Two Utah Public Beaches Ban Booze

By Britni de la Cretaz 06/02/17

County commissioners approved the ban after a 16-month investigation.

A man and woman toasting with colorful cocktails on a beach

Two public beaches in Utah have banned alcoholic beverages, the Standard-Examiner reports.

Alcohol will no longer be permitted at the beaches at the Pineview and Causey reservoirs. Weber County Commissioners voted unanimously to ban alcohol on the beaches, trails, and parking lots that surround the reservoirs. Nearby campgrounds will be exempt from the restrictions, as will boats on the water.

The ban is the county’s response to excessive littering and public intoxication in the area, and was reportedly the result of a 16-month investigation. Lt. Brandon Toll of the Weber County Sheriff’s Office cited Pineview Reservoir over Memorial Day weekend to illustrate the problems to city commissioners. “We’re seeing a lot of the issues of alcohol consuming the vast majority of our resources,” Toll said, supporting the passage of the ordinance to “make Pineview and Causey a safer and more enjoyable place for everyone to visit.”

“We had 16 incidents related to alcohol. We had multiple fights, we also had a near drowning,” said Toll, according to the Standard-Examiner. Toll reportedly added that CPR was performed on the victim who “came to and fought the individual giving him CPR. And then when medical arrived, he fought medical.”

While many residents disagree with the ban, the Standard-Examiner reports that Commissioner Kerry Gibson felt the commission made the right decision. “This is not one of those weird Utah things ... we are in a situation here where we are actually catching up with the rest of the United States where it’s hard to find a public beach where alcohol is allowed,” Gibson said.

A new Oregon bill introduced last month seeks to ban alcohol on public beaches. Meanwhile, Panama City Beach in Florida just lifted its alcohol ban last month, and Pensacola Beach, also in Florida, modified the hours of their alcohol ban. Baldwin County in Alabama instituted a ban that went into effect prior to spring break.

In 2014, Long Island beaches in New York also banned alcohol in an attempt to deal with their own issues of trash and litter. “It's completely understandable that they do this," said Manhattan resident Jack Strang. "There's trash all over the beach.” Islip Councilman John Cochrane told a local CBS reporter at the time, “The beach-goers in the Fire Island seashore have abused the beaches, they’ve trashed it and done unthinkable things there.” 

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Britni de la Cretaz is a freelance writer, baseball enthusiast, and recovered alcoholic living in Boston. Follow her on Twitter at @britnidlc.