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Old 05-18-2016, 09:07 PM   #1
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"Dry" weekends at the campground

This upcoming weekend is the Victoria Day long weekend here in Canada. It's in celebration of Queen Victoria's birthday, who was the British monarch when Canada became a country in 1867. This weekend is also the "official" beginning of summer, and good luck in getting a campsite if you don't already have one!

But here in Manitoba, all provincial parks are alcohol free this weekend. The penalties are a $600 fine plus being banned from all provincial parks for a year if you're caught with anything, and the conservation officers will watch you pack up your stuff and escort you to the park gate. Give them any hassle, and they won't hesitate to call the RCMP. After the weekend, I always hear on the news how many people were caught and ejected; I'm guessing it's usually the younger crowd who don't believe the rules apply to them. Some campgrounds even have entire loops that are alcohol free year round.

We're light drinkers. DW doesn't mind a nice glass of Moscato once in a while, and I'll have a beer with my burger while listening to the football game. But we don't make it a rule, and definitely not during the May Long Weekend.

So just curious: does anyone else out there have this sort of thing at their regular camping destinations?
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Old 05-18-2016, 10:32 PM   #2
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Yep! You should check out Minnesota State Park policy on alcohol. We have a complete ban all year on alcohol.

I have been in a variety of MN parks over the years and have seen numerous people being kicked out. Some have been escorted by the sheriff who is standing right there watching. I've seen a conservation officer stop by and tell them there kicked out, and leave immediately.

I have to admit, every time I have witnessed it the drinkers are loud and inconsiderate often at night. The last time was last fall during our last campout. It was a single family in a group of three campers, in the sites right next to use and behind us. They were all mature parents, I would guess late 40's to early 50's. Cops waited until morning then kicked out the one family but all three packed up and left.
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Old 05-18-2016, 11:42 PM   #3
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Geoff, just so you know I camp here in Manitoba and I don't go a day without having a beer or two when I'm camping. I've had lots of conversations with our CO's and they always have said that if you are being responsible and quite that they won't bother you. We don't flaunt our booze, especially on "dry" weekends but we have never had an issue.
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Old 05-19-2016, 01:26 AM   #4
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Same for Ontario

We are identical here in Ontario... No Booze allowed on the May 2-4! Causes me problems every spring because I do an annual boys weekend every year and I always have to XXX that weekend out as one of our possible dates.

It is almost good to hear that Ontario isn't the only nanny State out there that thinks it is their job to tell us what is good for us!
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Old 05-19-2016, 04:41 AM   #5
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Here is what I do sitting under my awning sometimes in my big easy chair. I have several DALLAS Can Coozies and I will slip one over a my favorite LITE brew and have a couple of empty COLA cans sitting on the table. It is very hard to tell which blue can is in the can cozzie (BREW or PEPSI).


Of course if I lean forward and fall out of my chair it may draw some attention...

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Old 05-19-2016, 05:52 AM   #6
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A campground we went to twice last year is dry. But if you look there is the adult barley pops there, but it helps keeps things under control. No crazy, out of control campers.

There is the famous cut up your favorite pop (soda for those in other states! Lol) can by cutting the top and bottom off, and a thin cut along the side. You now have a can wrap to go around the barley pop can. Just don't cut yourself! Stuff that in a coozie and it is hard to tell.
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Old 05-19-2016, 06:51 AM   #7
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The campgrounds I host at have a ban on every long weekend... My suggestion if you feel you MUST have a drink.. don't flaunt it... put away the fancy wine glasses, beer bottles & cans pour your drink into a coffee cup keep the bottles inside out of sight of the windows.. as long as you are RESONSIBLE there will probably be no problems. IF your getting snot flinging drunk and loud and falling down then expect trouble.
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Old 05-19-2016, 10:20 AM   #8
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Geoff, just so you know I camp here in Manitoba and I don't go a day without having a beer or two when I'm camping. I've had lots of conversations with our CO's and they always have said that if you are being responsible and quite that they won't bother you. We don't flaunt our booze, especially on "dry" weekends but we have never had an issue.
Agree. It's aimed to keep out the rowdies, especially at certain Prov Parks in Manitoba (Birds Hill, St Malo, etc.). I wish they could just do a better job of controlling those types of folks all of the time and not have to ban alcohol to do so.
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Old 05-19-2016, 10:47 AM   #9
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I've camped in numerous campgrounds, in numerous states, where the rules stated that they were "dry" campgrounds. The reality that I've found, is that if you are sitting in your site, at the table or around the fire, having a beer or glass of wine, no one will bother you.

