As he was getting out of the water, I heard some commotion and looked around. He was talking to someone. I noticed he was nude, and went back to writing. The gentleman explained that he was just swimming and went to put on his clothes. I looked back at them and did a double take. Where had the National Park Service Ranger come from? Not along the inlet like the rest of us. He had walked around the back way. Last year this wasn't possible.
I didn't know that you can't swim in the nude on Fire Island. Back in the day, in the eighties, everyone knew there was a gay/nude beach just west of the Smith Point Parking Lot. We used to make fun of all the ugly guys sunbathing and going for a swim. We kept on walking. No big deal. Public access to open spaces and water is Quality Parks concern. There's plenty of beaches in Europe that are nude. Should nudity be a Quality Parks concern?
Getting back to the gentleman and my journaling on the beach. The ranger then asked the man if he was an American Citizen. The man said no, but offered that he had a driver's license. Subsequently, a back and forth dialogue ensued between the ranger on his portable radio and some serious person. The ranger then asked for the gentleman's address.
It appeared to me that they were validating the gentleman's immigration status. Please tell me what does nudity have to do questioning someone about being an American Citizen? After, all, we're on Long Island, and not anywhere near the Rio Grande. Are NPS Park Rangers now working with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)? Or have they been doing this all along and I've been totally out of the loop?
There were two other nude beach goers at the Inlet today, and one complained that even removing your bathing suit while your in the water can get you in trouble too, because someone may see you nude while swimming. (I'd better watch out for that one). The other nude beach goer said she received a $300 fine, and claimed that the Rangers regularly check the inlet for nudity.