NAC Action Alert
San Onofre State Beach

May 21, 2008






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                     NATURIST ACTION COMMITTEE
                           ACTION ALERT
Copyright 2008 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: May 21, 2008
SUBJECT: California: San Onofre State Beach
TO: Naturists and other concerned citizens

Dear Naturist,

This is an Action Alert from the Naturist Action Committee. NAC is asking for your immediate help in responding to a serious threat in the state of California.

NAC has learned that Ruth Coleman, Director of California’s Department of Parks and Recreation, has abruptly revoked the application of the Department’s Cahill Policy, as it applies to clothing-optional portions of San Onofre State Beach in San Diego County. Rangers have been told to begin “educating” beachgoers, starting June 1. The issuing of citations for nudity in the traditional clothing-optional area is to follow after 30 days.


NAC urgently requests that you contact the Director of CA Parks to express your vigorous opposition to this disastrous change in policy. Detailed contact information is included below. However, so that your contact with the Director’s office will have the greatest impact, please first take a couple of moments to learn about this situation.


Since 1979, the California Department of Parks and Recreation has operated under a policy put in place by then-DPR Director Russ Cahill. The policy came in the form of a memo issued to senior staff, explaining Cahill’s decision not to designate clothing-optional areas in state parks. It also directed that citations for nudity in state parks would only be issued following a complaint and a failure to comply after a subsequent warning.

The policy has been in continuous effect since it was issued. It figured prominently in an important court case (California v. Bost) and was reaffirmed by CA Parks Deputy Director Jack Harrison in 1988.

Details of the Cahill memo, the Bost case and the Harrison letter are included on the NAC Web site, along with the text of California Code of Regulations, Title 14, Section 4322, which is the authority under which the Director proposes citing those who are nude at San Onofre.


Naturists are always alert to the negative effect that illicit sexual activity can have on clothing-optional beaches. The regulars at many clothing-optional areas are quite effective at educating and discouraging those who would endanger the beach through sexual activities. At San Onofre, the problem has been diminished greatly in recent years, due in large part to those who really care about continued clothing-optional use of the beach.

The traditional clothing-optional beach at San Onofre is adjacent to Camp Pendleton, a Marine Corps training base. Although those who wander onto the military base are subject to arrest for trespass, the area is lightly patrolled. For those who seek sex in the open, the military beach has become the site of choice, and the razor wire field fencing at the property line has proved to be no obstacle. Naturists have shown reluctance to pursue the scofflaws onto the military base, and State Park Rangers have no authority there.

Recent retirements among those in the CA Parks management team responsible for San Onofre have brought replacements who are intolerant of clothing-optional recreation. Instead of encouraging and allowing the cooperation of naturists in policing illicit activity, Rich Haydon, the new manager who took over at the beginning of this month, has featured the nearby sexual activity in his reports, using it as an excuse to request permission to put an end to recreational nudity at the beach. Haydon has reportedly represented to his superiors that a majority of those who come to enjoy the clothing-optional beach are participants in illicit sex there.

The response from CA Parks headquarters in Sacramento was the revocation of the Cahill Policy as it applies to San Onofre. The Department is reportedly seeking to insulate itself from sexual harassment claims by park employees who have complained recently of a "sexually-charged atmosphere." That sort of complaint is customarily reserved for employer-employee or co-employee interaction, and it inappropriately ignores the fact that State Park rangers are peace officers with a duty to arrest those who engage in illicit activities.


At the present time, only San Onofre State Beach is affected by this change in policy. The real possibility that the same thing may happen at other California state parks is, of course, an ominous specter.


The Naturist Action Committee recognizes the severity of this situation and has taken quick action.

  1) NAC has submitted to CA Parks a formal request for an administrative stay on implementation of this abrupt change in policy.

  2) NAC has made Public Records requests for documents pertaining to this situation and the administrative action surrounding it.

  3) NAC is retaining a lobbyist to assist and advise it in the often-difficult area of regulatory procedure.

  4) NAC has retained legal representation and has begun the process that may ultimately result in civil action against the State of California and the Department of Parks and Recreation.

  5) From the onset of this situation, NAC has been working closely with Friends of San Onofre Beach, the local user group. NAC and FOSOB will be meeting with CA Parks officials this week on this matter.


The Naturist Action Committee is asking you to contact the Director of CA Parks to express your concern and outrage over this turn of events. NAC is also asking you to attend a rally at San Onofre this coming Saturday.


NAC is requesting ALL NATURISTS and other concerned individuals to contact the Director of Parks and Recreation, regardless of your place of residence. California understands the importance of out-of-state visitors who come to enjoy the state’s beaches, lakes and streams. The change in policy applies to those visitors, as well as to California residents. While all are encouraged to make their voices heard, the participation of Californians is, of course, particularly important.

Send a letter, a fax or an e-mail, or make a phone call.

     Director Ruth Coleman
     Dept. of Parks and Recreation
     1416 Ninth Street,
     Sacramento, CA 95816

     DIRECTOR’S OFFICE TELEPHONE: (916) 653-8380
     DIRECTOR’S OFFICE FAX: (916) 657-3903

NAC encourages you to send copies of your faxes and paper mail to:
      NAC, P.O. Box 132, Oshkosh, WI 54903.
Send copies of your e-mails to:

When you write or call:

   a) Be polite. You have a right to be outraged, but you will achieve nothing positive by name-calling or rudeness.

   b) Be known. Give your name and address. If you are a California resident or a frequent visitor to California, point that out.

   c) Be focused. Keep your call or your correspondence brief and on target.

   d) Be clear. Say that you OPPOSE the revocation of the Cahill Policy at San Onofre State Beach in San Diego County.

Additional talking / writing points:

   a) The precipitous change to public policy was done without public input. That’s not an acceptable way to administer public resources.

   b) The so-called “solution” does not address the real problem.

   c) A recent public opinion poll (the 2006 NEF/Roper Poll, commissioned by the Naturist Education Foundation and conducted by the Roper polling organization) shows that a majority of Americans favor the setting aside of public lands for clothing-optional recreation.

   d) In that same poll, an impressive 74 percent of Americans believe that people who enjoy nude sunbathing should be able to do so without  interference from local officials as long as they do so at a beach that is accepted for that purpose.

   e) Rangers and park managers must NOT confuse simple nudity with lewd behavior. Rangers presently have the authority to stop lewd activity, and that authority does not require the abrupt discontinuation of a long-standing policy that has worked well for years and years.


In close cooperation with Friends of San Onofre, NAC urges you to attend a rally at the beach on Saturday, May 24, 2008. Bring your own handmade signs to carry, if you wish. NAC will be providing a number of “Nude Beaches YES!” signs for participants.

This is an important event for those who are outraged at the Director’s action and who believe San Onofre Beach is worth saving! If you’re close enough to make it, please show up around 10 AM. Parking is limited.


Additional information and links are available, along with this NAC Action Alert on the web site of the Naturist Action Committee.

Select "Alerts" and find this NAC Action Alert under Current Alerts.


The Naturist Action Committee is the volunteer nonprofit political adjunct to The Naturist Society. NAC exists to advance and protect the rights and interests of naturists throughout North America. Fighting for the clothing-optional recreational use of public land is expensive. To do its job, NAC relies entirely on the voluntary generosity of supporters like you.

After you've contacted the Director of CA Parks, please take a moment to send a donation to:

   PO Box 132
   Oshkosh, WI 54903

Or call toll free (800) 886-7230 to donate by phone using your MasterCard, Visa or Discover Card. Or use your credit card to make a convenient online donation:

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 Allen Baylis      -
Online Rep. Dennis Kirkpatrick  -

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