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Group: Body Image BlogsRanger World - A Gunnison Unclothed Beach Group

Ranger World - A Gunnison Beach group

Ranger World - Ranger World is a group that has been collecting at Gunnison Beach, New Jersey shore's famous nude beach, for the last 30 years. They throw parties and events on the strand every summer and have their own long-established niche there. To learn more about the group, we determined to interview Ranger Joe, the man who started it all!

Jordan & Felicity: Why could it be called Ranger World?

Ranger Joe: Ranger World was a place that I actually assembled in the backyard of my house. But back in the day they needed people out of the dunes, and it was a big problem because they were worried about erosion. Well that's no more an issue, but Ranger Joe was given to me here because I had the loudest voice, Get from the dunes!' Things weren't set in stone here yet, we didn't know if we'd have a strand the next day even.

J&F: Were you an official ranger?

RJ: No, I was never a ranger. But I used to wear a sun-kind hat, and people supposed. And another reason is there were like 5 Joe's we were hanging around with, and every other man was Joe, so I just accepted the handle Ranger Joe.'

J&F: How long have you ever been coming to Gunnison Beach? Has it changed a lot?

RJ: 31 years. Transformed a lot, and it's changed for the better. Dispositions transformed now, you know, back in the early 80s, you had Ronald Reagan years, and today, due to the expansion of cable TV and the Internet and everything else, sexuality is more accepted. It's a whole different state of mind. You were still dealing with puritanical values, good or bad. Now it is a money-maker for the 3 towns around here also. People reserve hotel rooms, eat at restaurants. If you check the license plates when you go home, you'll find folks from Illinois, Indiana.

J&F: Does one consider yourself a naturist or a naturist?

RJ: I'm more of a sand critter. I have never been to a naturist club in my life. I was raised on the Jersey shore, and to me, this lifestyle is like baseball season. We are out here til October. To me, if you want to play baseball or do this again, you have to visit the Caribbean or Florida. I need the palm trees, the sand, the ocean. Most of my group are playa animals. Essentially we did what was going on in the bars and brought it outside here. We brought the contemporary music, the interesting girls, the beads.

An Interview with Ranger Joe of Ranger World

J&F: The nudity part, does that play any factor here?

In the early days it did. Once everybody's naked around you, you don't see nudity any more, you see the person.

Essentially once you strip down here, whether you're a millionaire or a billionaire, it is left in the parking lot, nobody knows. You're all identical. You're not gonna reveal the Maserati and all that. A boat's useless here. You can function as richest guy in the world or the poorest man on the planet, and you're on an even keel here. I imagine is the finest means of saying it.

J&F: So Ranger World 's been around since you began coming here?

RJ: What I did is I built a complex in the back of my house with an in ground pool, a hot tub and a tiki bar. And at about 4 or 5 o' clock, what we used to do is we'd go over there and barbecue with 20 or 30 individuals. From there, wherever the night takes us. I don't do that anymore. I do not possess the house anymore. It was lots of interesting, but there was a lot of work involved in it.

J&F: There is lots of gossips about Ranger World..

RJ: Yeah, havin' fun isn't a gossip

J&F: There are rumors about having sex on the beach.

RJ: I wish that was true! I'ven't seen it. You're gonna hear everything. I am sure in your field you hear rumors about you guys. I have had gossips about me since 1981, and you know what, you can not please the world.

J&F: How did you get involved in the entire nudity thing? Was it a naked beach back then?

It was an unofficial naked beach, and basically this was part of Fort Hancock at one time, and in 1974 the federal government unloaded this to the national park system. So the national park system required it over, and they really didn't have . So anyway I figure a couple leftover hippies from the 60's started comin' out here, and on a day like today, you'd perhaps get 25 folks. Folks didn't think about it. You didn't read about it, these nudist magazines were like something out of the 40's. You think of it like a hippie-type thing, and then it caught on from there.

I started comin' out here cause I was tired. Then you definitely meet one individual and another. It's like tailgating at a ball park. You go to the exact same parking area, you start knowin' the folks around you, start having relationships. All of a sudden, you have that camaraderie.

This really is an alternate universe, and it is not for everybody. We only recruit here. Why bother tryin' to speak to somebody into coming here when they'll yes you to death, and then they're nowhere to be found.