It’s a paradox. Popular magazines list the world’s best nude beaches. Reality T.V. gives us programs on nudists searching for homes in nude communities and nude people trying to survive in the wilderness. Yet beaches that have been clothing optional have been closed to nude use. On Lighthouse Beach on Fire Island National Seashore in New York a no nudity law is now enforced. For several years a no nude use ban has been effect at San Onofre State Beach in California. Nudity at Mazo Beach in Wisconsin may be banned if the Department of Natural Resources has its way this summer (2014). How can it be that while our media promotes sexiness and companies market their products with names like Naked……..that on the other hand beaches that have long been clothing optional are being shut down?
Clearly the national nudist organizations AANR – American Association for Nude Recreation and TNS – The Naturist Society have been ineffective in their efforts to keep open these beaches that have been clothing optional for decades. Perhaps the problem is that these organizations have been reactive. What is needed is a proactive legislative strategy. What has been happening is that a bureaucrat comes on the scene who finds nudity on a beach objectionable. Then he/she comes up with findings that there are criminal activities on the beach and uses that justification to close the beach to nude use.
Here’s what the superintendent of Fire Island has written about why Lighthouse Beach is now no longer clothing optional:
On Lighthouse beach in particular, the dense visitation invited by the previously-designated “clothing optional beach” presented not only a visitor use conflict, but created a public safety hazard due to the lack of adequate facilities for trash and human waste, in addition to the dense recreation on a non-lifeguarded beach. Additionally, Hurricane Sandy leveled the dunes in this area, which increases the visibility of the beach from other public use areas, and creates added habitat for sensitive species in the area. Finally, park employees have observed an increase in criminal activity in the designated clothing-optional areas, but have been unable to appropriately manage this activity despite significant attempts at education and enforcement.
So, rather than provide adequate enforcement and safety measures for the people using Lighthouse beach, the solution is to close it to nude use. The implication is that nude beach goers are trouble makers. The real truth is that the clothing optional policy attracted lots of people. With lot’s of people you have more problems. A simple solution is to charge a separate fee to visit a clothing optional beach. Then use those funds to provide adequate safety and facilities for the people using the beach.
It’s clear to me that the real reason Lighthouse beach and San Onofre have been closed to nude use and why Mazo is threatened with closure is that the bureaucrats in charge are offended by public nudity. We have to take these management decisions away from the prudes. We need legislation at the city, county, state, and federal level that designates specific beaches as clothing optional. Visitors to these beaches must have the same level of services and protection as is afforded to people visiting textile beaches.