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TWO PARK BEACHES NO LONGER BARELY TOLERANT

Aug. 21, 2001 – While rangers are still encountering a few folks sun bathing au naturel at Salomon and Jumbie Beaches, most people have gotten the no-nudity message, V.I. National Park Supt. John King said Tuesday.
Over the years, the two beaches have been known for accepting sun bathing in the buff. Park officials would crack down periodically, but their efforts were short lived.
The most recent flap developed last spring, a few months after King's arrival in December 2000 as the new park superintendent.
The situation at Salomon Beach, in particular, had gotten articularly "creepy," King said, with people having sex on the beach. Others were soliciting for sex, he said, and "It did involve minors."
King took a phased approach to the problem. First, rangers simply asked people to put their clothes back on. Next, park officials said they would issue citations to offenders. About two months ago, rangers began issuing such citations — for violating the territory's law against nudity. To date, rangers have issued 10 such citations, eight at Salomon Beach and two at Jumbie Beach.
King said the no-nudity policy is in keeping with the park's family-friendly environment. "This is a national park," he said. "All sections of the park should be available to all people." At the same time, he acknowledged that there have been complaints about the no-nudity policy and its enforcement.
St. John resident Terry Conklin said the precedent was set years ago for using Salomon for nude bathing. "Suddenly it's an issue again," he said.
Conklin lost a U.S. District Court case after park officials filed a complaint against him about three years ago for nudity and failing to obey a lawful order at Salomon Beach. He still maintains that the park administration is wrong in its interpretation of the law.
"The code never intended to ban nudity when people are bathing," he said.
However, he is not about to take up the cause again now. "Too busy," he said.

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