Thanks to a law passed in the 2014 session of the General Assembly, state parks located in legally “dry” counties can be authorized to sell alcoholic beverages if local voters agree.
In fact, voters in the Falls of the Rough precinct in Grayson County are voting today to decide if such sales will be permitted at Rough River Dam State Park.
The law is similar to one which lets golf courses sell alcohol if approved by voters in the precinct where the facility is located.
We expect the Kentucky Department of Parks eventually will propose such an arrangement at Carter County’s two parks – Carter Caves State Resort Park and Grayson Lake State Park, both of which also have golf courses.
A 2009 study of the state park system came up with a recommendation that liquor by the drink be sold at selected state parks as a means of increasing revenue.
In response, the parks department received alcoholic beverage licenses in 2010 for five resort parks and two state golf courses that are located in counties where the sale of alcohol already was allowed,
State park resort lodges sell alcoholic beverages only with meal services in dining rooms or at club houses on its golf courses.
Remarkably, park rangers report that there have been no complaints of criminal or behavioral Íproblems connected to the sale of alcoholic beverages at state parks.
Like it or not, many tourists want to be able to drink alcohol with a meal.
The income from such sales is critical to the profitability of lodging and dining facilities at or near parks and other tourist attractions.
In our opinion, the local option law should be broadened to encourage wet-dry elections in precincts which include tourist-related facilities like Cave Run Lake.