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Wisconsin Cracks Down On Public Sex At Nude Beach

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Tourists sail at Bavaro beach, in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. (Photo credit should read ERIKA SANTELICES/AFP/Getty Images)

Tourists sail at Bavaro beach, in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. (Photo credit should read ERIKA SANTELICES/AFP/Getty Images)

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UPDATED 04/18/12 2:01 p.m.

MAZOMANIE, Wis. (CBS) — To a Chicagoan, south central Wisconsin conjures images of the water parks of Wisconsin Dells, the cliffs of Devil’s Lake, the stark angles of Frank Lloyd Wright houses, and the bellowing Victorian music machines of House on the Rock.

But nude beaches?

Yes, believe it or not, they have one of those up there too. And officials have long turned a blind eye to the crowds in their birthday suits, but they’ve been drawing the line lately at public sex.

The beach in question is located on the Wisconsin River just north of the town of Mazomanie – about half an hour north of Madison.

A nudist group called the Badger Naturists uses the beach. On the Web site Friends of Mazo Beach, the group describes itself as “Couples, singles, gays, old, young, kids, fat, skinny, buff. Quite a mix. Don’t expect a Playboy pictorial. We’re mostly common Midwestern folks (who like our brats and cheese.)”

The group says it promotes “family-style nudism, where sexual preferences and harassments are not a public issue, where consumption of alcohol is controlled, where illegal activities and substances are forbidden.”

The group holds an annual Mazo Beach Nude Olympics, with an assortment of summer camp games for both adults and children such as sunflower seed spitting, balloon stomping, banana relay, and tug of war.

But some people who have been coming to the beach have apparently been participating in far less innocent recreational activity.

Officials say arrests for drug use and illicit sex at the beach spiked last year. In just nine days of surveillance, wardens arrested 42 people for illicit sex or drug possession, up from 14 in six days in 2007.

The Friends of Mazo Beach site says in no uncertain terms that such activity is not acceptable.

“You will be expected to behave just as you would at any other public beach. If you don’t, someone will likely correct you or a Ranger will arrest you,” the Web site says. “Tanning oil is for tanning, not for fun. Nudity is for fun, not sex on the beach. ‘Nuff said?”

But now, to try to curb the illicit activity, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said Tuesday that it plans to close down huge expanses of the woods around the beach in hopes of forcing people into clear view.

The beach itself, and the access road leading to it, will remain open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. throughout the coming summer.

Nudists are not happy with the plan, but other river users say something must be done.

DNR wardens tell CBS affiliate WISC-TV that they have run into illicit sexual activity on beach property on and off for decades. Some national Web sites have brought unwanted publicity to the beach, which has drawn people from as far away as Florida who come to the property cruising for sex, WISC reported.

CBS Chicago Web Producer Adam Harrington contributed to this report.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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