NAC Update
San Onofre State Beach
NAC Wins Lawsuit for Writ

August 27, 2008








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                     NATURIST ACTION COMMITTEE
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: August 27, 2008
SUBJECT: NAC wins San Onofre lawsuit!
TO: Naturists and other concerned citizens

Dear Naturist,

The Naturist Action Committee is pleased to make you aware of an important new development in the battle to preserve a portion of San Onofre State Beach for clothing-optional use.

A California Superior Court has ruled today in favor of the Naturist Action Committee (NAC) in its lawsuit against the California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR). DPR had attempted earlier this year to bypass state law regarding changes to public regulations, as it moved precipitously to end the traditional clothing-optional use of a small portion of San Onofre State Beach in San Diego County.

In May, DPR announced its intent to begin citing beachgoers for nudity at San Onofre, a site that has been used by skinny-dippers and nude sunbathers for decades. DPR's most recent timetable called for citations to be issued after Labor Day. However, in today's ruling, the court declared, "Dept of Parks must comply with the provisions of the California Administrative Procedures Act before it makes any changes in its enforcement."

Further, the Court said, "until the administrative process is completed, Parks shall maintain the status quo, and enforce the Cahill Policy as it has done since its issuance and subsequent interpretation by the Harrison letter, at Trail 6 in San Onofre State Beach."

NAC filed the lawsuit in July as a result of the Department's recent attempt to put an abrupt end to traditional clothing-optional use at San Onofre State Beach. Specifically, DPR had attempted local recision of its own long-standing policy of managing clothing-optional usage in State Parks. That policy, issued in 1979 by then-DPR Director Russell Cahill, set out a procedure for management of clothing-optional portions of State Parks. The regulation not only addresses nudity in State Parks, but also allows for designation for clothing-optional areas.

The Cahill Policy, as it became known, was cited as Park Department policy in a California Superior Court case (People v. Bost, 1988) and was affirmed in 1988 as the operational administrative procedure for California State Parks in a letter written by then-DPR Deputy Director Jack Harrison.

The California Department of Parks and Recreation had argued recently that the Cahill Policy does not constitute a public regulation, and that DPR's sudden attempt to change public policy without public input was immune from the requirements of the State's Administrative Procedures Act.

The ruling in NAC's lawsuit was issued today, Wednesday, August 27, 2008, by Judge Sheila Fell of the California Superior Court for Orange County. The Court declared that “the Cahill Policy, as interpreted by the Harrison letter, is a regulation."

Represented by attorney Elva Kopacz, the Naturist Action Committee maintained in its lawsuit that in abrogating the Cahill Policy, the Department of Parks and Recreation had violated the state’s Administrative Procedures Act. The APA requires state agencies to go through prescribed procedures, including public hearings, before making changes to regulations or public policies that have the force of regulations. The DPR did none of those things and had claimed to be immune from the requirement.

Joining NAC as petitioners are Friends of San Onofre Beach (the local TNS-affiliated naturist group), as well as individual beach users Allen Baylis and Gerda Hayes.


Details of this situation and specifics of the Cahill Policy and associated documents may be found on the Web page:


The Naturist Action Committee is in this for the long haul. Today's win is gratifying, but no one should imagine that California's Department of Park and Recreation will simply go away. NAC filed its lawsuit only after its attempts to negotiate with DPR had been rebuffed. Looking forward, NAC will renew, in good faith, its offer to negotiate.

DPR may choose to proceed with its attempt to ban nudity at San Onofre. If the Department follows the law, there will be public hearings on the matter and other opportunities for the public to be heard. You can count on NAC to make you aware of those developments.

Meanwhile, the Court has said that DPR must operate the Trail 6 area at San Onofre State Beach as it did before it attempted to ban clothing-optional use there.

NAC says: Enjoy the beach!


This is a NAC Update. No additional letters to DPR Director Coleman are being sought at this time. However, NAC does request that you:

  1) Stay informed. NAC will continue to issue Action Alerts, Advisories and Updates on this issue as circumstances require. Look for them.

  2) Keep going to the beach at San Onofre, and keep using it in the traditional clothing-optional manner. CA Parks is attempting to intimidate beachgoers into simply evaporating. We must NOT allow that to happen!

  3) Respect the beach. DPR has attempted to characterize the beach at San Onofre as place that accommodates illicit sex. Please stand up for proper clothing-optional beach etiquette!

  4) If you are approached by a ranger on the beach or in the parking area at San Onofre, make a detailed note of the encounter, including the date, the time, the ranger's name and what was said. E-mail your account to:

Do not be combative or confrontational, but you may make it quite clear that you are taking notes.


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


NAC is committed to the defense of traditional clothing-optional use of public land. NAC does not hesitate to hire lawyers and lobbyists when it’s necessary, but that can be very expensive. NAC does not have a membership roster on which it can simply assess dues. NAC relies entirely on the voluntary support of people like YOU.

Won’t you please send a generous donation to:

   PO Box 132
   Oshkosh, WI 54903

Or call toll free (800) 886-7230 (8AM-4PM, Central Time, weekdays) 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.


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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