Are Beer-Guzzling Innertubers Ruining Gunpowder Falls?

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Don’t be fooled. I photoshopped out all the innertubes.

Four hundred. That’s how many people police estimate are tubing down the Gunpowder every day. Most of them are assisted by Gary Kloch’s Tube N Taxi business, where they rent an innertube and hop on a shuttle to the river.

Critics of the business argue that a continuous parade of noisy, littering innertubers is less than appropriate on protected “wild” land in a state park, especially when there are other Gunpowder enthusiasts — trout fishers and kayakers — who are being edged out by the “excessive amount of tubing.”

In a recent Sun article, Kloch, who lost his permit to operate at the state park due to an alcohol violation of one of his customers and has since accumulated fine after fine, remained defiant. “I told the officers they’d better get used to me because I’m not going anywhere,” Kloch said.

Personally, I’d be interested to read a scholarly opinion on what effect the tubing is having on the wildlife of the Gunpowder. On the other hand, beer cans strewn about protected land on a state park is nothing short of pathetic and should be curtailed. But how do you regulate this kind of thing? Will setting up cops at the bottom of the falls with an endless supply of alcohol citations do the trick?

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  1. I tubed that river last week and there didn’t seem to be any litter. I kept an eye out for it. There was an officer who waded into the river up to his knees so he could “pull over” a group of about 10 people who had a 12-pack of beer. So maybe Asshole Patrol is working.

  2. I was on the Gunpowder last weekend and I have been going since the 80’s. I have seen no increase in the amount of litter. I wasn’t tubing, I was wading and saw about 40 tubers. They were all great and well behaved. I don’t know Kloch, but from a quick visit, his business seems well managed. Certainly, he wants the park preserved as much as anyone so that he can earn a living. The people can manage the beer guzzlers, that’s why we have cell phones.

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