San Onofre Nude Beach Naked Battle Cry – Give Us Our Nude Beach Back!!!!
( Guest Blog Post By Melissa Dejanude )
San Onofre Nude Beach - What more can be said about the nude beach situation at San Onofre ? The news has been covered a thousand times in blogs and news articles from around the world. The internet is full of stories about the San Onofre nudity ban of 2008 (which didn’t actually take enforced effect until the summer of 2010 – the worst summer of my life, which I’ll get back to). Well, I do have more to say. A lot more.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with San Onofre, or the situation with the nude beach there, I’ve provided some links at the end of this article that I highly suggest checking out. The public has been dealt an injustice there, one that needs much more media attention than it’s received, and it’s been my passion since the nudity ban to bring this situation to the public’s attention.
Here’s a very brief recap: A small handful of non-elected park rangers and bureaucrats have effectively taken away the right of “The People” to skinny dip at the beach in California. Every nude beach in California, that resides on State Park land, is affected. The people who did this are seemingly unaccountable to the public, and it was done with zero public input or outcry. They even used a technicality to achieve their goal in appeals court, and they used your tax money to do it.
Separate from the nudity-ban, is the implication of what can be achieved, behind “The People’s” backs, by the amount of power that is vested in such a small group of non-elected state employees. Nudity has been banned. Alcohol has been banned. What will be next? What ban will the next personal dislike or personal-moral-code impose upon us? The possibilities are staggering.
It’s been several months since I’ve written anything about San Onofre. Truthfully, I’ve felt fairly jaded, even bitter, about the nudity ban, and the California State Parks system’s treatment of naturists. I haven’t given up the fight, not by a long shot, but I guess I have been able to dodge the negative vibe of it all, so that I could have a nice summer. So, when I was invited to write another article about San Onofre, I was hesitant to accept – I wanted to, but I didn’t. I feared the vibe. Bringing the thoughts, and pain of it back to the forefront….. I just wasn’t sure if I was ready to go there. As you can see, I decided that facing the responsibility of sharing this life-altering injustice, and continuing to spread the word, trumped my own negative emotions.
I’m not the only person who feels hurt about San Onofre, there are many. I’ve been a “regular” at San Onofre’s nude beach – which we refer to as Trail 6, even though it’s a long way from the legitimate Trail 6 path – for many years. I’m also the creator and moderator of the Friends of San Onofre Beach (Official) Facebook group, so I can say with 100% conviction that everybody who has ever enjoyed a beach moment at Trail 6, even if it was many years ago, even if they remained clothed, wants the nude beach back.
Why do we want it back so bad? Why not just give up, and go to Blacks? Well, as I said, ALL Cal State Park Beaches are affected by the nudity ban. Blacks is part of Torrey Pines State Park. It’s currently not under fire, but it’s easy to see that Blacks is living on borrowed time. Besides, why should all the Los Angeles and Orange County people have to drive all the way to San Diego, when we have a perfectly good nude beach at San Onofre?
Ok, maybe we should just quit our bitching and wear clothes to the beach. The people who are responsible for the nudity ban think that’s a reasonable option. They don’t understand why we like to skinny dip in the first place. They feel that being nude at a beach, even one as remote as
Trail 6, should be a crime, and they’ve now made it so. For us nude beach lovers, however, wearing clothes is most certainly not a good option. For over thirty years we’ve all been enjoying the nude beach at San Onofre in perfect harmony with the law, the rangers, the general public, the military and nature.
The San Onofre nude beach regulars have worked hard over the years to protect their cherished territory: Keeping the beach free of trash, self-policing the beach, creating the FOSOB group and volunteering their time to hand out flyers and educating newbies on nude beach etiquette (no sex, no cameras, etc.), working with the rangers to make sure newcomers were aware of the beach rules (no tents or glass, etc), reporting the occasional crime, chasing off perverts and hidden camera voyeurs, etc., etc..
Why is the nude beach at San Onofre so “Cherished”, you might ask?
First, you have to realize that there are no other nude beaches in all of Southern California’s Ventura, Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Factor in the residents of the inland counties of Riverside and San Bernardino, you have a beach-using population base of nearly eighteen million people. That number includes a hell of a lot of naturists and nude beach supporters, and the nude beach goers from that massive population base have been relying on San Onofre’s nude beach as their only nude beach, within a realistic travel distance for normal weekend nude beach visits.
Second, Location location location! The remote, hike-in, dead-end, out-of-the-spotlight location of San Onofre’s Trail 6 (T6) nude beach make it THE perfect nude beach location.
Other things that make San Onofre’s nude beach so unique and special are: good surf, warm summer water, gorgeous cliff & oil-rig-free ocean scenery, warm friendly people, camping, and a close proximity to the really cool town of San Clemente – where a lot of San Onofre visitors like to hang out and party in the evening after a beach day.
I’ve barely touched on the people, not to mention the vibe. You get to be a pretty tight-knit group of fun loving nude beach friends when you’ve been calling T6 your “home away from home” for as long as many of the regulars have. Some of us have literally grown up there. I’ve been going there on and off since the early eighties; many of my T6 friends out-date me. Everyone is having a fun time every time you see them. The nudies at T6 have become a big beach family, surfing together, playing volleyball, frisbee, beach golf, sunning, camping, BBQ’s, and just hanging out with friends.
San Onofre wasn’t just a nude beach, it was a lifestyle. The best lifestyle most of us regulars could ever conceive of. Our lives away from the beach were centered around our life at the beach. Sure most of us also visit nude resorts & hotsprings, but it’s the beach we all crave. And you’d be hard pressed to find a better bunch of people.
I have so many amazing memories of T6, from world class sunsets, to stealing credit for building the sand path over the rocks from my buddy.
Rex, to how the crowd would come together as one when the occasional weirdo would ruffle some feathers and require a clear view of the road out. Long walks at low tide, searching for shells, balancing rocks, hanging out with good friends, seeing old friends and making new ones. Sharing surf sessions, hooting at your friends when they catch that great wave, teaching people how to surf, group body surfing to cool off & just shoot the breeze out in the water, feeling unashamed to be seen naked, feeling the sun and water on your bare buns …. There’s just nothing like it.
I’ve been to many, many regular beaches, but none comes close to matching the vibe and sheer awesomeness of San Onofre. Most regular [clothed] beaches, such as Huntington, are fine for an occasional visit, but to a T6 regular the contrast is drastic. A day at Huntington will be spent: surfing in dirty, overly crowded water; getting sand kicked on you; having to keep a sharp eye on anything and everything you brought with you so that it doesn’t get stolen; hoping your car doesn’t get broken into or stolen; dealing with somebody else’s runaway dog that decided to chew your towel; wondering why girls wear high heels to the beach; wondering how many inappropriate websites your doctored picture will end up on because of all the hidden voyeur cameras; walking carefully through the dirty glass, nail and cigarette butt littered sand; listening to traffic, and ten different pounding bass songs that people have playing at the same time; watching clueless idiots getting arrested …. You get the picture, we’ve all been there.
In stark contrast, a day at San Onofre’s Trail 6 will be spent: Hiking to the beach – no small feat, but it keeps the crowds down; enjoying the noticeable lack of bass music and traffic, and feeling like you’re a hundred miles from civilization; feeling free of gawkers and the beach fashion show mentality; wondering why all beaches are not that clean; surfing naked in clean, clear water; enjoying the uncrowded surf; enjoying being naked and not having sand in your shorts and crack; enjoying the sun on your buns; enjoying the friendly nudist vibe; meeting awesome people that will be there weekend after weekend, being friendly, watching after your stuff when you’re in the water and meaning every word when they say “hope to see you again next weekend” as you leave; wishing you didn’t have to leave.
Did I mention camping? There’s nothing quite like spending the entire day naked at the beach, surfing, playing volleyball, etc., then heading up to your camp with your friends to have a BBQ, some drinks, laughs, a campfire, and make plans for the next camp-out. It’s also fun to join in on neighboring camps, as almost always happens. It’s doubly fun when you’ve taken a newbie or two with you, and they had the time of their life.
Then…. After decades of experiencing that lifestyle, here comes the new sheriff in town, a new Orange Coast State Parks Superintendent actually (the candidate we all dreaded the most), and BAM! Nudity Ban! Just like that.
No options, no input requested, no feelings or opinions considered, no questions asked. Done! Game over!
We were ungraciously, but thankfully, granted a reprieve of one last nude summer – only because of court battles and uncertainties. 2009 was one of, if not the best summer of my life – it was awesome! The weather was perfect, as if God himself was making sure our last nude summer at T6 was as awesome as possible. The water temp reached into the 80’s, the waves were good nearly every weekend of summer, the weather was warmer than usual, there was less coastal morning fog than usual, there were more nudes than ever and the beach crowds were amazing. We all knew that it might be our last good summer at T6 (at least until we got our nude beach rights back), so we soaked it up as good as we knew how, and we did a damn good job of it.
Then came 2010: the worst summer of my life (I said I’d get back to it). The enforcement of the nudity ban started. It was one of the most horrible, helpless feelings I’ve ever experienced. There was much more going on in my mind than a new nudity ban being enacted – they stole our life! And it was traumatic!
Everyone was trying their best to deny it was happening at first, but the rangers started issuing citations, and those citations served their intended purpose: scaring us away. So, people started going elsewhere. A dedicated few remained, and tried being watchful enough to avoid tickets, but that plan didn’t work out so well. The rangers started spying from the cliffs, and citations were issued even to the weary.
Most of the regulars who didn’t abandon San Onofre altogether, for Blacks or elsewhere, started trespassing south of Camp Pendleton border fence, out of the rangers jurisdiction. That worked for a while, but the rangers wouldn’t let up: They started working with the military police, bringing them in from the north to surprise everyone, and kick them off of the military base beach.
The State Parks folks set out to make a crime out of simple nudity, and they seem to have no intention of letting up. The citations have mostly been excused, or at least threatened (this is currently ongoing, see the links below for more information), but the fear remains. Aside from a small number of volleyball players, the T6 beach has been virtually abandoned since the spring of 2010, and the vibe is gone. So is the entrance fee revenue, of course. Oops! It’s not too surprising that the people who made such a clueless decision – banning nudity – didn’t recognize how many of the park’s paying customers visit the park specifically because of the nude beach.
Another interesting note: one of the things that the State Parks folks brought up time and time again was how T6 was no longer considered “remote” enough for a nude beach. Yet there it sits, empty, even during the busiest weekends of summer. Since I’ve been going to San Onofre, T6 has always drawn a crowd that packed the parking lots to the point of absurdity. If you didn’t get there early, you were out of luck.
Now, as a direct result of the nudity ban, the parking lots sit half empty, or less, even on summer holiday weekends. I’m not sure what would legally constitute “remote enough” – I say this because I believe it shouldn’t be up to one small group of state employees’ opinion of what “remote enough” means – , but I can say from experience that if San Onofre is not remote enough for a nude beach, there’s no hope of ever having another legal nude beach in California.
That, however, is not an option. We are going to have legal nude beaches in California. And we are going to get T6 back. The Naturist Action Committee (NAC) is actively negotiating with the state – things are stalled out due to budget cuts, of course *cough cough* – so the future of our beloved T6 nude beach hangs in limbo, but it may not be as bleak as the current Orange County state park gatekeepers would have you believe.
My point – my goal – is to spread the word, and rally support for our cause: Clothing Optional Freedom in legally designated areas of appropriate State Beaches. I firmly believe that we [all] have the God-given human right to bare our own God-given human skin, at the beach, or any other place on our God-given Earth, as long as we bare it in an appropriate non-sexual manner. I also believe it should not be up to the personal whims of the park-supervisor-of-the-month to determine which of our freedoms & liberties will be allowed to exist under his/her temporary rein of authority.
The sleeping naturist giant has been awoken. Nudism has become extremely popular, and its popularity is growing at an impressive rate – especially with social network coming into play. The situation at San Onofre has helped rally our forces and strengthen our resolve tremendously. We need to take advantage of the momentum, nationwide, and continue to come together in support of nude beach freedom.
San Onofre is at the forefront of the nude beach battle in California. If the tyranny is allowed to go unchecked, and the nudity ban goes unchallenged, they will continue to wipe nude beaches off the California map altogether. We must not let that happen. We did everything right when the beach was still nude …we lost it anyway. We need to make sure that we get it back, and that it can not be taken away ever again – especially by one lone-wolf moralist with a chip on his shoulder.
You can visit the following links for more facts & information. If you would like to show your support for California nude beaches, you can use the contact info from those same websites to find out how. And please, share this with your friends. Spread the word!
Thanks for your support.