One of the nation's most popular nude beaches will be shut down on weekdays in an effort to stop the public sex and drug use that goes on at the Wisconsin sandbar, officials said Tuesday.
The public beach on the Wisconsin River, in Mazomanie about 25 miles northwest of Madison, has long been a migrant spot for nudists, but lately the beachgoers have been slipping off into the surrounding woods for lewd and lascivious behavior.
A review of citations issued showed most violations happen on weekdays. Of the 92 citations wardens issued for disorderly conduct or drugs in the beach area between 2008 and 2012, 83 were given on weekdays. So the state's Department of Natural Resources announced Tuesday that the beach, surrounding woods, and islands would be closed during the week, effective immediately.
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"Obviously we're disappointed when we have to shut any portion of our property down," Nate Kroeplin, who supervises DNR enforcement in Dane County, told The Associated Press. "But our ultimate goal is to have a safe place anybody can feel comfortable using. And with the current activity going on down there, that's just not the case."
Bob Morton, executive director of the Austin, Tex.-based Naturist Action Committee, which lobbies on behalf of nudists, is upset the DNR did not consult the beachgoers before making the decision to close down the area during the week.
"Honestly, we’re on their side when it comes to enforcing things that are lewd and lascivious," Morton told the AP. "There’s something to be said about consulting the users of the place. There’s got to be more to this somewhere."
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The DNR estimates that as many as 70,000 people, some from as far away as Florida, have visited the beach some summers. Though exposing one's genitals is a misdemeanor in Wisconsin, ultra-liberal local prosecutors have created a strong precedent that a naked person must cause some kind of disturbance before he or she can be prosecuted.
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