Thursday, August 31, 2006

Seattle-area Nude Swims this winter

Hey, you've been looking for the opportunities to be naked this winter. Here they are, courtesy of NAC and BFC. Cost is an upfront one-time admission card of $5, plus $10 for each swim with the excess funds after costs going to support the important activities of the Naturist Action Committee. These swims are open to all TNS, AANR, SLUGS, FQN, WBPS members and any others that can show good standing in the naturist community (WNBR, Regional Burners). Check the web page for all the details you need. I've also posted them individuals swims on the Upcoming Events applet in the side panel. Rick

In close cooperation with the Seattle-based Body Freedom Collaborative, The Naturist Action Committee is happy to announce the "NAC Seattle Swims": a new series of evening nude swims in Seattle, Washington.

Many naturist groups have organized swimming events in private health clubs and other private facilities. A much smaller number have been able to use public facilities. NAC is particularly excited to sponsor this series of events and initiate the nude use of two fine indoor public swimming pools that are run and operated by the Parks and Recreation Department of the City of Seattle.

The NAC Seattle Swims will further the existing good relations between NAC, local skinny-dippers, and the City of Seattle. The nude swims will also serve as fundraisers for NAC, to assist it in its ongoing work of advancing and defending opportunities for responsible clothes-free recreation at private sites and on select public lands.

The swims will also be a whole lot of fun.


NAC board member Mark Storey and BFC co-director Daniel Johnson are organizing the swims. They selected the pools on the basis of the facilities' ease of access, the pools' amenities, and neighborhood safety. Helene Madison Pool in northwestern Seattle has two pools: one is of 3.5 feet deep; the larger pool ranges from 6 to 12.5 feet deep, and offers both low and high diving boards.

Ballard Pool is located in the Ballard District of Seattle, and boasts a large pool (3-12 feet deep) featuring a tube slide and rope swing. A large hot tub sits next to the pool.

All swims are on the second Saturday of the month, and go from 8:00-10:00 PM.. People may arrive 15 minutes early to undress in the men's and women's changing rooms (each containing coin-operated lockers). Swimmers need to bring their own towels and any personal swim gear.

Swim organizers plan to schedule games for kids, and more athletic competitions for adults. The Naturist Society will provide prizes for some of these events at each of the six swims.


  • Oct. 14, 2006 - Helene Madison Pool
  • Nov. 11, 2006 - Helene Madison Pool
  • Dec. 09, 2006 - Helene Madison Pool
  • Jan. 13, 2007 - Ballard Pool
  • Feb. 10, 2007 - Ballard Pool
  • Mar. 10, 2007 - Ballard Pool

Monday, August 28, 2006

Report: Public Meeting on Olympic National Park Draft GMP/EIS

Report on the Public Meeting on Olympic National Park, Seattle, Aug 24th 5-9pm at the downtown REI. As we signed in the door we were handed a 400-500 page soft-bound copy of the plan.

First item of note: The Public Comment Period has been extended till the 30th of September.

Ryan and myself attended this meeting, expecting a public briefing followed by a chance to posit some questions of the parks officials. That never happened. Instead, exhibits were set about the room and the public engaged in one-on-one explanations of facets of the plan and the proposed alternatives. The number of parks officials was numerous for a meeting this size. They almost outnumbered the public attending.

Ryan waylaid the Park Superintendent alone near the center of the meeting room. When asked (by Ryan) about the format for the meeting, the Park Superintendent excused the approach as more efficient . . . when pressed as to why he wouldn't take questions before a group, he became remarkably defensive stating, that wasn't 'going to happen'. My take on all this (and Ryan's too, I believe), was that decisions have already been made and these public meetings were proforma to satisfy the legal process. They would answer questions one-on-one but would not let themselves get trapped into having to answer questions before a group. No one person (in the person of the Park Superintendent particularly) was going to be accountable for anything said at that meeting. The parks officials kept the public engaged in separate conversations. It was very well done and obvious in the purposefully spacing and positioning of the officials and exhibits.

