Favorite
click to enlarge 03coverskinny_image1.jpg

Where can you skinny dip when our blistering Arkansas summer rolls around? Anywhere you want. Where can you legally skinny dip? Nowhere.

Arkansas's got one of the most restrictive laws on nudity in the nation, various nudist websites who've done the comparisons claim. Arkansas law (Sec. 5-68-204) prohibits persons from exposing their “private parts” to anyone except a spouse or doctor. Not only can we not go about in the nude, we can't even “advocate, demonstrate, or promote” nudity. Which would make it illegal to try and change the law.

But as we all know, the law is a ass, in this case one that's covered up. It's blithely ignored anywhere there is water, of course, unless perhaps in those snaky sloughs that flow slowly through the flatlands.

The private part of private property is cover enough (though the Arkansas law, read literally, doesn't even allow that). But for those of us who don't have our own lake or river to cool our skin in, public property will have to do. And it does.

So, where can you skinny dip, we asked, on Lake DeGray? “Anywhere you want,” said Mark Campbell, assistant superintendent of the state park. He was, of course, being facetious. He knows the law. He also knows that there are quite a few “secluded coves” where people have been known to swim in the buff. There's a beach off Highway 7, and some people claim to have taken it off in that quite public area, but Campbell hasn't seen it. “It's a good place to look at girls in bikinis,” though, he added.

The only nakedness DeGray's park personnel see commonly is at Caddo Bend Recreation Area, where sometimes they'll see “a young lady with their top undone,” lying on their stomachs, reading a book in the sun. That's OK, he said, until they rise up and someone is affronted.

Greers Ferry has a reputation for nude frolicking — it won a 2003 “Best of Arkansas” prize from this newspaper for best place to skinny dip, and the Greers Ferry Lake/Little Red River Tourist Association ran an advertisement in the Times expressing its gratitude.

Benny Rorie, the natural resource specialist (who better to ask?) for the Corps of Engineers lake, acknowledged that bare skin is dipped into the 31,500-acre lake. When rangers on boat patrol after quiet hours, which start at 10 p.m., shine a light on people bobbing up and down, their clothes on the bank, they “kindly ask them to depart,” Rorie said. A couple of years ago, a ranger in a boat came across a man shooting photographs of his nude wife posing against a bluff. They were asked, kindly, to cut it out.

Being discovered by a ranger can be embarrassing, of course. On the Cossatot River, which is designated a national wild and scenic river and natural area, things do get wild and scenic. A park employee who came across a couple on a gravel bar enjoying one another's company was going to give them their privacy, but the man decided to try and act naturally, asking the park employee questions about the river as he pulled on his shorts.

The Highway 278 bridge over the Cossatot, by the way, would not be a good place to break Arkansas law. There's a camera mounted there to take river readings. Ranger Steve Walker, quoting his boss, said, “You have to be careful what you do in the wilderness because somebody will probably see you.”

Eureka is also famous for natural bathing in Beaver Lake and the Kings River. The website swimmingholes.org/ar/html notes that Hogscald Hollow south of Eureka off Rte. 148 was once a hotspot for skinny dipping until word got out “and over to the marina.” Eventually, the writer says, a flotilla appeared to “check out the nekkid people” and watch them leap from a 50-foot cliff into the river there. According to the website, which features descriptions and directions to 37 swimming holes in Arkansas (only Hogscald gets the skinny mention) and was last updated in January, a petition drive to keep the boats from coming to the Hogscald Hollow cove is under way.

Nudity does not equate with hanky-panky, contrary to the fantasies of the members of the Arkansas legislature. Families do swim undressed — especially if they aren't American. This writer was at Cedar Falls on Petit Jean Mountain when a family of four casually doffed their clothes for a plunge into the lovely deep pool at the bottom of the falls. They were speaking French, and it was the most natural thing in the world to them to slip out of their togs and into the water. And surely, natural it is.

— Leslie Newell Peacock

Favorite

Comments (16)

Showing 1-16 of 16

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-16 of 16

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Arkansas Supreme Court denies rehearing in death penalty challenge, but delays mandate

    The Arkansas Supreme Court today refused to rehear the case denying Death Row inmates information about drugs used by the state in the lethal injection process.
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • Welspun layoffs: Another example of corporate welfare folly

    Layoffs at the Welspun pipe plant in Little Rock are a reminder of the folly of corporate welfare and the inability of Arkansas to separate itself from global economic forces. See the Fayetteville shale. And keep a watchful eye on that Sun Paper pulp mill proposed near Arkadelphia.
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • Hamburg bank manager gets 21 months for theft

    Melinda Gwin, 49, of Hamburg has been sentenced to 21 months in federal prison and ordered to repay $210,875 stolen from the First National Bank of Crossett. She was sentenced in El Dorado federal court, according to a Justice Department news release.
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • More »

More by Leslie Newell Peacock

  • Eat My Catfish surfaces in Little Rock

    Eat My Catfish, which has locations in Benton and Conway, held its grand opening Tuesday in a jazzy new spot at 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road.
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • Pickled! Preservation Libations fundraiser is Friday

    Drinks of the roaring ’20s will be bottoms up as Preserve Arkansas hosts its second annual Preservation Libations Master Mix-Off starting at 6 p.m. Friday, July 22, in the Albert Pike Masonic Temple. Set in the auditorium of the grand 1924 structure, guests will imbibe and vote on competing bartenders’ twists on historic cocktails, all of them delightfully quirky and plenty stiff.
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • Metroplan advisers put off vote on AHTD's request for 6-lane waiver: Update

    The council that advises Metroplan's board of directors voted today to wait until a 30-day public comment period has passed before deciding whether to grant the state highway department a waiver of the planning agency's six-lane limit on freeway through lanes. The panel, the Regional Planning Advisory Council, will meet Aug. 24 to consider the comments. That is the day after the public comment period, which runs July 24 to Aug. 23.
    • Jul 20, 2016
  • More »

Most Shared

  • Tackling autism, child by child

    An Arkansas Children's Hospital doctor is testing a new drug that targets one of a host of ailments the highly individual disorder can cause.
  • 1957 all over again

    Last week, the State Board of Education voted to ignore federal courts and allow school district transfers that will encourage segregation.
  • Death penalty lives

    Barely clinging to its flagging life, the death penalty got a merciful reprieve last month from the unlikeliest quarter, the Arkansas Supreme Court.
  • Drinking culture

    Here we go again. At the rate these campus sexual abuse sagas are making news, it's reasonable to ask what college administrators can possibly be thinking about.

Latest in Top Stories

  • Good for the soul

    The return of Say McIntosh, restaurateur
    • Jun 1, 2010
  • Robocalls are illegal

    Robocalls -- recorded messages sent to thousands of phone numbers -- are a fact of life in political campaigns. The public doesn't like them much, judging by the gripes about them, but campaign managers and politicians still believe in their utility.
    • May 31, 2010
  • Riverfest winds down

    With Cedric Burnside and Lightnin' Malcolm, Steve Miller Band, Robert Cray, Ludacris and more performing.
    • May 30, 2010
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

July

S M T W T F S
  1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31  
 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation