Naturist Action Committee: Anti Nudity Rule in Oregon State Forests
**Update April 2016 – Win For Naturists** : At their meeting last month, the ODF decided NOT to adopt the anti-nudity rule for “Designated Recreation Areas” in Oregon state forests! The proposed rule would have banned and criminalized simple nudity as well as topfreedom for women. NAC posted an official update with this announcement on March 31st. At the meeting, ODF Policy Analyst Justin Butteris said he received 175 written comments from people objecting to the anti-nudity rule and zero comments in favor of it. Both NAC and YNA would like to say THANK YOU to everyone who wrote in. NAC said these comments “played a significant role” in getting the ODF to reconsider and drop this rule. It just goes to show…Never underestimate the simple act of writing an email and making your voice heard. There is strength in numbers. This is a great win for naturists and demonstrates the power of NAC’s grassroots activism!
The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) is proposing several changes to their rules (laws basically) for state forests. One of the changes will ban nudity in many “Designated Recreation Areas.”
The designated areas are mostly campgrounds as well as a few recreation sites for day use. These comprise over 1,000 acres in Clatsop, Tillamook and Santiam State Forests. One of the issues with the ODF’s proposed rule is that they can, at any point in the future, redefine the “Designated Recreation Areas.” This means they will be able to easily tack on even more land, including traditional / recognized skinny dipping areas.
This prohibition on nudity was snuck in via a new 2015 state legislative bill that addresses permit requirements for commercial events on ODF lands. The purpose of the bill had nothing to do with public nudity, but in December, the ODF decided to add this new rule.
Why do they want to ban nudity now? Well the good news is that it’s not because naturism or nakedness has been grouped in with any unlawful behavior (like public sex, intoxication, etc). The ODF has said it’s because the nudity created a “conflict between user groups.”
The Naturist Action Committee says that this just means that people have reported seeing nudity in the designated areas / campgrounds.
However, rather than work out a solution that favors naturists (a legitimate, significant user group) and non-naturists alike, the ODF has proposed banning nudity altogether.
In addition, there will be serious consequences for violating this ban. In their proposal, public nudity is classified as an act of “criminal trespass” – this is a Class “C” Misdemeanor punishable by 30 days of jail time and / or a $1,250 fine!
Meanwhile, it’s interesting to note that one of the other new rule amendments will legalize possession of loaded firearms. So you can walk around with a loaded gun, but you can’t hike naked or be topfree if this ban goes through.
On January 20, the ODF held a public hearing in Portland where residents had the opportunity to speak out about the new rule changes. NAC Director Don Zirbel attended the meeting and brought up naturists’ concerns about the nudity ban. (ODF was reportedly receptive to these comments.)
What do we do now? Time for ALL naturists, regardless of where you live, to submit your comments on the ban to the ODF! Ask them to remove this new rule that criminalizes naturism and topfreedom. These comments must be sent via email by MONDAY, FEBRUARY 8th (before 5pm).
YOUR COMMENTS MAKE A DIFFERENCE, so please take a minute to send an email!
About NAC: As stated on their website, the Naturist Action Committee is “a nonprofit organization that exists to advance and protect the rights and interests of naturists throughout North America.” They engage in grassroots activism to combat anti-nudity legislation, nudity bans on public land, and other issues that negatively impact naturists’ and everyone’s individual freedoms. And NAC relies completely on voluntary donations to keep doing this important work! So show your support and help NAC by donating today.