they are trying to see if any alcohol is at the site. We may have a drink or two right before quiet time and before the rangers make their last round, by then we are letting the fire die down and have the outside lights off.
Sounds to me like a "Zero Tolerance" policy towards alcohol in MD sp's has taken effect. On the flip side, you can be sure that the problem boozer's will raise heck when the LOL's in the next site are sipping their evening wines and they can't get slogged.....
Leaving an open container out in plain site isn't the smartest thing to do under the circumstances.
When we camp in a large group we often raise a ruckus. Water ballon fights, squirt gun fights, flag capture....and so on. But we are not drinking. And when we do drink it is later at night and quietly. Personally I can live with out the drink, but do enjoy a relaxing drink next to the fire.
"No alcohol" usually means no consumption of alcohol.
You can not consume alcohol while driving, but you can have it in a closed/never-opened container in your vehicle while driving.
If I had closed/never-opened alcohol of any kind in my cooler, I would decline to open it. In fact, I would decline to open my cooler whether I had alcohol in it or not.
Remember he is a civil servant and civil servant means they will have their job no matter how uncivil they get
Give up on the plastic glasses people! That's exactly what they look for now. I saw, in a small hardware store, a string of patios lights...and yes, they were red cups with bulbs in them!!
Based on other threads about drinking on here, non see through coffee cups seems to be a popular choice. DH learned VERY quickly NOT to have his beer in a can, in the chair can holder, with his back to the road. I came out to sit while he was building the fire and FREAKED out! I do NOT want to get banished from this little ACOE park, so I snatched up his beer, ran inside the PuP and got his coffee cup and poured & topped off his "coffee". Then I explained the rules to him, as they were.
Gotta admit though, the really OLD couple on the hill got in a fight over which was drunker, and LOUDLY. Once the ranger left, they fought over whom called the cops on whom!! One more ranger visit and he "advised" heavily that they just go to bed. Said he couldn't let them leave drunk, so he'd have them put in the drunk tank for the night. After that...lots of laughter over it, then it simmered down. Was damn funny to hear it, though.
He can look in my cooler anytime he wants....as long as he has a warrant in hand.
My view as well. I always thought that it was a tool to allow them to throw out rowdy people. I disagree with that as well. If you want to be able to throw someone out for being rowdy, then make the law to allow that. I've seem plenty of SOBER rowdy people.
If I decide to have a drink while I'm camping in a MD state park, I'll have a drink. If I'm busted for it, I'll pay the fine. I'll complain about getting busted, but I know that I'm breaking the law by having that drink, so can't really complain too much.
There's a big difference between having a drink or two and getting drunk. The latter has no place in a public campground, but as long as someone isn't obnoxious or bothersome, what difference does it make if someone wants a cocktail. It's not a case of "having to drink" but choosing to. Often we don't have a drink at home, but we love a drink after a long day of hiking or being outdoors. We're quiet and discrete, and you'd never know we were having a drink unless your barged over.
The ranger was completely out of bounds asking to look into your cooler. Next time, tell him to come back with a warrant.
FWIW, we don't keep our liquor in the cooler anyway.
As others have noted, those solo cups are a dead giveaway anyway. We often use our coffee cups and set the percolator out on the table with it. We've never even had a glance at us.
Ohio State parks have a NO ALCAHOL POLICY as well. first offense and you get arrested, no questions asked, My uncle used to take beer in his 5th. wheeler and then use one of those foam can holders that looked like a can of coca cola to hide is can of brew.
He would only drink a couple around the camp fire every evening and too my knowledge he never got caught. Two beers will knock me off my balance and limit my ability to function, so I don't even taste it. Besides being diabetic, the amount of sugar in alcohol is close to 100%. I don't need that. (alcohol turns into sugar once in the blood stream)
This topic is one of my pet peeves. First of all, I object to local government entities making laws against alcohol when it is a legal commodity in the U.S.
Second, I object to the idea of allowing local law enforcement to decide whether to enforce a law or not. This, "the law is just there so they can take action if you get obnoxious" rationale is dangerous and inappropriate IMO. Law enforcement means law enforcement. If the law isn't supposed to always be enforced, don't have it in the first place.
Third, whenever this discussion comes up I notice an undertone in some posts that equates drinking with getting drunk. Sure, some people sometimes over indulge but many others like me and a number of other posters here enjoy having a drink or two and that's it. I like an once of scotch with my cigar. The combination makes both taste better IMO. Drinking doesn't automatically mean getting drunk.
