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NAC Update
Seattle, Washington

November 14, 2008

PREVIOUS NAC COMMUNIQUÉS ON THIS TOPIC

OFFICIAL CORRESPONDENCE

SEATTLE PARKS & REC STRATEGIC ACTION PLAN

ARCHIVED VIDEO OF THE MEETING

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                     NATURIST ACTION COMMITTEE
                             UPDATE
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http://www.naturistaction.org
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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: November 14, 2008
SUBJECT: Seattle, WA
TO: All naturists

Dear Naturist,

Very good news! The Naturist Action Committee offers this Update concerning a proposed ban on nudity in the public parks of Seattle, Washington. The Board of Parks Commissioners received the proposal at its regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, November 13.

The Board has rejected the anti-nudity proposal. The matter has been removed from the Board's agenda for future meetings.

NAC board member Mark Storey attended the meeting, and he addressed the Commissioners on behalf of naturists and others who oppose the proposed prohibiting of nudity.

MARK STOREY'S REPORT

Mark has filed this narrative report:

The Seattle Parks Board of Commissioners met Thursday evening in Seattle's Park Headquarters, in part, to receive a staff-generated proposal for a ban on nudity in Seattle parks. Approximately 20 nudity-friendly men and women attended the meeting, hoping to express their disfavor with the ban proposed by Seattle Parks. After preliminary discussion by Parks Superintendent Tim Gallagher, board Vice Chair Jackie Ramels informed the audience that no public input would be accepted that evening on the topic of the proposed ban, and that everyone would have an opportunity to speak his or her mind on January 8 when the board had scheduled a public hearing for the ban.

Naturists in the audience were disappointed, but I had heard about this policy shortly before the meeting, and signed up to speak anyway. When Ramels asked if I was hoping to speak about nudity, I said, "No, I had no wish to address the proposed ban. I instead wished to praise the board for the Seattle Parks Strategic Action Plan Summary of Public Feedback that I had received that day. Gallagher laughed, and waved me up to the podium, saying, "Bring him up here!"

The only person to speak from the audience, I thanked the Parks Department for organizing such an efficient means of receiving public input a couple of months ago, when they wanted to hear what users of Seattle parks wanted done in the upcoming five years. I said that my wife and I had attended two of the meetings, and were impressed with how well they were run. I was also impressed with the detail of the report, and how among those expressing interest in off-leash dog areas, swimming pools, green spaces, and other public uses, the one item of interest that outranked all of them was the amazing outpouring of interest in developing a clothing-optional beach at a Seattle Park. Where other requests came in batches of two or a half dozen, the number of comments favoring clothing-optional beaches stretched across 22 pages! I did not remind them that NAC had sent out an Action Alert six months ago, and that many of the comments may have been inspired by NAC. I wanted the board to have clear in their minds in the minutes to come that there were many, many people in Seattle who liked the idea of at least some toleration for nudity in public parks.

I concluded my two-minute address by saying that NAC and local groups looked forward to conferring with Seattle Parks in determining how best to accommodate this broad-ranging user group. I could not tell if the board was amused or not, but Ramels asked the next couple of potential speakers if they too planned on talking about "the Strategic Plan." All seemed ready to let the board hear from Seattle Parks, and changing the agenda to account for the audience's clear interest in nudity issues, move directly to the proposal.

Seattle Parks Strategic Advisor Karen Tsao presented the proposal for the ban, sounding a little nervous, but graciously sympathetic to those naturists sitting around her. The board immediately, though calmly, questioned the need for such a ban. Were there really so many complaints about nudity? And what about all those people who seem to enjoy it? Couldn't Seattle Parks accommodate skinny-dippers by providing a designated portion of beach with signs alerting passersby to the clothing-optional policy there?

Some on the board wished to hear from the public in coming weeks, to hear why so many people clearly wanted a clothing-optional beach. They also wanted to hear why some felt offended. Ramels moved, however, that the board reject the ban for now, to urge Seattle Parks to continue to give use permits as they have in the past (e.g., to naturist groups or for naked bike rides), and to limit future permits to groups who allowed problems to arise or who generated too many complaints. She-and most of the board-felt that a case by case approach to specific groups was better than an overarching ban on nudity in city parks.

Board member Terry Holme made the point that there is a clear distinction between the evening's proposed ban and the loud call for a clothing-optional beach. While he agreed that the ban was ill-advised at the moment, Seattle Parks should also be open to discussion about accommodating those who wish to sunbathe or skinny-dip in Seattle.

This was outstanding! NAC and its body-accepting friends entered this meeting fearing Seattle Parks would ban nudity, and we walked out with the Parks Board saying "no" to the ban and charging Seattle Parks to enter into discussion about creating the state's first officially sanctioned nude beach!

Be assured that NAC and its local allies will be presenting naturist-friendly alternatives to Seattle Parks in the days and weeks to come. In a follow-up NAC Advisory we'll let people know how they can send emails or letters to Seattle Parks to support this effort, even with the cancellation of the now no longer needed January 8 public hearing. For tonight, know that your amazing response to NAC Alerts calling for comments on Seattle Parks' Strategic Plan and for attendance at tonight's meeting has paid off better than in any single project I've been involved with.

MORE INFORMATION AND RESOURCES

Additional information and links are available, along with this NAC Action Alert on the web site of the Naturist Action Committee. Go to: www.naturistaction.org and then select "Alerts" to find this NAC Update under Current Updates. NAC will distribute new information on this important situation as it develops. 

PLEASE HELP NAC TO CONTINUE HELPING NATURISTS!

The Naturist Action Committee is a volunteer nonprofit organization that exists to advance and protect the rights of naturists throughout North America. To do its job, NAC relies entirely on the voluntary generosity of supporters like you. Please donate generously to NAC.

     NAC
     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: www.naturistaction.org/donate/

Thank you for choosing to make a difference.

Naturally,

Bob Morton
Executive Director
Naturist Action Committee

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Naturist Action Committee (NAC) - PO Box 132, Oshkosh, WI 54903
Executive Dir. Bob Morton       -
execdir@naturistaction.org
Board Member Mark Storey       -
storey98@aol.com
Online Rep. Dennis Kirkpatrick  -
naturist@sunclad.com
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