Friday, June 20, 2008

Go take a dip in the ocean and cool off

OOooh! I just couldn't imagine the places sand might get into where you wouldn't want sand to get into.

Euuww and ouch!

Park officials target sex in the dunes
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):
2007: 132
2003-2006: 60-80 annually
Before 2003: 30-50 annually
Source: Cape Cod National Seashore

This summer, federal authorities are introducing a new tactic to discourage debauchery in the dunes: pairing up with local officials and business leaders to try to persuade culprits to behave better through public education.

"It's a growing issue, both from the number of complaints and the number of areas doing this activity," Seashore superintendent George Price said. "We certainly wanted to start a conversation with the people in Provincetown to see how we can tackle this together."
Leap in citations

The Seashore's 44,000 acres are divided into two districts, with the northern sector covering parts of Provincetown and Truro, including about 20 miles of coastline.

Public sexual activity is illegal in the Seashore under federal and state law, Thatcher said. He said in incidents of public sex rangers usually enforce a federal misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct, which prohibits obscene acts. The misdemeanor charge can result in a $150 citation, with a $25 court fee, for an outdoor violation. An indoor violation, as in a bathhouse, requires a court appearance before a federal magistrate.

Last year, Seashore rangers issued 132 citations for public sex acts, compared with about 70 annually from 2003 to 2006, and about 40 citations annually in prior years, Thatcher said. The Seashore does not specifically track and categorize complaints about public sex acts, he said.
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.

An example of the complaints was a call reporting Wednesday that a 65- to 70-year-old man was flashing people at Herring Cove Beach, according to Seashore records.

In a Sept. 19, 2007, letter, a New Jersey family walking with children in the dunes encountered "several couples and then a large group of men having group sex in the nude, including oral and anal sex right out in the open."

In an August 2007 letter, a whale-watch boat captain leaving Provincetown Harbor with passengers reported seeing 20 to 30 nude men "playing around" near Wood End Lighthouse.
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

The Seashore does not release the names of the people making complaints, to protect their privacy, Thatcher said.
Provincetown has a relatively large gay resident population and is a popular destination for gay tourists.

"It's not acceptable, decent, moral behavior," said Province-
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."

Jaran said he supports a combination of "zero-tolerance" law enforcement and public education.
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."