Flashing investigations prompt debate about nude beach - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Flashing investigations prompt debate about nude beach

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Investigations into reports of flashing in the Northeast Kingdom have prompted new controversy about a nude beach.

In the last few weeks, Vermont State Police have investigated two cases of possible flashing. Both ended with no arrests and the cases closed. That hasn't stopped the talk over what should happen at Lake Willoughby. Both incidents happened around the south end of Lake Willoughby, an area where there is a nude beach.  

Despite no arrests, residents say they don't think the flasher has anything to do with the nude beach.

"People with clothes aren't welcome," Sandy Towns said.

Towns owns the Willoughby Lake store right off Route 5A.

She says people often go hiking up Mount Hor and pass the nude beach because it's part of the hiking trail.

"If you go on the nude beach, they will come and tell you it's their beach," Towns said.

"We get complaints. Every few years there is a push on to get ordinances to stop the nude beach," said Bill Perkins, the chair of the Westmore select board.

Now, adding more concern, two reports of flashing. Two weeks ago, two girls say a man exposed himself to them while they were hiking Mount Pisgah. Then, just last week, a juvenile says a half-naked man approached her near the nude beach. Police investigated and determined no crime occurred.

Ray Pike has lived in Westmore for 25 years. If there is a flasher, Pike doesn't believe the person exposing himself is connected with the nude beach.

"How can they expose himself if they are already naked?" asked Pike.

He says while he doesn't use the beach, he doesn't think the beach should go.

"I've never had any problems down there. No hassles," Pike said.

"They don't really bother anybody. I don't think the nude beach has anything to do with the happenings going on," Towns said.

Still, Perkins says he would be surprised if a new ordinance to close the nude beach didn't go through.

"Quite a few woman have approached me and say they have had nude people come up to them on the beach and say they feel intimidated like 'the nudies' are trying to keep people out of their area. So, it's probably time the town took action," Perkins said.

Another point of contention-- the state has proposed investing about $1.3 million into additional parking and bathrooms by the nude beach. The facilities are intended to serve hikers and South Beachgoers, but some residents fear it will be used to serve 'the nudies.' They say it's not fair that so much money go toward something used by so few people. The town clerk says less than 100 people use the beach.

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