Maryland reservations affected by alcohol ban
A new policy that bans alcoholic beverages at state forests in Maryland may be affecting tourism.
According to the Cumberland Times-News, the director of the Allegany County Office of Tourism said that multiple large-group reservations have been canceled due to the ban.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources enacted the ban last November without holding a public hearing on the issue. State officials have said the ban was implemented to make a safer, more enjoyable experience for campers and that the new policy serves the greater good.
The DNR had implemented a more widely publicized ban on alcohol in state parks about seven months earlier.
Vistitors are being advised of the ban when they phone to place reservations. Signs are also posted at campgrounds.
Groups that obtain state permits will be allowed to serve alcohol under the current current policy, however.
Department of Natural Resources officials say they will meet publicly with lawmakers in the Western part of the state to discuss the ban.
The Baltimore Sun reports that and business owners in the state's mountainous region are angered by the policy. Allegany and Garrett counties contain about 80 percent of all state forest acreage and their economies rely heavily on tourism.