Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Advisory: State Nudity Laws Enforced at Fire Island (Lighthouse Beach) National Seashore, NY

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A letter now circulating the nudist forums ...

United States Department of the Interior
Fire Island National Seashore
120 Laurel Street
Patchogue, NY 11772
February 5, 2013 
To Whom it May Concern: 

Effective immediately, state nudity laws will be enforced at Fire Island National Seashore. While state laws apply throughout the Seashore, the park will focus its public education and enforcement efforts of the existing New York State law at the following federally-owned areas: 
 - Lighthouse beach, from the western boundary of the park to the western boundary of Kismet.
 - The Sailors Haven tract, from Point O' Woods to Cherry Grove.
 - One half mile on either side of the Barrett Beach lifeguard stand.
 - One mile on either side of the Watch Hill lifeguard stand.
 - From the Wilderness Visitor Center to the breach at Old Inlet 
Public nudity has been prohibited in the State of New York since 1984 under New York State Penal Code 245.01. Fire Island National Seashore shares concurrent jurisdiction with the State of New York, which means that state laws can be enforced on federal lands by federal, state, and local law enforcement officers. Although the National Park Service (NPS) is focusing its enforcement on the identified areas, the law still applies park-wide, and may be enforced throughout the park. NPS policies favor consistent enforcement of state laws on federal lands, and disfavor the designation of clothing optional areas. Public nudity on Fire Island has resulted in conflicts of use, despite past park management efforts to accommodate clothing optional recreation. On Lighthouse beach in particular, the dense visitation invited by the previously-designated “clothing optional beach” presented not only a visitor use conflict, but created a public safety hazard due to the lack of adequate facilities for trash and human waste, in addition to the heavy recreation on a non-lifeguarded beach. Additionally, Hurricane Sandy leveled the dunes in this area, which increases the visibility of the beach from other public use areas. The sandy over-wash areas left by the storm created added habitat for sensitive species in the area. Finally, park employees have observed an increase in criminal activity in the designated clothing-optional areas, but have been unable to appropriately manage this activity despite significant attempts at education and enforcement. 
Violation of this law is a class B federal misdemeanor, and can result in fines of up to $5,000 and up to six months imprisonment.  
Fire Island National Seashore management recognizes that visitors have come to Fire Island to sunbathe in the nude for many years, and that many responsible and respectful users of this beach have provided support to the park through volunteer efforts over the years. Fire Island National Seashore management is focusing its enforcement only on those areas in which visitor use conflicts are likely—specifically, those areas that are heavily visited by members of the public who are generally not attuned to nude recreation. On all Seashore lands, however, other regulations such as disorderly conduct, creating an offensive condition, public intoxication, and drug and alcohol laws will be strictly enforced. Use and compliance on all park beaches will be monitored throughout the summer, with additional measures being taken as necessary. Should concentrations of nudity and/or lewd and lascivious behaviors increase in other areas of the park and cause similar conflicts with other visitors and/or protected natural resources, then the park may expand its enforcement efforts to other areas. 
Questions about these changes should be directed to Chief Ranger Lena Koschmann
at 631-687-4757 or lena_koschmann@nps.gov
/s/ Lena Koschmann
Chief Ranger, Fire Island National Seashore
O:  (631) 687-4757

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sauvies Island (Collins Beach) in Winter

Collins Beach on Sauvies Island is legally clothing-optional and close to Portland, OR
The arrow above points to Entrance #2, the beginning of the nude beach.

Had the opportunity to head on down to Portland, Oregon a few days ago for a class.  Weather was overcast and generally miserable (threats of rain) but I found myself with lots of free time on my hands and decided to see what conditions were like at Collins Beach.

Collins Beach is within Oregon Wildlife land on the northern edge of Sauvies Island . . . which is located east,  not far from Portland, Oregon on OR 30 . . . right on the Columbia River.  Along with Rooster Rock State Park, these areas are legally-sanctioned clothing-optional areas for nude recreation.  Collins Beach on Sauvie Island, is a long stretch of wide, sandy beach . . . extremely popular during the warmer summer months.  Winter, of course, doesn't lend itself very well to being nude outside, but the beach is there anyway and who am I to argue with a chance to shuck the clothes and roam about nude . . . and legally!

One of the many entrances from the parking area . . . this one #4.
I entered at #2 which leads onto the beach at the beginning
of the clothing-optional area.
Parking at the Wildlife Refuge requires a parking pass . . . $7.50 at several different locations on the island or $22 for an annual pass (which is what I opted for since I always plan on a couple of trips to Sauvies every year).  Once past the entrance signage and down a short trail to the sand of the beach, simply shuck your clothes . . . you are legally-nude now and the wide open expanses of Collins Beach are yours to roam without fear or worry.

Brisk temperatures but not too bad when you are moving.

I was surprised at the amount of beach showing at this time of year.  Water levels in the Columbia River are at typical low summer rates (plus a low tide).  I suspect that with spring snow melt the river's flow will go up but right now the entire length and width of the beach is accessible.  The beach is in pretty good shape with very little litter.  Kudos to the cleanup crews of both AANR and ORCOBA.

No one on the beach right now (except myself).  I follow a set of dog prints followed by an owner boot prints.  In cooler months it seems that Collins is mainly used by the dog walkers but for those who can enjoy a cold weather nude stroll, Collins should always be on their agenda (if for no other reason than to continue claim and presence of nude recreation on this beach).  Later on during my return stroll I actually had an encounter with dog walkers and they were taken back.  I bemusedly informed them they were on a nude beach and what did they expect.  They turned around and headed back the way they came.  So what.  This is my beach and I intend to lay presence whenever I can.

A freighter's lifeboat deposited into the woods behind the beach
during some long-forgotten storm.

Long-weather-deteriorated breakwaters make for interesting
perspective images. 

Lots of interesting things to see on the beach and on the shallow, sandy bluffs above.  The sand is difficult to walk on in anything less than bare feet.  On the flip side this is wintertime and the sand and water are decidedly cold to bare skin.  The hiking shoes stay on.  Walking closer to the waterline is easier as the sand is packed tighter.

Past the remains of the breakwaters is the part of the beach normally favored by gays . . . Entrance # 2 where I came in at favored as more family-friendly.  The dog tracks continue north without a matching returning set . . . I wonder if I'll run into the owner of that dog eventually.

The end of the nude beach . . .

... and the flip side of that sign inviting everyone to get nude and enjoy.

As I said earlier . . . I ran into an elderly couple walking their dog on the beach.  I guess I surprised them, they not expecting to see anyone nude on a nude beach (really?).  They abruptly turned around and headed back toward the adjacent textile beach from whence they had come.  Sorry to ruin your day folks.

I only had the one day to roam about.  Rooster Rock State Park was next to visit.

Rooster Rock State Park is located east of Portland . . . again, on Hwy 30/84 just past Troutdale.  The eastern section of the park is legally-designated as a clothing-optional beach and there are a lot of nude hiking opportunities and beach areas to be enjoyed.  Sand Island (within the clothing-optional area) shows vast, wide areas of soft sand during the summer months.  The usage fee for the park is $5 for the day . . . from there, drive east (right) to the very end of the parking lot and take the stairs or ramp down past the sign to the clothing-optional area.  The views of the Columbia River Gorge are worth the visit all on their own.

I was just about ready to head on down when it started drizzling with dark thunderclouds coming in.  I decided against going further as most of the trails, beach and Sand Island are inundated this time of year.  I did notice a few brave souls come and go, though.

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