Wis. limits use of nude beach to reduce sex, drugs - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Wis. limits use of nude beach to reduce sex, drugs

Posted: Updated:
MADISON, Wis. -

Wisconsin authorities announced Tuesday they will shut down one of nation's most popular nude beaches on weekdays after struggling for years to curtail sex and drugs on the sandbar and surrounding woods.

Nudists from around the country have been traveling to the public beach on the Wisconsin River near Mazomanie, about 25 miles northwest of Madison, for decades as word spread that prosecutors in ultra-liberal Dane County wouldn't go after anyone for showing skin. But visitors haven't stopped at just stripping down. They've been slipping off into the woods for trysts and drugs.

Authorities say that's crossing the line, but they haven't been able to stop the shenanigans. Their frustration reached a tipping point Tuesday, when the state Department of Natural Resources announced it will close the beach, the islands immediately off it and the surrounding woods to the public on weekdays, when wardens say troublemakers tend to operate unseen. The closures begin immediately. The area will remain open on weekends, though.

Bob Morton, executive director of the Austin, Tex.-based Naturist Action Committee, which lobbies on behalf of nudists, has visited the beach several times. He criticized the DNR for not consulting with beachgoers before closing the area.

"Honestly, we're on their side when it comes to enforcing things that are lewd and lascivious," Morton said. "There's something to be said about consulting the users of the place. There's got to be more to this somewhere."

Nate Kroeplin, who supervises DNR law enforcement in Dane County, said wardens reviewed data on citations and determined most violations happen on weekdays, when fewer people are around to police each other's behavior. Of the 92 citations wardens issued for disorderly conduct or drugs in the beach area between 2008 and 2012, 83 were given on weekdays, he said.

"Obviously we're disappointed when we have to shut any portion of our property down," he said. "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."

The beach has been a problem for wardens for years. The DNR purchased the area in 1949 in an effort to open up more land for public hunting, fishing and recreation. Droves of nudists claimed the beach as their own, though, emboldened by local prosecutors' indifference. Wisconsin law makes exposing one's genitals a misdemeanor, but a long line of Dane County district attorneys have said naked people must cause some kind of disturbance before they can be prosecuted. The DNR estimates as many as 70,000 people, some from as far away as Florida, have visited the beach some summers.

With all the skin has come sex and drugs. Warden arrest reports tell graphic stories of oral sex and mutual masturbation.

The agency closed the area at night and banned beach camping in the late 1990s. Authorities also installed a gate blocking vehicles in hopes of stopping people from driving down to the beach in search of quick sex.

In 2007, wardens closed off parts of the woods around the beach to discourage sex in the underbrush and cut down brush around the beach to eliminate cover. But arrests for sex and drugs around the beach still hit a five-year high in 2011; wardens arrested 26 people for sex and 16 people for drugs in just nine days of surveillance.

The DNR closed another 70 acres around the beach last spring, but Kroeplin said it hasn't stopped people from cruising the beach parking lot on weekdays, when relatively few people are around to complain. Last summer, wardens issued 19 citations for sex and three for drugs over five or six days of surveillance, Kroeplin said; 16 citations were issued on weekdays compared with six on weekends.

"It's pretty incredible to see the amount of traffic that pulls onto the property," Kroeplin said. "Everything we've done has not made any difference."

  • Viral StoriesMore>>

  • Cow herd kills German woman hiker in Austria

    Cow herd kills German woman hiker in Austria

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 12:24 PM EDT2014-07-29 16:24:40 GMT
    VIENNA (AP) -- Police say a herd of cows attacked and killed a German woman hiking through their fenced-in pasture after apparently being riled by the sight of her leashed dog. They said Tuesday the 45-year old victim was rushed by about 20 cows and their calves. Attempts by an emergency crew to revive her were unsuccessful. The attack occurred Monday on a mountain pasture in Austria's Tyrol province. The woman's name was not released, in accordance with Austrian confidentiality rules. © 201...
    VIENNA (AP) -- Police say a herd of cows attacked and killed a German woman hiking through their fenced-in pasture after apparently being riled by the sight of her leashed dog. They said Tuesday the 45-year old victim was rushed by about 20 cows and their calves. Attempts by an emergency crew to revive her were unsuccessful. The attack occurred Monday on a mountain pasture in Austria's Tyrol province. The woman's name was not released, in accordance with Austrian confidentiality rules. © 201...
  • New app helps teens calm anxiety

    New app helps teens calm anxiety

    Monday, July 28 2014 11:46 AM EDT2014-07-28 15:46:49 GMT
    Anxiety disorders affect one in eight teens. There are medications and therapies that can help alleviate symptoms, and now there’s even an app that can help. The MindShift app aims to teach young adults how to combat everyday anxiety, panic, conflict and worry. Teens can input their symptoms and the app will create a plan to help reduce stress. Created by two non-profit organizations, Anxiety BC and BC Mental Health and Addiction Services, the Mindshift app gives users the ability to ...
    Anxiety disorders affect one in eight teens. There are medications and therapies that can help alleviate symptoms, and now there’s even an app that can help. The MindShift app aims to teach young adults how to combat everyday anxiety, panic, conflict and worry. Teens can input their symptoms and the app will create a plan to help reduce stress. Created by two non-profit organizations, Anxiety BC and BC Mental Health and Addiction Services, the Mindshift app gives users the ability to ...
  • Toddler crashes Jeep, runs home to watch cartoons

    Toddler crashes Jeep, runs home to watch cartoons

    Monday, July 28 2014 9:07 AM EDT2014-07-28 13:07:54 GMT
    MYRTLE CREEK, Ore. (AP) -- Police say a toddler crashed a Jeep into an Oregon home, then ran back to his home to watch cartoons. Authorities say the 3-year-old boy who was wearing only a diaper climbed into the Jeep Tuesday evening and knocked it out of gear. Witnesses say it rolled down the street, through an intersection and into the house, causing minor damage. KPTV reports (http://bit.ly/1rhWlK6 ) an officer found the boy on a couch watching TV as if nothing had happened. He said his par...
    MYRTLE CREEK, Ore. (AP) -- Police say a toddler crashed a Jeep into an Oregon home, then ran back to his home to watch cartoons. Authorities say the 3-year-old boy who was wearing only a diaper climbed into the Jeep Tuesday evening and knocked it out of gear. Witnesses say it rolled down the street, through an intersection and into the house, causing minor damage. KPTV reports (http://bit.ly/1rhWlK6 ) an officer found the boy on a couch watching TV as if nothing had happened. He said his par...
Powered by WorldNow

WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
5151 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20016
Main Number: (202) 244-5151
Newsroom: (202) 895-3000
fox5tips@wttg.com

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices