Fighting for Nudist Rights
Earlier this year I attended a Parrothead Weekend at Cypress Cove Nudist Resort in Kissimmee, Florida. For those of you who may not know, ‘Parrotheads’ are what followers of musician Jimmy Buffett are called. Parrothead Weekends are a celebration of freedom of expression. As you might imagine, at a nudist resort it involves nude dancing and lots of fun around the pool. It is also a celebration of acceptance.
In my work with the AANR Government Affairs Team we fight for the acceptance of nude recreation on public lands. These are frequently called Beach Issues. In the AANR-West Region we just fought for nudists to regain use of Bates Beach in Santa Barbara after years of not being able to be nude. Coincidentally Bates Beach is a beach.
However in the AANR Northwest Region, they spent a lot of time fighting to keep Bagby Hot Springs open to nude use. AANR Northwest Government Affairs Team used their partnership at Collins Beach on Sauvie Island and Rooster Rock to keep nudists in a positive light with the Park Rangers.
The reality is that Textiles do not want us to be able to use our traditional clothing optional areas since they may be offended. The same issues were present in all these cases. Even in cases where ancient indigenous people used the facilities clothing-free all the way through the present day, someone objects to us wanting to continue the tradition.
In AANR West we have 5K runs each year and for some of us who aren’t young anymore that means a lot of physical training for those runs. Get out of the gym and on to the trails. Our local club Laguna del Sol just south of Sacramento has a great running path from the pool area down to a local small river. It is always fun to take the trail down to the river before the days get too hot. Once we get down to the river there is also a great nude beach. In the summer you will sometimes encounter folks on thhe other side who came through the nearby vineyards and are also enjoying the river on the ‘textile side.’ I have never heard of problems arising from the dual use area. These are the kinds of encounters with our textile brethren that make nude use just a part of the normal use pattern for our waterways.
It has become short hand to call these ‘free beaches’ not ‘public lands’ issues. These are nude use issues that are important for us to protect. In many Midwest states people have told me their first experience swimming nude was skinny dipping at the local water-hole whether it was at a river, a lake, an irrigation canal or some other body of water locals used to get away from the heat of summer. In the Rockies, people looked for hot springs they could use nude. These are all ‘beach’ issues.
We can’t minimize the importance of these experiences; The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has asked us to educate local rangers at off-road parks, wilderness campsites and in the mountains of the Sierra and Rockies on the fact there is NO anti-nudity law in effect for these public land areas. These are also called ‘Beach Issues.’
In the Southern California-Arizona desert there may be a lot of sand, but there’s not much water. This desert area is still a ‘beach’ issue. So when someone says dismissively that it’s a beach issue and it is not important to AANR members away from the coast, we need to help them understand that it is important.
My local travel club hosts indoor nude swims during the colder weather in northern California. During the winter, a news article reported on the outcry, albeit a really minor outcry, about the nude use of indoor pool facilities. Although, we have been using private clubs for our nude indoor swims for many years, they did get some media coverage. We answered the bell to clarify those concerns. Like most of the other non-landed nudist clubs we don’t advertise our events outside our membership. It’s our goal to find that happy medium where knowledge of a swim doesn’t create a negative public reaction.
We need to stand up for protection of nudist rights wherever they are challenged. Traditional and newer nude use areas need to be protected or they will be lost. Ask those who used Mazo Beach in Wisconsin if fighting for nudist rights on public lands was a coastal issue. Ask AANR members in Arkansas who can’t even get a Bulletin delivered without running afoul of state law. They will tell you nudist rights are under attack. It is an erosion of those precious traditional nude use areas we love, that may be gone. AANR stands committed to defending nude use regardless of whether it is a private nudist park or on public lands. I’m passionate about that and will continue to work to protect ‘beach issues’ whether it has water, sand, trees or cactus!