Heineman Keeps Alcohol Ban at McConaughy, Approves for Other Parks

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Gov. Dave Heineman Wednesday announced that he is signing Nebraska Game and Parks rules and regulations that will lift the current ban of alcohol at state parks, with the ban remaining in effect at Lake McConaughy in Ogallala and wildlife management areas across the state.

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission intends to have the regulation become effective on January 1, 2011.

“Personal responsibility is crucial to maintaining a safe environment for patrons of our parks, and as Governor, it is a critical component to my decision making,” Gov. Heineman said. “But I am approving these rules and regulations with the clear understanding that if there are repeated and significant violations, the Director of the Game and Parks Commission fully intends to use his authority to immediately rescind that individual state park’s authorization for alcohol usage. Plain and simple, if park guests act irresponsibly, then patrons of that park will lose their privilege to consume alcohol in a responsible manner.”

Over the last several months, Gov. Heineman heard from citizens across the state about this issue. There was clear opposition to lifting the alcohol ban at Lake McConaughy.

Rex Amack, Director of the Game and Parks Commission said, “Governor Heineman has provided outstanding leadership on the complex issue of lifting the ban on the consumption of alcohol in state parks. He asked every citizen for their opinion through his radio programs, interviews and news articles. Sensing strong concerns at Lake McConaughy, he held a special meeting at the lake. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is in full support of his decision.”

Under the new regulations, the Game and Parks Commission may prohibit consumption of alcohol in any park area or state wildlife management area with appropriate signage. Consumption of alcohol is prohibited on all roadways, designated swimming areas and parking areas. Consumption of alcohol will be prohibited between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Containers holding more than one gallon of alcohol will be prohibited.