Nudist Legal Battles, Activism and Nude Beaches in 2016-17
Despite nationwide support for designated naturist places in the US, our legal battles continue for holding onto nude beaches and opposing anti-nudity laws. Here is a look back at how we won and how we lost (at least for now) in 2016. Then we looked at what’s to come in 2017 with threats to current nude beaches and legal issues in the US and other countries. (But I promise it’s not all bad news!)
Want to help fight anti-nudity legislation and keep nude beaches open in 2017? Support the Naturist Action Committee (NAC)! NAC is a nonprofit organization that does a ton of awesome grassroots activist work on behalf of all naturists. They depend on donations to continue this work. You can learn more and donate to NAC on their website.
Closure of nude beach in Wisconsin – Mazo Beach
Mazo (or Mazomanie) Beach was a popular nude beach for decades. It was sadly closed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on March 8, 2016. The reason given for closing down the beach was “illegal behavior” (like drug use and sexual activity). There was nothing to suggest that naturism was the cause or catalyst for this behavior. There were also very few arrests on record for drug use or public lewdness in years prior. The Naturist Action Committee (NAC) set to work on getting Mazo beach reopened for clothing optional use and asked naturists to submit comments. However, the beach remains closed.
Naturist Win: Anti-nudity rule rejected in Oregon State Forests
During the winter of 2015-16, the Oregon Department of Forestry was looking at new rules for their state forests. One of these new rules was going to outlaw nudity (and topfreedom for women) on 1,000+ acres of “designated recreation areas.” Thanks to NAC’s campaign and other groups’ efforts to help spread the word, the ODF heard our voices loud and clear and removed the anti-nudity rule!
NitOC Nudist Pool Party Ban in Huntington Beach
Naturists in the OC (NitOC) is a non-landed group that hosts events around Orange County, California. Starting in the fall of 2015, via a new administrative rule, NitOC was suddenly banned from using the local municipal pool for their clothing optional events. They’d been hosting nude pool parties there without incident for 8 years. The city tried to justify the ban mainly by claiming that there were “complaints” from staff and residents, but would not offer any more information. No one could find evidence of complaints, and many of the staff said they enjoyed working at NitOC events (working these events was also voluntary). The real reason seemed to be that certain people in office didn’t like naturists or these events.
Last winter NAC launched an Action Alert for people to write in to Huntington Beach officials, and local naturists / groups rallied against the ban, but unfortunately the rule is still in place. Check out this April 2016 article in OC Weekly for the most recent coverage on this.
What’s in Store For Nudism in 2017?
Campaign For A Nude Beach in Tampa Bay, Florida
Tampa Area Naturists (TAN), a B.E.A.C.H.E.S. chapter group, is renewing their efforts to get a nude beach opened in the Tampa Bay area. They are looking at new locations for this. (In the past, according to their website, they’ve proposed establishing a clothing-optional section at Honeymoon Island State Park or Caladesi Island).
If you’d like to get involved in these efforts, TAN is hosting a meeting at Honeymoon Island this Sunday, January 15th at 2pm. Check their Facebook event page or contact president John Palm for more information.
Clothed Visitors Threaten Haulover Beach and Canadian Nude Beaches
Despite having over 866 miles of the Florida coastline available to them, according to SFFB (South Florida Free Beaches) clothed beach goers are visiting Haulover Beach in increasing numbers. They’re taking up the limited parking spaces and making some nudist visitors uncomfortable. Haulover Beach is only 1/3 of a mile, and the rest of the park requires swimsuits. There is no reason for non-nude visitors to overpopulate here. Read more on the SFFB website (see Jan 2017 newsletter) and become a member to support their work in maintaining Haulover Beach.
In Canada, two official clothing-optional beaches — Hanlan’s Point Beach and Wreck Beach – also seem to be having a problem with clothed visitors. This was reported on last summer, and in this article, the president of FCN says he estimates that 90% (!) of visitors to Hanlan’s Point wear clothes and 60% at Wreck Beach. To confront this issue, naturists at Hanlan’s Point were apparently putting up illegal signs telling beach goers to go nude. We’ll see what happens at these beaches in 2017.
Fight to Legalize Wasaga Beach Continues
Activist John Cropper continues his efforts to establish an official clothing-optional beach at Wasaga Beach Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada. In May of 2016, Cropper was naked at the beach with a group of people when park officials asked them to cover up. He refused and was charged with trespassing and “engaging in a prohibited activity.” Now he wants to go to trial for these charges in hopes of winning and setting a precedent.
Wasaga Beach has been an unofficial nude beach for years and John has been lobbying to make it official with his group Wasagabares. In March of 2016, the town council was initially in favor of the nude beach but then voted against it. The park superintendent has expressed support for it as long as there are signs posted. Let’s hope John wins in court!
Religious Leaders Trying To Shut Down Mpenjati Beach in South Africa
In 2014, Mpenjati Beach became the first official, legal nude beach in South Africa. We interviewed Serge Pavlovic, one of the key people who helped legalize this beach. However, naturists are still facing resistance from local religious leaders. One of these leaders asked the “Public Protector” office to investigate what effects the beach might have on young residents in the area. The investigation is still pending, and naturists are hopeful that the ruling will be in their favor.
What did we miss? Are there other naturist battles in the US or other countries that we should talk about? Do you think 2017 will prove to be a better year for nudists? Share in the comments!