Government agencies in Inyo County have joined together to curb underage drinking and parties on public lands like the Buttermilks or along the Owens River. The Bishop Police, Inyo County Sheriffs department, and county health officials have teamed up with the land managers at BLM, the forest service and DWP to make sure that teens act responsibly on public lands.
From unprotected sex, drunk driving, and drug use to trashing a campsite after a party, to potentially starting a forest fire, representatives from this newly formed task force held a press conference at the Buttermilk Road Monday to get their message out.
Karen Kong, with Inyo County Health and Human Services showed photos of a party that land managers had to clean up after this weekend. Besides the still hot embers from burnt pallets, Kong said that over 500 beer cans were cleaned up.
The reason for the joint effort is that each agency has to deal with the effects of underage partying on public lands. Land managers like BLM, the Forest Service, and DWP are concerned with protecting the land from damaged associated with underage drinking. Forest Supervisor Jim Upchurch explained that he’d rather his staff spent time on forest restoration work rather than cleaning up trash after a party.
The health department has to deal with the un-planned pregnancies and health issues and other spill over effects from underage drinking.
Drinking and driving and the accidents that can follow as a result are the realm of law enforcement agencies. Bishop Police Chief Kathleen Sheehan explained that her own mother died in a car accident after drinking too much at a party, leaving three kids without their mother. She stressed common sense and thinking ahead to avoid tragedy before it occurs.
Inyo Sheriff Bill Lutze explained that with graduation coming up, Officers would be out in force over the next two week to curb the expected parties.
Public meetings to discuss what to do about underage drinking are scheduled for June 24 7:00 at the Home Ec. building at the Fairgrounds in Bishop and at Statham Hall in Lone Pine July first, also at 7:00 in the evening.