Nevertheless, Ryan and I engaged the Superintendent on the status of Olympic Hot Springs and you could tell that we touched a raw nerve. It is no secret that the Park has been attempting to de-emphasize the hot springs for a long time. On the official Olympic Parks brochure (that was also handed out before the meeting), Olympic Hot Springs does not even show up on the map.

Another interesting fact is that in the PDF version of this plan on the parks web site, there is no mention of Olympic Hot Springs at all until you get to the charts explaining the alternatives. Since the charts are graphics, a text search does not show those references either. But in the paper-copy handed out, Olympic Hot Springs is mentioned a couple of dozen times . . . three references on soil, hydrological and vegetative impacts for each alternative plus a few other references in passing.

These references in the paper copy conclude that removal of the user-built pools at Olympic Hot Springs will result in "long-term minor to moderate" improvement of the environment. With these conclusions in mind, we engaged the Superintendent. No explanation was forthcoming other than a reference to contamination of the Boulder Creek waters because of the pools and usage. He became very reticent to engage much deeper, though since we had claimed him to ourselves, the superintendent didn't have any good excuse to escape (we had him hemmed up against a table.) No one else was pressing him for a chance to ask a question . . . so Ryan continued to press for answers to 'whys'. I played 'good cop' and listened and sympathized. Ryan was pushing the envelope of comfort. The superintendent seemingly didn't want to answer any questions on Olympic Hot Springs.

And I think it understandable. The Park has not advertised the springs for some time . . . perhaps in a hope that the problems associated with them would go away. To be realistic, there are serious problems up there . . . from unabated pool construction to very unsanitary conditions (carpets in pools). There is unsubstantiated rumor of King County Health being contacted for advice (where the federal Public Health stands on the issue is unknown). Those same problems affect Baker Hot Springs with the USDA FS Rangers attempting several times to shut down the site because of e.coli outbreaks. I accept that the Parks Service would like the problem to go away. So, we need to offer other alternatives.

I posited that it really doesn't matter what the Parks Service does . . . the pools will get rebuilt. That is the nature of hot springers. Destroy them and they'll magically pop up again . . . especially in the middle of the night with an expanded camp ground nearby. The super nodded subtly to that. Yes, he understands the problem. Ryan expanded on the lure and draw of natural hot springs . . . pointing out that of the 30 or 40 cars parked at the trailhead on any particular weekend day, probably only two were backpacking that trail on through . . . the rest were headed up to the springs and that qualifies the springs as an attraction to the park users. I attempted to provide a couple of solutions and between Ryan and myself, I think we actually sparked some interest in the otherwise very tight-lipped superintendent.

First an acknowledgment that the State of Washington has too few hot springs and that our neighbouring states (and provinces) protect and conserve their's for the public enjoyment. Two, I mentioned specifically; Bagby Hot Springs near Estacada and Terwilliger Hot Springs near Springfield . . . both in Oregon. I related the past problems both these places had with sanitation, crime and disruption to the surroundings and how the situation has come under control . . . with the NW Forest Conservatory efforts under USFS auspices at Bagby; and with a management contract with HooDoo Recreational Services at Cougar (Terwilliger).

The HooDoo services sparked interest in the superintendent. He started asking questions about how it worked and how effective it was. Ryan went into a long discussion of the conditions at Terwilliger and how under-control the situation was down there. We provided the superintendent with references and resources to look at how Terwilliger got 'saved'.

All that being said . . . this meeting was not for the public to change the minds of the Park Service . . . it was to present alternatives and elicit comments of our (the public's) preferences. The Park Superintendent really didn't know of the approach that was taken at Cougar so at least we've seeded that idea. Now we need to push for arguments to keep the hot springs there.