If you are making noise, shooting off fireworks, stereo in "full-blast", burning anything combustible within a half-mile, or otherwise being a nusence, then the alcohol is one MORE reason to get thrown out of the campground....
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Old 05-19-2016, 11:02 AM   #10
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Where I'm hosting now, the camping area is on one side of the road (alcohol allowed in camp sites only), and the day use area is on the other side, where all alcohol is strictly forbidden- with the exception of my campsite on the day use side, where I can have a drink if I want. Makes me feel kind of special LOL!
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Old 05-19-2016, 11:59 AM   #11
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Alberta also imposes a liquor ban for May Long in the provincial parks. One of those cases were a few ruined it for everybody I guess - lame.

I suppose you can sit in your trailer and drink, but who wants to do that?
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Old 05-19-2016, 12:09 PM   #12
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I've been camping for decades now on the west coast and I've honestly never heard of dry campsites other than the reference to no hookups or water. It's actually kind of surprising as restrictive as California is with everything else. I've seen on occasion where rowdy groups are asked to quiet down or get kicked out by the Ranger or Sheriff. I guess it all comes down to respect and following the rules of the campground. I would hate to see more Government regulations imposed on camping but it wouldn't surprise me either.
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Old 05-19-2016, 02:04 PM   #13
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Well, that's how I feel about it, too. Don't give the authorities any reason to take a look at you, and they won't. But I also don't want them making a surprise visit to our site for some innocent random and perfectly legit reason, and seeing or smelling the booze. Because they have in the past, looking for a lost child or investigating an off-leash dog or something. For me, it's far easier to follow the rules than to deal with the consequences.

But this all started about ten or so years ago, when the parks branch finally got tired of all the alcohol fuelled shenanigans. Since then the number of incidences has dropped from dozens to a very small handful. The rest of the camping season, they leave you alone unless you cause problems.
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Old 05-19-2016, 02:12 PM   #14
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what else is there to do in winnepeg other than drink?

dry weekends in BC would result in large riots and possible forest fires( similar to stanley cup riot)
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Old 05-19-2016, 02:32 PM   #15
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As a home brewer, I make most of my own beer and throw it in some growlers before my trip. I've got a steel insulated cup that my wife swears goes everywhere with me (because it does) and gets used for coffee in the morning, iced tea for driving, and my home brew in the afternoons. I don't think I've ever had someone hassle me over what's in it, either. -But as several have said, a lot of attention is paid to the younger crowd, blaring music, being rowdy and disrespectful.
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Old 05-19-2016, 03:24 PM   #16
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what else is there to do in winnepeg other than drink?
Watch bad hockey and even worse football?
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Old 05-19-2016, 04:47 PM   #17
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I've been camping for decades now on the west coast and I've honestly never heard of dry campsites other than the reference to no hookups or water.
North Carolina state park rules state that "it is illegal to possess or consume alcoholic beverages." Heck, it wasn't that far back that the majority of NC counties were dry and in those few wet counties you had to "brown bag" any dinner drinks. State-owned ABC stores are still the only place where you can purchase distilled spirits.

I remember my first shopping trip in a Califorinia grocery store and stopping dead in my tracks to gape at a floor display of scotch!
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Old 05-19-2016, 05:25 PM   #18
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TX SP's are all dry too. Like everyone has said, just fly under the radar and you should be just fine.
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Old 05-19-2016, 05:49 PM   #19
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Sounds like those of you in the Great White North who enjoy an adult beverage need to do some camping on the US west coast!

I'm certainly beyond my "partying" years but honestly, the DW and I love to have a cocktail or three in the afternoon/evening when camping. It's all part of enjoying the outdoors and relaxing. I think I would do my research before booking campsites in states that have dry camping.
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Old 05-19-2016, 08:50 PM   #20
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Whenever we check in at the CG office, in addition to the camping permit and the "make sure your dog is leashed at all times" talk, they staple a copy of The Camper's Guide to the permit. It basically outlines what is expected of us as campers, and IMHO is very reasonable. I've been camping in provincial park campgrounds for most of my life and all of my adult life, and never once have had a problem.
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