Fourth, the usual problem created by people who get drunk is disturbance of the peace. Most parks have a quiet time rule (some have a no loud or obnoxious noise at anytime rule as well) and this is sufficient to deal with the issue. If the problem is noise, deal with them because of the noise, not the alcohol. I've encountered very loud, obnoxious groups of people in campgrounds who were not drinking. Their sobriety did not make the noise acceptable and an anti-alcohol law would not have helped.
Finally, while I understand and accept that a society must have some rules to protect the general well-being of the population, I think those rules should be as minimal and non-invasive as possible. These "No Alcohol" parks rules are inappropriate and unacceptable to me. I'll bring and enjoy my scotch and beer anywhere I wish.* If I'm not bothering anyone else and a park ranger comes poking around my site and asks to look in the cooler, trailer or truck I'll refuse his request and tell him to read the Fourth Amendment. You don't get into my stuff without a warrant and you don't get a warrant without probable cause.
* The one limit to that would be someone's private property. If you don't want me to have a beer in your house when you invite me over I'll respect that.
Technically, alcohol is not a legal commodity in the United States. The 21st Amendment only removes a federal prohibition; the 2nd clause has always reserved the right to states and municipalities to places limits on alcohol.
The "local option" clause raises an interesting point. UT, your state just passed Initiative 502 removing restrictions on certain plant sales and use, but in this case, that plant is not "a legal commodity in the U.S." I imagine there will likely be restrictions against its use in state parks (and it certainly will remain illegal on federal lands). This is a states' rights issue in this case. Will "No Plant" rules be similarly "inappropriate and unacceptable" for state parks?
I totally agree, if we are breaking noise rules that's one thing, but to come into a campsite with no reason other than people are drinking out of red Solo cups is B.S.
BTW - we put our adult beverages in a travel mug, sometimes with the string and the label of a tea bag hanging out
Travelhoveler, we've disagreed on this before. You're entitled to your approach as I am to mine. I notice that you did not address most of my points, however.
As for Washington's rules, the pertinent part of the law is:
So, it's "prohibited" except in your campsite, the park's picnic area and reserved group areas, in some cases with some technicalities attached. I've openly consumed alcoholic beverages in Washington State Parks, in some cases while talking with rangers, and have never been questioned about it.
As for the new marijuana law, I think it is inappropriate for you to make an argument based on what you "imagine" the state will do. The decision-making process is currently under way and plans are for it to be completed by December.* The philosophy seems to be to keep it as open and available as possible. I suspect that since alcohol use in parks is OK with restrictions per the WAC reference above, marijuana will be as well. But, to answer your question, my attitude certainly would be that "No plants" rules would be just as inappropriate and unacceptable for state parks as "no alcohol" rules. I can also assure you that even before the state made it legal (as all states and the USA will eventually do) marijuana was being used in our state parks and on federal lands in the state. I suspect that that situation will continue.
* The irony is that the state is having long-established growers and sellers testify before the Liquor Control Board to get input as they develop the rules and procedures.
Get the Government out of our lives.
Actually, UT, I wasn't disagreeing with you regarding alcohol rules in your state parks. I merely pointed out that the 21st Amendment that repealed prohibition only removed the federal prohibition; it specifically reserved to localities the right to limit alcohol within their jurisdictions.
I didn't see anything else in your posts to comment on.
As a former ranger in a national park in your state, I am well aware that plants were used on federal lands; that was a pretty common occurrence. I wasn't obsessed over the regulations unless someone was driving, but other rangers were very much so, to the point they would wander around campgrounds hoping to make busts. Off duty, I was once challenged on the beach at night at Klaloch in Olympic by one of that park's rangers trying to see if we were using plants; we were actually only looking at photoluminescent phylloplankton.
Can that stuff be distilled or brewed into an adult beverage?
don't think so
Here in PA not only is the "alcoholic beverages prohibited" sign up in the State Parks and always has been, but to purchase wine or liquor in the first place you have to go to a "state" owned store. Then after you go out of your way to find the state store, its about 12 miles for me, and pay the inflated pricing which is from the taxes and no competition, I can't legally drink it sitting around the campfire on a site I paid $30 a night for? Its a wonderful system.
Its not unlike until a few years ago pets were prohibited in PA state park campgrounds. In 2009 they made the old section of Laurel Hill State Park the pet section. This section was unpopular and had below average occupancy for years. Now it is the most popular and most used section.