One thing the superintendent did emphasize is that the alternatives are not set in stone. He likens them to menus (Chinese menus if I may) that we can choose one from alternative D and two from alternative B, or whatever. He points out that we need to tell them why we like a particular outcome and provide ways of reaching that outcome. This is where the public commenting comes in. Simply saying we don't want the pools from Olympic Hot Springs to be torn down is insufficient. We've got to give them reasons why and how it serves the public interest. In other words, we've got to justify the springs in a positive light.

The GMP/EIS Plan has been in work for years and will likely be several more years before final approval. Then comes the funding, which for Alternative D, the preferred approach, is in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Most of that goes for road/trail improvements, visitor centers and acquisition of land to add to the park. The hot springs are just a small part of that in the park's eyes . . . but an important one for us (and hopefully the public).

On a related issue, Sol Duc (the developed hot springs west of the Elwa valley) is preserved except in the most resource-protective alternative (B). In the preferred alternative (D), Sol Duc would actually enjoy expansion and year-round access.

Subsequent to this report, I was asked for a general framework of ideas for people to comment on the NPS website. Here are a few subjective areas you might want to consider:

  • Historically (which the Parks Service is mandated to preserve). There was a resort there once and to totally revert this back to natural breaks any connection with that important and early history of Washington State;
  • Popularity, Desire and Easy Access. There is no doubt of these facets that bring so many people up to Olympic to enjoy the hot springs. Even for the uninitiated, natural hot springs magically fascinate and draw people to enter the park (and pay the Park entrance fees) for just that reason. It is a draw that even low-income citizens can enjoy;
  • Fiscally. If a management-style approach is established to control the undesirable aspects of the present situation, less Ranger presence would be needed. There is potential for excess revenue to fund other park resources. Quite frankly, just seeing the interest in the Superintendent's voice and his attention when we talked about HooDoo and a management approach strikes me as something that should be pushed;
  • Culturally. The management plan speaks often (and very positively) of the adjoining Indian Reservations and the cultural significance these tribes exert over the decisions made in the plan. Hot springs hold high cultural importance to Native Americans . . . there is a long tradition to soaking in natural hot springs. Most non-Native Americans are touched spiritually and philosophically by an experience a Native American understands intrinsically. We should protect, preserve and honor this very important cultural tradition.
Important: The Public Comment Period for the Draft GMP/EIS Plan ends on September 30th, 2006. Please send them your comments and ideas on why and how they should keep Olympic Hot Springs as a natural soaking opportunity for the public. The NPS website comments page is here.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Olympic Hot Springs under threat!

Credit for bringing this to my attention: Steve (nukuhead) in Naturist_Hikers.

Little known or paid attention to is the Draft General Management Plan & Environmental Impact Statement for the future management of Olympic National Park that is now in it's final 90-day Public Comment Period. In the proposed GMP/EIS Park Officials present four Alternatives:

  1. Alternative A - The Current Management (do nothing alternative)
  2. Alternative B - Resource Protection Emphasis
  3. Alternative C - Visitor Opportunies Emphsis
  4. Alternative D - Preferred Alternative (a combination of B & C)
One short paragraph catches the eye in Alternatives B, C and D:
The visitor constructed hot springs pools at the Olympic Hot Springs site would be removed, and the area would be restored to a natural state.
Please note that the hot springs, as they exist now, are not on the Park's plans for remaining. Alternative A is the fall-back plan . . . the 'do nothing' should either of the other three muster enough opposition. The Draft Statements can be read here, and more specifically the map of the Elwa area containing the hot springs and the position of removing the pools, here (1.6mb pdf file).

The Public Comment Period ends Sep 15, 2006, so there is limited time to make your views known. You can comment directly on the Parks Site, or you can attend one of the two remaining open houses on the proposed plan below. Washington State has too few hot springs . . . don't let us lose another one. Make your views known! I will be at the REI event on Wednesday.

