Attention Kentucky cavers: drunken spelunkin’ is now BYOB.
After Aug. 17, the campground store in Mammoth Cave National Park will no longer sell alcohol.
The store started selling alcohol last year, and park rangers noticed a sharp increase in criminal offenses related to alcohol.
“DUI, public intoxication, open container and so forth and so on,” says Chief Park Ranger Brad McDougal. “The increase in the workload was really just too much for our current manpower levels.”
McDougal says there have been 40 alcohol-related incidents in and around campsites in the park so far this year. Last year, there were 47 total. The year before, when the only way to have alcohol in the park was to bring it in yourself, there were 12 incidents.
Visitors can still bring alcohol into the park, which is part of the National Parks Service, but McDougal expects the numbers to drop again once the ban takes effect.
“Before we began selling wine and beer in the camp store it was 35 to 40 miles to nearby Warren County to buy package liquor,” he says. “I knew [an increase in incidents] was going to be a probability. I didn’t know it was going to be this kind of a jump.”