Trash, altercations, vandalism among reasons cited
PRATT -- Following a trend that goes back several years, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) has banned all alcohol -- including 3.2 percent malt beverages -- from state fishing lakes in many parts of the state. Intoxicated drivers, trash, vandalism, fights, and rowdy parties that disturb other lake users are among reasons for the move.

Perhaps the biggest danger is intoxicated drivers leaving lakes. Not only does this create a life-threatening situation for these drivers and other motorists, neighboring landowners have had fences driven over and other property damaged as a result of drinking at state fishing lakes. Bans in recent years have almost completely eliminated this activity at the most problematic lakes.

Landowners aren't the only ones incurring property damage due to drinking at state fishing lakes. The areas themselves have had pit toilets vandalized and cans and bottles thrown into the pits, causing hundreds of dollars in clean-up and repairs. Fights at many lakes have been caused by drinking, as well, and families have threatened to abandon some state fishing lakes because of the rowdy, often dangerous behavior of drinkers.

The following lakes are closed to all alcohol possession or use: Rooks State Fishing Lake (SFL), Atchison SFL, Douglas SFL, Leavenworth SFL, Middle Creek Lake, Miami SFL, Pillsbury Crossing Wildlife Area, Pottawatomie SFL #1, Pottawatomie SFL #2, Shawnee SFL, Pratt Backwaters, Kingman SFL, Black Kettle SFL, McPherson SFL, Chase SFL, Butler SFL, Cowley SFL, Lyon SFL, and Montgomery SFL.

If problems persist, more lakes may be added in the future. For more information, contact the nearest office of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.