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AANR's Commitment To Public Lands

AANR and TNS are equally committed to preserving and promoting increased opportunities for nude recreation on public lands.  In some instances, the two organizations have worked together on projects; in other cases, each guided by the strategists and attorneys for their organization, have pursued different routes to a common goal.

In the case of California, AANR has carried out several positive meetings and conversations with the California Department of Parks and Recreation over the past 2 years.  The intent of these meetings was to obtain willing cooperation in the designation of nude beaches at as many appropriate locations as possible.  The Naturist Action Committee pursued a different course and challenged the Department in court with regards to one specific beach, San Onofre.  It is inevitable that this confrontation did not foster a friendly relationship between the State and NAC. 

AANR chooses to work to continue to build a working relationship with the State and not to jeopardize a positive relationship it has taken years to build by signing on to a petition presented by an organization associated with legal confrontation.

AANR has spent thousands of dollars over the years to promote and protect nudity on public lands throughout North America, and will continue to take such action as is needed to do so.

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30 Responses to AANR's Commitment To Public Lands

  1. Chet Kresiak says:

    The AANR was wrong in letting San Onofre lose its clothing-optional status, and the NAC was right to fill a lawsuit to protect nudist/naturist rights. By effectively throwing San Onofre under the bus, AANR has made the situation in California worse.

    The people who manage the DPR are not our friends. Once they made the unilateral decision to end nudity at San Onofre, the only meaningful decision was to fight them in court. By failing to support the NAC lawsuit by pursuing a policy of appeasement, AANR allowed itself to be played as the sap.

    What tangible results have come from this “working relationship” with the DPR? Of what possible use to any nudist or naturist are the “several positive meetings and conversations”? It’s all smoke and mirrors.

    And once again, by failing to sign the current petition, AANR has turned its back on San Onofre. The organization needs to reevaluate its priorities when it comes to public lands issues since it does not seem to be willing to take the righteous and courageous stands necessary to defend naturist and nudist rights.

    More inaction and appeasement from an organization which boasts of spending “thousands of dollars” for absolutely nothing.

    And I for one am sick and tired of all the finger pointing between AANR and TNS over the past couple of years. I don’t know if it’s an ego problem or some sort of irrational political posturing, but this blame game is not serving the members of either organization.

    So shame on AANR for continuing to do nothing about San Onofre and putting all the blame on the NAC. I strongly urge AANR to admit its mistake and begin supporting all the grassroots organizations which are putting themselves on the front lines on this issue.

    Naturist Action Committee
    Friends of San Onofre Beach
    BeachFront U.S.A
    Black’s Beach Bares
    Friends of Gaviota
    San Diego Camping Bares
    Bay Area Naturists
    Clothes Free International
    Southern California Naturist Association
    Whales Cave Conservancy
    Naturists in the OC
    Laguna del Sol
    Nude Beach Alliance
    Living Waters Spa
    Naked Volleyball
    Central Coast Naturists

    http://www.naturistaction.org/AlertsAdvisoriesUpdates/ALERTS/CA_Parks_Petition_07-21-10/ca_parks_petition_07-21-10

  2. Susan Weaver says:

    It appears to me that AANR and TNS are pursuing the same goal through different paths. AANR has asked DPR to designate nude beaches in its meetings with the State; TNS has petitioned the State for the same action.

    If such designation of specific nude beaches takes place, both organizations will benefit from the fact that these identical requests coming from two separate directions have twice the power.

  3. Alan Christensen says:

    I agree AANR should admit it’s mistake and sign the petition.

    We, nudits/naturists, need to support one another in these fights. Nothing good came from the talks between AANR and the California Parks Department. The compromise effectively signed the death warrent of San Onofre Beach. That was wrong just plain wrong.

    There was and is a core group of users of this beach who have fought a heroic fight to keep this beach nude. We need to support them and be more inclusive. There are few enough nudists in the US as it is why would we want to splinter this small group? Is it because that AANR wants us all to join the club system and forget these beaches? I don’t know but that is the perception I get.

    If AANR wants us to believe that they truely support nude recreation on public lands a easy way to show it is to sign that petition.

  4. Chet Kresiak says:

    Susan, by refusing to sign the petition, AANR has sent a message that the banning of nudity at San Onofre was acceptable because your organization feels that it is no longer an “appropriate” venue for nude recreation. This stance is regressive and damaging to nudist and naturist rights in America. Swallow your pride and sign the petition.