Public Open Houses

Public Open House for Draft General Management Plan - Shelton
Public Open House - Shelton

Description: The park superintendent and members of the planning team will be present to answer questions and accept your comments about the Draft GMP/EIS. There will be displays, copies of the plan and other handout materials available.
Meeting Directions: From Bremerton take Highway 3 south to Shelton. At Shelton turn Left onto N. Front Street/WA 3. Turn Right onto E. Railroad Ave. Continue to follow E. Railroad Ave to S. 5th Street. Turn Left onto S. 5th Street. Turn Right onto W. Cota.

From the Olympic Peninsula follow Highway 101 to Shelton. Take the West Franklin Street Exit and travel East. Take a Left onto West Railroad Avenue and then a Right onto S. 7th Street. Follow this to West Cota and take a Left on West Cota.
Google Map
Date Start Time End Time Location
08/23/2006 5:00 PM 8:00 PM Shelton Civic Center
525 West Cota Street
Shelton, Washington
Public Open House for Draft General Management Plan - Seattle
Open House - Seattle
Description: The park superintendent and members of the planning team will be present to answer questions and accept your comments about the Draft GMP/EIS. There will be displays, copies of the plan and other handout materials available.
Meeting Directions: The REI Main Store is located on the west side of Highway 5 - Take Exit 166 and travel north (take a right) onto Eastlake Avenue to Thomas Street. Turn Left onto Thomas then Left onto Yale. The parking garage is located off Yale Street between John Street and Thomas Street. Google Map
Date Start Time End Time Location
08/24/2006 5:00 PM 8:00 PM REI - Seattle
222 Yale Street
Seattle, Washington

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Cahill Memo Policy in Jepoardy?

For those of you who don't know, the Cahill Memo Policy prescribes an essentially hand-offs approach to dealing with simple nudity in traditional or recognized clothing-optional areas within the State Park System of California. The Cahill Memo (named after the State Parks Director at the time) is a tradeoff between legal recognition of clothing-optional areas and the political climate at that time which made it difficult to bestow a legal status to these places. The 'Memo' recognizes that some place have traditional nude use and that, lacking complaints, the state will not cite someone for nude use but rather ask them to cover up and discontinue nude use for the day.

The Cahill Memo influences the activities of many jurisdictions, even outside of California. Many law enforcement personnel will only act on a complaint and then only if you fail to cover up as asked . . . which is in line with the Cahill Memo.

In the last few weeks I've noticed a flurry of forum postings and a NAC Alert over activities within the California State Park system that interpret or ignore the Cahill Memo entirely. The alerts that I am aware of are:

  • American River, where rangers sought to prohibit skinny-dipping and nude use despite de facto traditional use. The Cahill Memo requires nudity be handled on a case-by-case basis only after a complaint. The rangers were planning to ban nude use withot any consideration of th Cahill Memo. Fortunately, the Naturist Action Committee stepped in and convinced the rangers to abide by the spirit of Cahill.

  • Bonny Doon Beach, near Santa Cruz, also has a long tradition of clothing-optional use. Postings in the RixPlace Forum indicate that the status of traditional nude use may be treatened at Bonny Doon as it comes under the the State Parks System. To quote from the Bay Area Naturist's:
Bonny Doon Beach, about ten miles northwest of Santa Cruz, California, has been a popular clothing-optional beach for nearly forty years. This year, as it comes under California State Parks administration, its clothing-optional status may be in jeopardy. Preservation of its status requires a committee of concerned regular users of Bonny Doon, willing to meet as required with State Parks and other officials, with guidance from the Naturist Action Committee.
  • Grey Whale Cove (also known as 'Devil's Slide') is another traditional clothing-optional area. The web page managed by the state for Gray Whale Cove has has a subtle but important change on it. There was reference to clothes-optional sunbathing there and that has been removed, at least the "clothes-optional" part. Intentional? An attempt to limit the information that naturists may find about clothing-optional opportunities? It's a subtle change with the effect that a unwary textile visitor will assuredly come across nude use without expecting it . . . upping the probability of complaints and pressure to stop nude use in this traditional area.

  • Black's Beach north of San Diego. Black's Beach is the subject of another NAC Alert because of the onerous consequences of new signs posted at the beach boundaries. The signs flatly, and improperly state that "Nudity in the State Parks System is Prohibited".

