Organizers of Tippecanoe River tubing excursions are not the problem for Winamac park staff. That was the message reiterated during last week’s park board meeting. The town allows an organizer of “BYOB River Tubing excursions” to use space in the Town Park for part of its trips, which brings in revenue from the rental fee.
Park Manager Dave DeLorenzo said he didn’t have any trouble with the business this year. “As far as what I have to do, prepping for them and cleaning up after them, it’s a non-issue,” he said.
But that doesn’t mean individual park users haven’t been causing more problems. “Until this year, I guess I never witnessed anybody jumping from the bridge,” DeLorenzo added. “I didn’t witness so many tubers and such collecting at the launch area.”
Park Board President Chris Schramm noted that it isn’t fair to put the blame on the organized excursions. “For people to understand, it’s not all just that,” he explained. “There’s a lot of people inner tubing, like that situation we had a month ago with the other people coming in and tubing. There are other people that come in besides just them. I know that other lot over there by the pickleball courts was filled one day. It was just people coming and doing it. It’s hard to regulate those people, and not that we want to.”
Concerns about tubing tourists have come up repeatedly over the past few months, even as park board members have noted that the tour organizers have cleaned up their act this year. An enforcement effort over Labor Day weekend led to the arrests of 27 people on the river, mainly for underage drinking.