Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Mazo Beach Observations

Now that Mazo Beach has officially been closed until further notice, I figured it's a good time to post some documents I authored in 2014 about the crime statistics and how the beach aligned with the goals set forth in the Master Plan.  Crime seems to be the hot topic, but nobody (especially the media) actually analyzes the numbers.

Here's a link to the documents.

I believe they speak for themselves.  Despite submitting them multiple times to multiple sources in the DNR, and handing them a copy in person, they were obviously ignored.  So, I'm making them public here.

Two addendums though:  First is that DNR reports (AP news articles) since 2013 have stated that the crime is "about the same as last year", indicating it's been relatively bottomed out (or lower) since 2013.

Second, last summer, I spent some time on Ferry Bluff instead of on the beach itself.  It's a great spot to see the bigger picture!  Not only did I witness naked people (1 single guy, and 1 family) in two different areas miles away from the beach, but I also witnessed over 30 people entering closed areas from the riverway.  I witnessed none of them get cited, even though it was the exact same day the DNR were patrolling the beach area.  It seems the DNR has very selective enforcement -- all eyes are on the beach and only the beach.  Remember that citations get written in the beach parking lot.  Beach people park in the beach parking lot.

Oh, and a return visit during the evening hours will often show people camping on the closed beaches.  Do they get cited?  No.

And as a reminder, there's no law specifically against simple nudity on state lands.  (It's somewhat open to interpretation based on "public" and "indecent".)  I've gone freehiking on numerous other trails along the Wisconsin Riverway and other DNR lands, and there's plenty of hidden beaches that I've been meaning to explore.  At most, you'll likely face a "disorderly conduct" charge.  When nobody else is around, does that really apply?  Be careful.  If you get it, fight it.  I always leave a sign at the trailhead, just to prevent surprises.

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