FIRE ISLAND, N.Y. - Naturists heading for the beaches of New York's storm-damaged Fire Island National Seashore will need to pack more than sunscreen this summer: Park officials are cracking down on a decades-old ban on public nudity.
The change was sparked by increased complaints about assault, sex, masturbation and prostitution, along with damage from Superstorm Sandy that decimated sight-obscuring sand dunes near popular Lighthouse Beach, Fire Island chief ranger Lena Koschmann told Newsday.
"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 told the paper. "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 also will be enforced at four other Fire Island beaches where nudists gather. Rangers will begin by "educating" au naturel visitors, Koschmann told the paper, and progress to giving tickets, which, she conceded, may be difficult since many nude sunbathers do not carry identification.