NAC Advisory
California: Gaviota State Park
February 20, 2007


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                     NATURIST ACTION COMMITTEE
 Copyright 2007 by the Naturist Action Committee, which is responsible
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DATE:    February 20, 2007
SUBJECT: California: Gaviota State Park 
TO:      All naturists and other concerned individuals

Dear Naturist:

The Naturist Action Committee (NAC) wishes to make you aware of an important situation involving Gaviota State Park in California.

Acting on reports that park rangers were informing naturists that the traditionally clothing-optional beach was being closed to nudity, the Naturist Action Committee has become involved. NAC is working with officials of the California Department of Parks & Recreation and with local naturists to resolve the situation.


Naturist individuals, clubs and groups have proven to be a powerful grass roots force in dealing with California Parks. NAC believes you should be advised and informed, but NO ACTION is called for at this time. Watch for further NAC Action Alerts, Advisories and Updates on this topic.


Gaviota State Park is in Santa Barbara County, north of the city of Santa Barbara. The traditional clothing-optional beach within Gaviota State Park is known to some as San Onofre beach. Don't confuse it with the popular clothing-optional beach located at San Onofre State Park in northern San Diego County. Most locals simply refer to the clothing-optional beach within Gaviota State Park as "Gaviota."  The beach has enjoyed nude use for at least 40 years.

In late 2006, State Park Rangers, accompanied by Santa Barbara County sheriff's deputies, approached local naturists at the beach on several occasions. The rangers informed the beachgoers that, because of unspecified complaints of lewd conduct, the beach was being closed to all nudity. The rangers wrote down the names of the people at the beach and told them that if they were seen there nude again, they would be cited for nudity in the State Park.

Neither those warnings nor the attempt to prohibit nudity at the traditional clothing-optional beach were done in compliance with established California Parks policy.

In late December, a local beach regular contacted Southern California Naturist Association, and SCNA got NAC involved.


  1) Cahill Policy. On May 31, 1979, CA Parks Director Russell W. Cahill issued a memorandum addressing Park Department policy for clothing-optional activities within state parks. Briefly, the Cahill Policy says that enforcement of nude sunbathing regulations within the State Park System will be made only upon the complaint of a private citizen. Citations or arrests will be made only after attempts are made to elicit voluntary compliance with the regulations.

  2) Bost decision. On February 22, 1988, a California Superior Court formalized the Cahill Policy into precedent-setting case law, through its ruling in the appeal of the People of California v. Eric John Bost. The appeals court set aside Bost's conviction for nudity in a state park, largely because the procedures laid down the Cahill Policy had not been followed.

  3) Harrison letter. On June 14, 1988, CA Parks Deputy Director Jack V. Harrison acknowledged and accepted the precedent of the Bost case and stood behind the Cahill Policy in an important letter to nudist pioneer Cec Cinder.


After investigating the situation and conferring with Gary Mussel of SCNA, NAC board member Allen Baylis contacted the California Parks district superintendent responsible for Gaviota. Although supervisors and managers deny any plan to eliminate nudity at Gaviota, local and district CA Parks management seemed unaware of important departmental policy and legal precedent.

Baylis encouraged local naturists to form a beach support group, and in a telephone conference call arranged by NAC, the individuals came together formally as Friends of Gaviota (FOG). NAC Area Representative Dennis Smith is the new group's president.

Following up on his initial contact with the district superintendent, NAC's Baylis sent a letter that detailed the circumstances at Gaviota and pointed out that the Cahill/Harrison Policy certainly applied, but had not been followed. Further conversations between NAC and CA Parks officials have ensued, and Friends of Gaviota have now also met with Park Department managers.


This is an informational advisory only. The Naturist Action Committee is specifically asking that you do not take action at this time. Please watch for further NAC Action Alerts, Advisories and Updates on this topic.


You can access additional information on the Web site of the Naturist Action Committee.

Select "Alerts, Advisories and Updates." Under Current Advisories, you'll find the text of this NAC Advisory, along with links to the text of:

   existing California Parks law addressing nudity
   the Cahill Policy
   the Bost decision
   the Harrison letter


The Naturist Action Committee exists to advance and protect the rights and interests of naturists throughout North America. As the nonprofit volunteer political adjunct to The Naturist Society, NAC is a vigorous force at work on behalf of naturists.

The Naturist Action Committee relies entirely on your voluntary support. 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.


Allen Baylis
Board Member
Naturist Action Committee

Naturist Action Committee (NAC) - PO Box 132, Oshkosh, WI 54903
Executive Dir. Bob Morton       -
Board Member Allen Baylis       -
Online Rep. Dennis Kirkpatrick  -


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