    Again, this is subtle. The Cahill Memo allows nude use to be suspended if there are complaints. While the status at Black's Beach has not changed, these signs could encourage complaints from observers to essentially shut down the beach. While this hasn't happened yet, one has to wonder why the State Parks System felt it necessary to post those signs at one of the most popular clothing-optional beaches in California. Are they hoping for confrontation?
From the forums, it is observed that elections are coming up and nudity often gets picked upon as an easy target. I have to wonder if this is a deeper effort of the conservative state government under 'Arnie' to modify or eliminate the protocols and policy (underpinned by the Cahill Memo) that have existed successfully since 1979.

NAC Advisory: Seattle's Magnuson Beach

Copyright 2006 by the Naturist Action Committee, which is responsible for its content. Permission is granted for the posting, forwarding or redistribution of this message, provided that it is reproduced in its entirety and without alteration.

DATE: August 16, 2006
SUBJECT: Magnuson Beach
TO: Washington Naturists and other concerned citizens

Dear Naturist,

As an important part of its mission to advance and protect the rights and interests of naturists, the Naturist Action Committee (NAC) works proactively with local activists to expand clothing-optional opportunities. One of NAC's present projects is Magnuson Park in Seattle, Washington.


Seattle's Warren G. Magnuson Park sits along the western shore of Lake Washington on Sand Point, and is part of an immense 350-acre area filled with open fields, shoreline, boating access, and empty warehouses. The U.S. Navy operated a base on the site for years, but when the base was decommissioned in 1990, the property was transferred to the City, which is considering what to do with the hundreds of acres of prime open space.


A small portion of what is now Magnuson Park enjoyed quiet nude use since at least the mid-70s until the mid-80s to the east of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration facility, which is northeast and adjacent to the park. The unofficial nude beach area was reportedly used quietly by Navy and NOAA personnel, as well as by the general public.

A few years ago, the City of Seattle established a fenced off-leash area for dog owners to run their pets where skinny-dippers and sunbathers had previously enjoyed the shoreline. NAC has no reason to believe that the creation of this now popular off-leash area had anything to do with the reported nude use of the site. Currently, the beach immediately to the south of the off-leash area and north of the park's main swimming beach has sporadic and cautious nude use.

Daniel Johnson, co-director of the Seattle-based Body Freedom Collaborative (BFC) verified historical nude use at the original site with informal interviews of beach users and a Seattle Parks & Recreation official in July 2006.


The area where people now sometimes enjoy sunbathing and skinny-dipping, however, is largely overgrown with non-native blackberries and other invasive shrubs. Johnson and NAC board member Mark Storey toured the site in August 2006 and agreed that two different 100-yard stretches of shoreline might easily, and without much expense, be turned into an officially sanctioned clothing-optional beach. Hoping to capitalize on the good will established by this year's series of four NAC Discovery Park Beach Cleanups, Storey and Johnson are exploring ways to create new opportunities for skinny-dippers at Magnuson Park.


A crucial step will be to develop a user group willing to go public in support of nude use of appropriate city park lands. To that end, on Saturday, September 2, 2006, from 11:00-3:00, NAC and BFC are hosting a BBQ/Potluck at Magnuson Park. The goal is to establish a new user group: the Magnuson Beach Bares.

The Naturist Action Committee will provide hamburgers and veggie-burgers for those wishing to publicly support continued nude use of this semi-isolated shoreline. If you live in the area and wish to see naturist opportunities advanced, bring a potluck contribution, something to drink, and a flexibility to enjoy what skinny-dipping opportunities may arise. The main goal of the event is to bring together people in Seattle who are ready to commit themselves to the long, hard, and public task of gaining a clothing-optional beach in their town.

The picnic will be along the shore of Lake Washington, north of the main textile swimming beach at Magnuson Park and south of the off-leash dog area, just a few yards east and off the paved Lake Shore Promenade.

