Bend parks reminds community members about alcohol rules

June 20, 2023

As summer officially begins, Bend Park and Recreation District is reminding community members about alcohol rules in parks, trails and on the river.

Each member of BPRD’s park steward team walks an average of five to 10 miles per day in the summer, primarily monitoring activity in parks, educating park users about rules and encouraging voluntary compliance of rules. The small team also works with contracted security and law enforcement when necessary.

An area of increased concern relates to alcohol consumption on park district property.

Parks and Trails

“Over the past few months, we’ve encountered larger groups, including minors, consuming alcohol in parks and playing drinking games, which is a dangerous situation for the individuals involved and is against park rules and Bend city code,” said Jeff Hagler, BPRD park stewardship manager. “While we always monitor for prohibited activity, this summer we’re increasing our efforts and ask for the community’s cooperation to keep parks safe and enjoyable for everyone.”

BPRD park rules state that no person shall possess or consume alcohol on BPRD property without a permit. An advanced permit may be granted if a requestor is 21 years of age or older, provides insurance coverage documentation, requests a specific location, date and time for the consumption, and it doesn’t negatively impact the public’s ability to access the park.

The permit is intended for reservations/events and small picnics among of-age adults. Applications for a permit are infrequent and the situations encountered by park stewards recently have not included parties that submitted for an alcohol permit.

“Our process aims to make it possible for responsible consumption of alcohol, but a park is not the appropriate place for a rowdy party,” added Hagler. “Parks are public property and we ask for compliance. If we observe un-permitted consumption of alcohol, we will ask for it to be disposed of and for violators to vacate the park.”

Consequences of consuming alcohol in a park may include exclusion from all park property for 30 days or longer. Citations and arrests are also possible from City of Bend Police Department.

“Drinking alcohol in an unauthorized location like a park is serious. How those people get home after drinking is a communitywide issue,” said Deputy Chief Paul Kansky. “Driving, biking or riding an e-bike under the influence is illegal and dangerous. We hope that the park district’s education efforts will help reduce and prevent these actions and keep our community safe.”

River alcohol prohibited

BPRD park stewards, Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office search and rescue and swift water rescue team and City of Bend Police Department Community Service Officers will team up on Friday, June 23 and Wednesday, July 12, at Riverbend Park to educate park and river users about rules and safety practices. This multi-agency effort is aimed at education and providing information.

  • Alcohol use is prohibited on the Deschutes River. If caught drinking on the river, one could receive a citation and fine.
  • Alcohol consumption can significantly increase the risk of drowning and has been a factor in past accidents on the Deschutes River and elsewhere in the state.
  • Alcohol dehydrates individuals in the heat of the day, which is typically the busiest time for floating.
  • Floating, paddle boarding, surfing and kayaking require river users to stay alert and clear-minded to navigate and swim if needed. Alcohol impedes these abilities.

“We are fortunate to have river recreation in the heart of our community, and our goal is to make that experience safe and enjoyable for everyone,” said Lieutenant Ty Rupert, Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Special Services Unit. “River currents require active attention and safety for all users, and our team is collaborating with BPRD on education efforts this summer.”

Data will be compiled through the season to document education efforts, warnings and exclusions issued related to alcohol consumption.

“We are upbeat as we head into summer and hope to help park and river users make better choices,” added Hagler.

Learn more about BPRD alcohol permits.