A special law enforcement at Branched Oak and Pawnee Lakes in Lancaster County results in 57 citations alone on Wednesday by sheriff’s deputies and Game and Parks. Lancaster County Sheriff Terry Wagner says the enforcement reinforced the problems they encountered over the Memorial Day Weekend.
“These aren’t people that are people that are campers having a beer by their campers. This is not that crowd, those people aren’t the ones that cause problems traditionally,” Wagner says.
Wagner says the special enforcement citations reinforced problems they experienced over Memorial Day Weekend, when about 700 party-goers converged at Area 14.
“Those lakes become small cities with that number of people. You’re going to have the same problems that you have in any population area of that size, such as domestic disturbances, noise disturbances, motor vehicle crashes, and fights and injuries,” Wagner adds. “It would be nice to have to have more people to work those areas.”
Alcohol started being permitted at the state parks in 2011. Sheriff Wagner says he can see how the state benefits from the additional usage.
“The state is getting all the money and counties are getting nothing. The state gets the sales tax for all the commodities that are purchased for the lakes, while game and parks gets all the fees that are collected for registration and camping. And counties get nothing,” Wagner says.
Sheriff Wagner states much of the day-to day-enforcement at the state parks in Lancaster County falls on the county. In the past, Sheriff Wagner has requested additional help from the state in keeping the state lakes safe, but understands how all are working on tight budgets.
Sheriff Wagner notes that their department will be meeting with Game and Parks to determine what more can be done, especially with the busy Fourth of July holiday approaching with increased usage of the state’s game and parks areas.