UPDATE: Naturist Activities Still Threatened in Wisconsin

UPDATE: Naturist Activities Still Threatened in Wisconsin

Depending on where you read your news, you might be led to believe that the Wisconsin anti nudity fight is over, but the war is far from over with continuing attempts to criminalize public nudity throughout the state. 

Yes, of the four introduced anti nudity bills, the two Senate bills went through committees and public hearings before being passed by the Senate. Then sent to the Assembly, they were being reviewed by the Rules Committee when the Assembly adjourned at the closure of the legislative session. Running out of time, the bills were neither defeated nor enacted. (For an excellent recap of the Wisconsin situation, please see Planet Nude’s article: “Wisconsin’s legislative halt brings a tentative victory for naturist rights”.) 

But meanwhile, coinciding with these legislative bills, the much less understood proposed Section 37 additions to Chapter NR 45 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code are still in the FINAL STAGES of approval. These rules being promulgated by the Department of Natural Resources have similar anti nudity language and impact any naturist use on ALL lands managed or controlled by the DNR. The targeted public lands include well known clothing optional Mazo Beach, previously used by around 70,000 visitors a year until closed by the DNR in 2016. The DNR’s intention is to keep the beach closed until their proposed anti nudity changes are approved. This move not only impacts Mazo Beach but also sets a restrictive precedent for naturist activities throughout Wisconsin. 

To clarify: Chapter NR 45, Wis. Adm. Code, governs the conduct of visitors to the lands and facilities owned, eased, or leased by the department, and SECTION 37 establishes a specific prohibition of going nude in public on department managed lands and defines nudity. The following proposed rule change (from PR­03­20) explains the intended renumbering and amending of NR 45.04 – 

SECTION 37. NR 45.04 (3) (am) 1. and 2. are created to read: NR 45.04 (3) (am) Nudity. 

►1. In this section, “nude” or “nudity” means being clothed or unclothed in such a manner that the person’s genitals, pubic hair, buttocks, perineum, anus, anal region, or pubic hair region of any person, or any portion of the breast at or below the upper edge of the areola thereof of any female person, is exposed to public view or is not covered by an opaque covering. 

►2. No person may appear, bathe, sunbathe, walk, or otherwise be nude on any lands under the management, supervision, or control of the department. This does not apply to breastfeeding by nursing parents and does not apply in any of the following areas not open to public view: restrooms, bath houses, showers, changing facilities, or privately­owned camping units. 

After a virtual hearing and final comment period in December (a big THANK YOU to all who commented) where 26 out of 27 public comments opposed the proposed section 37 nudity ban, the DNR still proceeded with these changes. Then came committee approval, as well as approvals from the Natural Resources Board and the Governor. The proposed rules are now being reviewed by the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy and the Assembly Committee on Forestry, Parks and Outdoor Recreation. The committees have various options regarding how to proceed, and the future path of the rules depends on what the committees decide. 

As the landscape continues to quickly evolve, our commitment to vigilance, advocacy, and solidarity remains essential. Whether you reside in­state or out of state, NAC needs your assistance in trying to prevent these rules from being finalized and enacted. Please call NAC at 920-415-2900 now to find out the best specific ways you can be part of attempting to stop this assault on naturist rights. 

There is still much to do in a very short period of time. For instance, at present NAC is specifically requesting any Wisconsin residents living in the following districts to contact NAC immediately at 920-415-2900. (Senate districts 2, 16, 22, 29, & 30 and Assembly districts 3, 23, 25, 29, 34, 35, 36, 54, 57, 59, 74, 79, 80, 87, & 92). 

For over 30 years, NAC has played a critical role in monitoring legislative activities and coordinating responses to threats against naturist freedoms. This is far from the first time that the DNR or other opposition has attempted to change State Statutes or Administrative Rules, be it by introducing anti nudity bills, attempting to sneak last minute additions into the state budget, etc. We encourage all who are committed to the cause to engage with us at NAC, offer your support, and be ready to mobilize swiftly to participate in public hearings or dialogues or in other ways that could shape the future of naturism in Wisconsin. 

Please stay Informed and Involved: If you have not already done so, sign up for free NAC alerts and newsletters to stay updated on this issue and be able to receive further guidance on opposing these restrictive rules. 

Spread the Word: Inform other naturists and supportive communities about these developments and encourage them to take action. 

Your Participation is Crucial: Your voice and action are vital in opposing these rule changes. The collective effort of the naturist community can make a significant impact in preserving our rights and freedoms. Let’s continue to unite and express our opposition to these restrictive measures.