The Ledges- Law and Etiquette

"The Ledges", a section of shoreline along the Deerfield River’s Harriman Reservoir, is area that has been used for Vermont skinny dipping and Euro-style sunbathing since the reservoir was built in the 1920’s. The property is currently owned by US Generating Systems and is licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. As part of the licensing process, and through an agreement with the Vermont Land Trust, the area of shoreline owned by US Gen is mitigated to allow reasonable public use for recreational purposes.

As with many clothing optional recreation areas throughout this country, and due to a variety of reasons, there is increased pressure to eliminate clothing optional use of this area. In November of 2002 the voters of Wilmington, by just a narrow margin of 495-478 votes, repealed a short lived local ordinance that would have accomplished this purpose. Pressure to eliminate this area continues and it is the responsibility of all who enjoy the freedom of clothing-free recreation at the Ledges to work to reduce these pressures.

The police and USGen Security perform uniformed and plainclothes patrols of this area on a random and frequent basis. They have no issue with nude sunbathing and swimming. They will arrest those who violate other laws.

The Law

Vermont has no specific laws regarding nudity at traditional skinny dipping places. According to a directive by the State attorney (1971), those nude in other public areas could receive a summons.

Vermont Law § 2601. Lewd and lascivious conduct (felony)

A person guilty of open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior shall be imprisoned not more than five years or fined not more than $300.00, or both.

A person could be arrested for participation in any public sexual act including the fondling of the genitals of oneself or of another, activity intended to alarm or affront, exhibitionism, or the watching of such an act.

There is no place within this recreational facility considered private enough for any type of sexual activity.

§ 3438. Trespass on posted premises

A person who, without permission from such owner, shall willfully enter upon premises so posted as provided in section 3437 of this title shall be imprisoned not more than ten days or fined not more than $50.00, or both.

Wilmington Animal Control Ordinance

Dogs shall not run at large and must be under direct control of the owner at all times. Defecation shall be removed immediately and disposed of in a sanitary manner.


Porta-potties are provided at the parking area. Please use them. If all else fails, deposit human waste in a hole, six to eight inches deep, at least 200 feet from the water. Use toilet paper sparingly.


A person shall not operate any vessel within 200 feet of the shoreline, a person in the water, a canoe, rowboat or other vessel, an anchored or moored vessel containing any person, or anchorages or docks, except at a speed of less than five miles per hour which does not create a wake OR under the influence of intoxicating liquor.

Etiquette, courtesy, good sense

Carry a cell phone and make it available to others.

Emergencies or clear violations of the law can be reported to:

Vermont State Police, Boating (802) 442-5421

Vermont State Police (802) 875-2112

Wilmington Police (802) 464-8593

Deerfield Valley Rescue 911

Please support the following organizations which have been supportive of The Ledges:

The Naturist Action Committee

The Naturist Society

The American Association of Nude Recreation

For additional information or questions about this brochure please E-mail:

Additional information is also available at


The future of the Ledges is in the hands of each user.