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Nude Sunbathing Ban Won’t Affect Popular Fire Island Pines Resort

Fire Island (credit: Mike Xirinachs / WCBS 880)

Fire Island (credit: Mike Xirinachs / WCBS 880)

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FIRE ISLAND PINES, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Nude sunbathing has been banned along many of the beaches of Fire Island – but not all the beaches will be affected.

In a news release this week, the popular gay resort district Fire Island Pines said its stretch of beach will not be affected by the ban, as like many other Fire Island beaches, it is not on federal land.

Fire Island National Seashore authorities announced Wednesday that they will start enforcing laws banning the decades-long practice of nude sunbathing on the 32-mile-long barrier island off Long Island this summer.

The ban will be enforced along the small strip of sand at Lighthouse Beach, just east of Robert Moses Field 5, located near a bird sanctuary where families stroll. It will also be enforced on four other Fire Island beaches where nude sunbathing is known to take place, according to Newsday.

But Fire Island Pines is not one of those beaches. Quoted in a news release by FIP Ventures – which operates most of the hotels and other commercial establishments in the district – Fire Island National Seashore Chief Ranger Lena B. Koschmann said the popular beach will not be the focus of enforcement efforts.

“Fire Island National Seashore has chosen to start enforcing the state law prohibiting public nudity in the federal land it administers. Community beaches – including those in front of the Pines and Cherry Grove – will not be affected by this,” Koschmann said in a news release. “They are policed by the Suffolk County police department, and it is not something they have chosen to enforce in the past.”

The area known as “the Meatrack” – a scrub pine forest separating the communities of Fire Island Pines and Cherry Grove – will not be the target of federal enforcement either, Koschmann said in the release. But the law will be enforced when it comes to such illegal activities as public sex or drug use, she said.

In addition to Lighthouse Beach, the areas that will be affected include the Sailors Haven tract from Point O’ Woods to Cherry Grove; a half mile on either side of the Barrett Beach lifeguard stand; one mile on either side of the Watch Hill lifeguard stand; and the stretch from the Wilderness Visitor Center to the breach at Old Inlet.

“Fire Island Pines was founded on the freedom of expression, and looks forward to maintaining that quality, and providing vacationers with a beautiful, safe environment to be themselves and enjoy their summer,” the release said.

Fire Island Pines is known for boasting the Long Island barrier island’s most expensive real estate, as well as a lively social scene that is often compared to “Chelsea with sand.” The area holds a several events and fundraisers every summer, including the Fire Island Dance Festival, the Invasion of the Pines drag parade, and the Ascension party benefiting the Fund in the Sun Foundation.

This summer will mark the 60th anniversary season for the Fire Island Pines resort.

What do you think about the nude sunbathing ban on parts of Fire Island? Leave your comments below…