State Game And Parks Bans Alcohol At Lake McConaughy And Lake Ogallala

The state game and parks commission has banned both alcohol possession and consumption at Lake McConaughy and neighboring Lake Ogallala in western Nebraska.

The commission voted Friday, March 20 at its meeting in Hastings for the proposal, which affects only state-controlled areas. It’s among several agreements the state worked out with local leaders to avert drastic cuts in access.

The commission had been considering access restrictions following complaints about overcrowding and rowdy behavior last Fourth of July. The proposed changes were meant to address the overcrowding on the lake’s beaches.

But the commission delayed action in January after hundreds of people showed up for a hearing on the proposed rules. Most said they wanted more law enforcement and greater attention to checkpoints, not a crackdown to limit access.

The agreements call for local and state law enforcement to beef up their holiday presence. Local leaders will arrange more garbage pickups to relieve one burden on overwhelmed game and parks staffers.

Officials have said game and parks and a local advisory council will meet again after Labor Day to review the summer and make consider whether more changes are needed before summer 2021.