    You use two words which undermine your point: “appears” and “if”. An organization like AANR needs to be more definitive and confident in its statements. Uncertainty and waffling is not the way to exert influence regarding nudist and naturist rights in America, which are eroding every day.

  5. Shirley Gauthier says:

    As an AANR member and former TNS member who at one time served as a NAC Representative it is my strong opinion that a lawsuit should have been the very last option.

    At the time that NAC filed the lawsuit I was highly involved as an AANR Government Affairs volunteer and never once saw any communication from NAC to AANR soliciting AANR support or opinion concerning the lawsuit. It seems that only after the fact does NAC want AANR support. One has to wonder why NAC did not consider a petition rather than the lawsuit in the first place. What advantage could we nudists achieve from signing a petition presented by an organization with legal confrontation.

    As a dues paying AANR member and current AANR Government Affairs Team (GAT) volunteer I support the AANR decision to distance themselves from the lawsuit and petition to keep the doors open and negotiations on the table.

    After volunteering for both organizations I made an educated and conscientious decision to budget my nudist dollars and volunteer time to AANR. AANR is the credible voice of reason for nude recreation. AANR continues to represent me in a way that puts value in my membership.

  6. Chet Kresiak says:

    Shirley, with all due respect, your comments here are nothing but AANR talking points.

    When the California DPR banned nudity at San Onofre, it closed those proverbial “doors” by declaring the Cahill policy invalid. When government takes unilateral action such as this, the only remedy is through the courts. Any other “talks” are meaningless because they are not legally binding.

    By making the conscious decision to “distance” itself from this important lawsuit and petition, AANR has placed itself in the almost unbelievable position of being anti-nudist.

  7. Mark says:

    I have been a beach volunteer with AANR for 8 years, and I’ve personally seen the differences between the way AANR and TNS approach beach issues. TNS promotes confrontations, and AANR pursues negotiations. Now when TNS’ strategy has failed, instead of swallowing its pride and changing course before more damage is done, they choose to find someone else to blame, which as usual is AANR. How convenient. And how sad for TNS to continue to damage the relationship between them and AANR while also alienating the CA Parks Dept. One wonders how long AANR will continue to allow itself to be used as a whipping boy.

  8. Chet Kresiak says:

    I invite all AANR members to go to the Naturist Action Committee page on San Onofre here to get the full story behind the fight that AANR has chosen to sit out.

    http://www.naturistaction.org/sanonofre/

  9. Chet Kresiak says:

    Here’s another NAC Update outlining the damage done by AANR in trying to appease the California Department of Parks and Recreation on the San Onofre issue.

    http://www.naturistaction.org/AlertsAdvisoriesUpdates/UPDATES/CA_San_Onofre_06-20-09/ca_san_onofre_06-20-09.html

    Personally I think that both organizations simply hate each other and will not cooperate on even the most obvious issues, such as sharing in on the annual skinny-dipping record. Well, it’s time to check these egos at the door and find some common ground here.

    On the San Onofre issue, the goal should be to reinstate nudity at the beach. Whether it’s a lawsuit, or a petition, or mass civil disobedience, this should be the common purpose. AANR has clearly chosen to throw San Onofre under the bus and try and secure more “remote” and “appropriate” locations for public nude recreation in California. The damage done to nudists and naturists through this policy could take decades to overcome.

    There are many people and grassroots organizations who are putting themselves on the line at San Onofre. It’s scandalous that the “credible voice” for nude recreation would have so much spite that it would turn its back on the very people it relies on for existence.

  10. Chet Kresiak says:

    Mark, the TNS strategy has not failed. Yes, there was a setback in the courts, but now a petition is moving forward and all efforts will be made to restore nudity at San Onofre legally so that generations to come can enjoy freedom. What has failed here is AANR’s appeasement policy which has not yielded one scintilla of success in either restoring nude recreation at San Onofre, or on any other piece of public land in California.

    No, the fight is clearly at San Onofre and the battle wages on, with or without AANR and its strange anti-nudity policies.

  11. Mark says:

    “AANR did this, AANR didn’t do that.” Wow, people sure give AANR all the power, don’t they? You’d think these people would want to join such an all-powerful organization. That way, they could make sure AANR used its power the right way. But no, these people just want to blame someone else when things go wrong. What a waste of time and energy.

    I have a quote on my wall:

    “When a wise person suffers, she asks herself,
    ‘What can I do to be free from this suffering?
    Who can help me? What have I done to free
    myself from this suffering?’

    But when a foolish person suffers, she asks herself,
    ‘Who has wronged me? How can I show others I am
    the victim of wrongdoing? How can I punish others
    who have caused my suffering?'”

