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Naked sunbathing outlawed on Fire Island's longtime nude beaches

Naked sunbathing outlawed on Fire Island's longtime nude beaches

By Anna Hiatt

NEW YORK | Wed Feb 27, 2013 3:30pm EST

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Tanlines are here to stay on Fire Island, where New York State law prohibiting naked sunbathing will be enforced on longtime nude beaches that were stripped of their protective dunes by Superstorm Sandy.

Banning nudity on the Fire Island National Seashore had been kicked around for years, but after Sandy and Hurricane Irene flattened the dunes, exposing beach views to the rest of the island, the National Park Service decided to act, chief park ranger Lena Koschmann, said on Wednesday. The ban is effective immediately, she said.

The park service is concerned with nudity and the party atmosphere it seems to inspire, Koschmann said. Prostitution, voyeurism, exhibitionism, public sex and masturbation have all become problems at the beach surrounding the Fire Island Lighthouse.

"This is a national park area and this is not an image we want to promote, that kind of lewd and lascivious behavior," Koschmann said.

Because Fire Island is under concurrent federal and state jurisdiction and no federal law exists prohibiting public nudity, the park has until now allowed nudists.

To minimize shock for lighthouse visitors, the Park Service has warned them they would likely see nudists on the surrounding beaches. The warning, however, wasn't delivered to a group of nuns who, after touring the lighthouse in December 2010, decided to take a walk on the beach.

"They were appalled when they inadvertently walked up to the boundary and were faced with nudity," a park ranger's incident report reads.

With complaints piling up and the shielding dunes swept away, the Park Service decided to immediately begin enforcing New York State penal code 245.01, which prohibits exposure in public, including prohibiting women from exposing their breasts except for the explicit purpose of breast feeding.

Violation of the code is a class B misdemeanor punishable by up to a $5,000 fine and a maximum of six months in prison.

Nude sunbathing on other parts of the island not controlled by the Park Service was expected continue.

by Anonymousreply 502/27/2013

This will not affect The Pines or Cherry Grove. It's the lighthouse area they are concerned with, which is a beach accessible by car and buses. The pines and cherry grove are accessible by boat only.

by Anonymousreply 102/27/2013

Flyover people:

There are something like 16 communities on Fire Island.

Only two communities on Fire Island are gay.

The area being discussed isn't even a community -- it's Robert Moses State Park. It consists of several "fields." You park your car or get off the bus at the parking field which belongs to the beach you wish to visit. It is one long strip of sand, but the stretch of sand associated with the west end of parking Field 5 Is a nude beach. It's heterosexual.

It's unlikely rangers will go to the private communities of Cherry Grove or Fire Island Pines looking for nude people to ticket. The whole flap is over a nude het beach in a state park that is visible from het family beaches in a state park.

It's been a nude beach for ages, but the population on LI has exploded and the number of people using the beaches had increased to the point where there is crowding. And the dunes were washed away in Sandy, so it's very visible. The crowd used to be laid back and privacy-oriented but now there's a lot of partying going on.

The rangers are not going to like this at all. How do you ticket a naked person? They will claim to have no ID on them.

by Anonymousreply 202/27/2013

R2, no one else but New Yorkers gives a shit about this.

by Anonymousreply 302/27/2013

I've only been to FI once, (Cherry Grove and The Pines) but I never saw anyone naked on the beaches the beautiful summer weekend I was there.

Oh, and R2, suck it, bitch.

by Anonymousreply 402/27/2013

Suck what? I told you -- this will have no effect on Cherry Grove or the Pines. It's about heterosexuals and "family" beaches. It's of no consequence on a gay message board.

Fire Island does not = gay.

So why was it even posted here? What do we care if some heterosexuals can't get nude at a beach in a state park?

by Anonymousreply 502/27/2013
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