Tobacco Is No Longer Tolerated at Valley City Parks

On the heels of a state wide smoking ban in public places, a North Dakota city is taking it one step further. Tobacco use is now against the law in city parks and several other city-owned areas in Valley City. Valley News team’s Eric Crest clears the air on where smoking is, and is not, allowed in the city.
It wasn’t long ago that the state of North Dakota decided it was time to embrace a new smoking ordinance.
“I loved it, I absolutely loved it,” says, Heather Hildebrant of Bismarck.
The state wide ordinance kept cigarettes out of businesses and the approach to their entrances.
“I can bring my son outside and go anywhere and not worry about people smoking outside of buildings or inside of them anymore,” adds Hildebrant.
Recently Valley City took it one step further. A handful of city property will be tobacco free now too.
“They can’t smoke in any park owned property, any activity arenas outside, in any of our buildings,” explains Dick Gulmon the President of the Park and Recreation Board for Valley City.
That includes playgrounds, spectator areas, athletic fields, concession areas, and even parking lots on nearly all of the cities property.
“It’s our responsibility in managing the parks and recreation programming to set an example of a healthy lifestyle,” says Gulmon.
“It drives me insane. They’re not only affecting their body, they’re taking the choice away from everyone else around them that don’t want it in their system,” adds Hildebrant.
The Tobacco Prevention Coordinator in Valley City says by eliminating all tobacco use in public parks in town, they’re not just reversing the normalization of tobacco use, but they’re also impacting generations to come.
“I think it’s the effect on the youth. I think promoting that healthy lifestyle and not seeing cigarette butts in the parks, and (not to mention) what that can do to the environment. But promoting that for the youth and setting that example,” says Gulmon.
Because as the state and cities alike continue taking steps like these, it’s the youth, that will reap the benefits.
“It’s their choice I guess. What they want to do with their body. But it just bugs me when they do it around other people cause then we’re stuck with the consequence of their choices,” says Hildebrant.
Not all public parks in Valley City are tobacco free just yet. The local Tourist Park Campground and Bjornson’s Public Golf Course did not end up on the list. The park board mentioned that out of concern for a loss of business to neighboring communities, they made an exception.