NAC Bashes AANR

FOR DOWNLOAD MORE GALLERY While TNS (The Naturist Society) members frolic at the annual Eastern Gathering, the NAC (Naturist Action Committee) has released an update on California's San Onofre Beach which is basically an attack on AANR (American Association for Nude Recreation).

The tempest is based upon AANR's receipt of a letter from Tony Perez, Acting Deputy Director for Park Operations in California, which basically reiterates the 1979 "Cahill policy" which states that nude recreation is allowed in all state parks unless there is a complaint by a private citizen. While the original policy makes no exceptions as to which public lands fall under the rule, apparently the new Perez letter designates "remoteness" as a condition for clothing-optional use.

NAC appears to have a valid point. AANR does not mention the "remoteness" limitation in its "Government Affairs" column in the May 2009 bulletin. Alonzo Stevens, AANR Government Affairs Chair, implies that the Perez letter offers assurance that "the Cahill Policy was not threatened in the state of California, with the exception of San Onofre, because of the litigation." In fact, the exact words in the letter are as follows:

Since 1979 the Cahill Policy has tolerated nude sunbathing in remote state park areas up to the point where a complaint is received from a member of the public. It remains in effect as a practical approach to enforcement of CCR Section 4322 in remote areas.
The original Cahill letter makes no mention of "remoteness" as a condition, so this is indeed a new interpretation.

I agree with NAC that the notion of "remoteness" as being a necessary component of a clothing-optional beach is dangerous, because keeping such areas away from populated areas will only further stigmatize nude sunbathing, and will no doubt draw unwanted sexual activity.

The question also seems to be whether of not the Perez letter is official policy. In the case of the 1979 Cahill Policy, a letter was sent to park officials statewide, and I don't see any evidence that the "remoteness" condition has been widely distributed, but its clear that at the very least, Perez considers it to be his policy.

AANR claims that California's Parks and Recreation Department "wishes to partner" with AANR on a "neutral project", whatever that means. This could just be an effort to "appease" the nudist community by offering a remote piece of land for clothing-optional use, and to make the issue go away.

Or, AANR could be playing the fool, cleverly drawn out of the current beach fight by the DPR with the promise of a partnership which will ultimately be reneged upon if and when the state succeeds in banning naturists from San Onofre.

Or, for all you cynics out there, AANR could be deliberately trying to derail the public lands issue in California in order to force more people into private clubs and resorts.

As Abraham Lincoln once said, "a house divided against itself cannot stand." NAC and AANR should be united on this issue, but blind ambition and foolish politics are pitting the two organizations against one another. It's getting ugly, and ultimately members of both organizations stand to lose more than they gain. But who is right on this issue?

NAC claims that AANR is willing to throw San Onofre Beach under the bus in order to further its own agenda. That does appear to be the case.

AANR has sold its soul to the devil on this issue. Since the Court of Appeals is set to issue a ruling soon on the San Onofre case, AANR is betting that the Department of Parks and Recreation will ultimately win, even if it loses in the short run. While the DPR is currently obligated to enforce the Cahill Policy, it will likely attempt to make changes through administrative process, and the "remoteness" condition appears to be their goal.

Clothing optional beaches must be accessible, visible, legal and family-friendly. Banishing nudists and naturists to remote areas only further marginalizes the lifestyle, attracts the perverts and the creeps, and ultimately makes it easier for governments to shut down the activity altogether.

AANR needs to join the NAC in fighting to keep the Cahill Policy in effect as it was originally written in 1979. Anything less is a defeat for nudists and naturists everywhere. In the short run, by siding with the DPR, AANR will no doubt continue to claim victory, especially if an official clothing-optional area is created in a remote area of California. Such a "victory" would be short-sighted and hollow.

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