In response to reports of public sex and other actually serious crimes, park rangers with the National Seashore authority have banned nude sunbathing on all of Fire Island, which comprises 17 residential communities along the barrier island off of Long Island. The main trouble spot appears not to be the popular gay communities of Cherry Grove and The Pines.
The surging popularity of Lighthouse Beach in particular has led to increased complaints and observations of assault, sex, masturbation and prostitution, said Fire Island chief ranger Lena Koschmann. On some summer days, as many as 4,000 people descend on the narrow strip of land east of Robert Moses State Park Field 5, in the shadow of famed Fire Island Lighthouse. “We’ve been struggling to make it work because Fire Island has a history of that type of use and people have been coming there for years,” Koschmann said. “The more we talked about it and researched it, the more we realized that that use wasn’t compatible with an area like Lighthouse Beach.”
The ban was also prompted, in part, by the decimation of sand dunes by Hurricane Sandy, meaning that nude sunbathers are now more visible to tourists. A spokesman for the National Seashore also complains that rowdy partiers at Lighthouse Point have been setting up mobile DJ stations. She adds that invitations to public sex at the parties have been posted on social media networks. The disappointed co-founder of Young Naturists and Nudists America says that her group will now relocate to New Jersey’s Gunnison Beach.