By DEREK FAY
Officers arrested 34 people Saturday for indecent exposure and lewdness at a strip of beach on the Great Salt Lake, notorious for nude sunbathers and sexual activity.
“This is something that has gone on for many years. On any given year we’ll try to increase enforcement activity there,” said Sgt. Rod Norton of the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office.
Cracking down on the nude bathers hasn’t been extremely consistent because of several factors, including the remoteness and isolation of the location, Norton said.
The beach, on the east side of the Great Salt Lake near the Saltair, has been host to nude sunbathers for several years, but there have also been problems with sexual activity, said Sgt. Dan Haggin of the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office.
“We’ve got a problem with people going out and taking their clothes off. We’ve also got a problem in an area with homosexual activity and they’re kind of side-by-side,” Haggin said.
Most residents are shocked to find out that there is a “nude beach” on the Great Salt Lake because they’ve never heard of it, Norton said.
“We’re looking at some continued enforcement activities, a little bit more than we’ve done in the past. We’d like to have a little more success with it this year. Maybe we’ll have a little more impact to clean that up,” Norton said.
There have been problems with tourists seeing the nude sunbathers and wanting to join in, not knowing it is against the law, Norton said.
Homosexual and heterosexual activity takes place publicly on the beach sometimes, and participants don’t seem to mind that there are other people around, Norton said.
People of all ages have been known to come to the beach. They hear about the beach and decide to go and visit and see what it’s all about, Norton said.
Nude sunbathing and lewdness are class B misdemeanors.
“They’re about the same as a speeding ticket,” Norton said. The West Patrol Division of the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office made the arrests.