Magnuson Beach Bares and NAC need to know how many people are coming in order to know how much food to bring. If you wish to help move this project forward, RSVP by contacting Mark Storey or Daniel Johnson with an e-mail to


This NAC Advisory is an invitation for local naturists and others to participate in an exciting project intended to expand clothing-optional opportunities.

The Naturist Action Committee is not asking you to contact officials or take any other specific action at this time. Watch for NAC Action Alerts, Advisories and Updates on this important matter.


For more information on Magnuson Beach Bares and direction to the park, see .


The Naturist Action Committee exists to advance and protect the rights and interests of naturists throughout North America. Since its inception more than 15 years ago, NAC has consistently and successfully supported the responsible nude use of public lands. The activist programs of the Naturist Action Committee rely entirely on the voluntary support of involved naturists. Please donate generously with a check to:

PO Box 132
Oshkosh, WI 54903

Or use your credit card to make a direct donation online through NAC's Web site:

Thank you for choosing to make a difference.


Bob Morton
Executive Director
Naturist Action Committee

Naturist Action Committee (NAC)
- PO Box 132, Oshkosh, WI 54903

Executive Dir. Bob Morton -
Board Member Mark Storey -
Online Rep. Dennis Kirkpatrick -

Thursday, August 3, 2006

NAC Update: Good News! California - American River


Specifically, the park officials have acknowledged that they had initially pursued a wrong path when they sought to prohibit skinny-dipping and nude sunbathing along the American River. Existing California Parks protocols provide a way to manage FOR nude recreation in traditional areas. Both Galloway and Nakaji have now expressed their commitment to those protocols, including the Cahill Policy, a proven field-level method of managing clothing-optional recreation in the California Park system.

Cahill allows rangers to insist that naturist users get dressed for a time when a complaint is received, but Galloway and Nakaji have promised to exercise discretion in considering and processing whatever complaints may be made.

This is an enormous turnaround from the policy of aggressive elimination that characterized the Auburn SRA's approach toward nudity just two months ago.

The letter-writing campaign worked and now it's time to let NAC pursue more traditional methods to cement this position.

NAC has a Blog

The Naturist Action Committee, the legal advocacy arm of The Naturist Society, now has a blog on their website with a few interesting articles. Congratulations TNS and NAC. I look forward to seeing more articles and enhanced communication between NAC and naturists. Blogs are a great forum for getting information out and getting feedback in return.

One a related note, blogs for naturists are becoming more popular as evidenced by a French-language Nude Hiking blog . The pictures of landscapes alone are worth a visit. Encourage more nude bloggers by leaving a positive comment. We all like to think people are interested in what we, ourselves, enjoy.

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

High Voltage Power Lines and Digital Cameras

Hey . . . you take a lot of pics and get home to find out your images are all gone?

Well, that happened to me. Was up at Scenic Hot Springs with a friend and left me camera in my car . . . parked under the BPA power lines. Get back home to download some good photos I'd taken only to find that the camera wants to format the memory card. Panic.

Yank the card from the camera and try to explore it in the card reader of the laptop. Same thing. Card is unformatted, would I like to format it now. Even trying to mount it as a raw Linux device would let me explore bit-by-bit. The card was totally corrupted. What happened?

Got to thinking about it afterward . . . after getting over losing some 60 odd images. The day was a freaky thuderstorm/showers day. I'm quite familiar with the electromagnetic emmisions from the power lines (having had my compass gone haywire and the GPS totally confused while beneath those high-voltage lines). But I never thought about the memory card in my camera. Perhaps I expected the metal shell of the car to shield it (a faraday cage, if you wish). Nonetheless, the images were gone and a format required. The only reasonable explanation is for a power surge (lightening?) to have sent just enough magnetic moment through the metal shell of the car 65 ft below to corrupt the card.

So, I'm going to think twice about being anywhere near a power line when thunderstorms are about. And my camera ain't staying in the car like that.


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