By Mary Ann Bragg
PROVINCETOWN — It's a slow week in the northern territory of the Cape Cod National Seashore when a man with a yellow towel flashing passers-by is the sole complaint about public sex acts.
In the past decade, the number of complaints about explicit, open public sex in the Provincetown and Truro portions of the national park has more than tripled, Seashore acting chief ranger Craig Thatcher said. The activity ranges from flashing to masturbation to men's outdoor orgies, he said.
Disorderly conduct citations for public sex acts in the northern district of the Cape Cod National Seashore (Provincetown and Truro):
2003-2006: 60-80 annually
Before 2003: 30-50 annually
Source: Cape Cod National Seashore
Leap in citations
There has been no increased law enforcement that could explain the soaring number of citations issued, Thatcher said. The Seashore will employ four permanent rangers and nine seasonal rangers this summer, he said.
Other complaints describe Seashore visitors encountering public sex acts at Head of the Meadow Beach in North Truro and near a Seashore building off North Pamet Road in Truro.
Request for discretion
Provincetown has a relatively large gay resident population and is a popular destination for gay tourists.
town Police Chief Jeff Jaran, whose department assists Seashore rangers. "There is a time to be discreet, and there are places to go and do those types of things."
Last week, Seashore officials discussed the illegal activity with local officials and representatives of the town's two business groups, the Provincetown Chamber of Commerce and the Provincetown Business Guild. To build on that meeting, Price is drafting a statement to address the issue that all the attendees will sign and distribute to business owners, tourists, newspapers and others, Price and business guild spokesman Don Knuuttila said.
"I think it's really about developing a collaborative relationship where we can help each other," Knuuttila said. "It's about a unified front."