Forsyth County Sheriff’s deputies had a stern reminder for park-goers last weekend — leave the beer at home.
Deputies on horseback cited at least 16 people for violating a county ordinance that prohibits alcoholic beverages in any "park area and/or recreational facility located within the county."
Sheriff’s Capt. Tim House said that rule includes U.S. Army Corps of Engineers properties on Lake Lanier, where deputies are empowered to enforce local ordinances.
House added that federal park rangers can also patrol corps parks, such as West Bank by Buford Dam, where several violations were written last weekend.
For Lanier, the Memorial Day weekend traditionally signals the start of the busy summer season, which runs through Labor Day.
Visitation at the popular lake parks likely will rise with the mercury in the weeks ahead.
But authorities say people coming to the parks must obey the rules.
A report from one alcohol violation over the holiday weekend noted that all containers brought in by visitors are subject to inspection.
Mounted patrols will ask for consent to search, but those who decline the request will be asked to leave the park.
According to the report, the ordinance violation checks aim "to ensure the safety of all park patrons."
County spokeswoman Jodi Gardner said signs posted at county parks list all the rules, including the no-alcohol policy.
Aside from sheriff’s deputies, Gardner said county park rangers can also issue citations on county-owned or -operated properties.
For the first violation, there is a fine of $250 plus surcharges, which comes to a total of $337.50. The fine increases to $675 for a second violation.
"Typically, the violator will also be prohibited from utilizing county parks for a specified period of time," Gardner said.
The first and second citations can be settled without appearing before a judge, she said, but a court appearance is required for a third violation.