State regulators may ban alcohol use at Iowa Great Lakes beaches this July 4th weekend. The Natural Resources Commission will take up an emergency ban on alcohol during their meeting Thursday. Iowa Department of Natural Resources director Rich Leopold says Independence Day celebrations at the lakes have gotten out of hand.
“During this weekend it’s become uncontrollable, we can’t get officers in, we can’t get ambulances in,” Leopold says. He says they need to find a way to bring things under control.
“We’ve had fights, we’ve had lots of public nudity, public intoxication, we’ve had alcohol poisoning where we can’t get ambulances in to the area. We need to take care of it just for public safety,” Leopold says.
Leopold says the ban would give them an idea of how they could control the crowds. He says this first dry Fourth of July would be a trial balloon to see what happens and where the crowds would go instead of drinking on the beaches. Leopold says there are many businesses that would welcome them and that might be a better place for them.
Leopold says he does not foresee similar restrictions on alcohol during other holidays, or at other state parks, in the near future. A public hearing on a related proposal affecting future July 4th Holidays at the beaches is being planned for mid-July in the Okoboji area.