Laying bare the illicit activities of Mazomanie Beach

Access to Mazomanie Beach, notorious for its popularity among nudists nationwide, was narrowed last week by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources after issues with sex and drugs.

The beach, located about two hours from Marquette’s campus in Dane County, will only be open Saturday and Sunday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., according to a statement released by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

According to the DNR’s statement on the decision, there has been a problem with public sex and drug use on the beach. DNR Conservation Warden Nate Kroeplin said in a press release that illegal activity will be monitored more closely in the future.

“It is clear from our records the majority of illicit activity is taking place on weekdays,” Kroeplin said. “Along with the closure, we will add extra law enforcement presence.”

The new hours have taken effect and will continue until Sept. 15. In the coming years, the beach will be open for the summer months but will close on Sept. 15, due in part to cold weather.

Mazomanie Beach is not technically for nudists, but that changed with relaxed enforcement from officials.

A website titled “Nude Wisconsin” shows where nudity is accepted throughout the state and explains the agreement naturists have held with law enforcement throughout the years and loopholes in nudity laws in Wisconsin.

“At (Mazomanie Beach) we have spent years working out an understanding with public officials so that as long as we self-police activities and keep the beach clean and safe, they are happy to leave us alone,” the website reads.

Jim Dickey, a nudist who frequents Mazomanie Beach, said nudity is significant to naturists and law officials are inefficient in fighting criminal activity among the beach.

“Naturism is about body acceptance, respect for one’s self, respect for others and respect for mother earth,” Dickey said. “We have law enforcement, and they should deal with criminals. It is really unfortunate that they would close the property on Monday through Friday as if that is going to disperse the criminal element that they could have dealt with.”

Frank Berce, a freshman in the College of Communication and a Wisconsin resident, said he prefers going to other beaches. Berce said he did not believe the implications of the beach’s presence generate a negative outlook on the state as a whole.

“It would create an issue because of the social norms throughout the whole country,” Berce said. “Although there are numerous foreign countries with these beaches, there are many more differences that could cause a conflict into our culture.”