DNR Could Soon Apply For State Park Alcohol Permits

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DNR Director Cameron Clark is supportive of the bill. DNR Director Cameron Clark is supportive of the bill.

A bill before the Indiana Senate Public Policy Committee would allow the Department of Natural Resources to apply for permits to sell alcohol at Indiana state parks. Supporters of House Bill 1247 say it would increase revenue for state parks and help spur economic development.

Among other issues, opponents of the bill say it would remove public comment from the process of approving an alcohol permit. DNR Director Cameron Clark says the public would still have the opportunity to voice opinions before the Natural Resources Commission prior to permit approval. 

Clark says the bill would allow the DNR the same privileges as other state agencies, including the State Fair Commission. He says that agency is able to determine specific areas of its campus where it would like to serve alcohol, which is then taken to the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission for approval.

"They are not usurping the ATC's authority and neither does this for us," Clark told the committee Monday. "We will model our process after their process."

Opponents also say the bill would allow the sale of alcohol at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Clark says alcohol is currently not permitted in that park, except for its pavilion, and the bill would not change that rule.

The committee is expected to vote on HB 1247 Wednesday.

Department of Natural Resources Director Cameron Clark says Indiana's parks are not "dry".
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