    –Bhudda

    TNS and many of its members could benefit from this advice. You all need to take the power for yourselves and use it wisely.

  12. Chet Kresiak says:

    Just wanted to tip my hat to AANR for allowing opposing comments on this issue. It’s very important for all sides to be heard.

  13. Mark says:

    Chet, et al;

    I have to smile sadly at these posts which bemoan the finger-pointing between our organizations, and proceed to point the finger at AANR in the next breath. Nobody’s buying it. If these posts had even the slightest mention of the good AANR does, you would at least come off as being level-headed. But you’re all too busy having a fit to present a balanced view.

    Do you seriously hope to win AANR members over to your side with these anti-AANR rants? Perhaps you’d like to sue us into signing your little petition?

    Why don’t you redirect that energy into something productive. Working on the issue at hand is harder now that a lawsuit has shut down any communication, but maybe other relationships could be made that would help the cause?

    Maybe there’s another organization out there that would work with you? But beware, they might have some ideas of their own. So the old,”It’s my way or the highway” approach probably won’t work any better with them than it did with us.

    Maybe if you sent some flowers, that group would like it. And “Thank You” notes are always appreciated. Direct them to those in leadership positions. Meanwhile I’ll be out on my beach, working with park staff to keep it clean and open.

  14. Chet Kresiak says:

    Mark, the “finger pointing” is going on between the two organizations. AANR blames NAC, NAC blames AANR. One expects a higher level of professionalism from both groups, especially on a watershed issue such as San Onofre.

    And yes, I am being critical of AANR on this thread. There is no question of all the good done by AANR, TNS and the NAC, but that is not the subject at hand.

    My wife and I are members of AANR and have a full membership in a local landed club. I am not suggesting that there is need for another organization, only that AANR is dead wrong on this particular issue.

    I’m all for having an honest discussion on THIS ISSUE, but putting words in my mouth, making straw man arguments, and resorting to sarcasm does not add to civil discourse.

    Argue the facts, which have been laid out clearly by me and the links to the NAC pages on San Onofre, and convince me that AANR has done the right thing by turning its back on San Onofre, not once, but now twice.

  15. Ken Freehiker says:

    My wife and I are AANR members living at Olive Dell Ranch in California. San Onofre was our favorate beach, and the NAC approach seems now to be the only hope for saving it. AANR’s approach seems to be to abandon the beach in favor of some yet to be identified “remote” location. I’m very disinchanted by AANR’s failure to support one of the very few nude beaches left in California.

  16. Paul Kempf says:

    The loss of San Onofre Beach as well as Black’s Beach to naturism would be tragic. It’s evident to me that if AANR, as the most visible representative of the nudist community, does not lodge an objection to a government policy or proposal restricting nudity, that government will feel free to be guided by the views of those on the other side. Was that the case here?
    Apart from the specific case of San Onofre, as an AANR member I’d be curious to learn more of the specifics of AANR’s past efforts and current action plan to preserve and expand nudism on public lands and elsewhere off the grounds of its landed member clubs. What specific evidence can AANR offer of its commitment to nudism as a normal recreational modality? What successes has it achieved in this regard?

  17. Scott Tucker says:

    I think it’s high time to stop the name calling and everyone get on the same page here. I belong to neither organization, but as an outsider it does seem to me that the AANR has done liitle or nothing to advance the cause of San Onofre. It is hard for me to fathom how one canget more remote than SanO, so AANR and the DPR’s statements avout the remotness of SanO hold no value whatsoever. As an outsider, I have been watching all the various nudity issues throughout the Country, and it seems to me that the AANR is only concerned about their sanctioned resorts. All of the AANR’s alleged actions regarding not only SaO but other California non-resort venues have mostly achieved nothing. As a single male who has difficulty gaining access to resorts due to their single male policies, the beach is my only option, and now that’s gone. Thank’s a bunch for your support AANR, at least the TNS/NAC did SOMETHING.

  18. Lee says:

    My observation is that AANR stands around and represents pretty much only fee-taking naturist clubs and expects TNS to do any real dirty work. I think the only thing AANR really does, or wants to do, is to control and sell the right to be nude, on it’s own affiliate properties, of course.

    It is quite regrettable that TNS/NAC’s approach to San Onofre backfired, but it’s hardly like AANR hasn’t done quite similarly before (remember the youth camps article disaster?…). What has happened at San Onofre is a travesty and for AANR to try to blame TNS/NAC (or vice-versa for that matter) for it is inexcusable. You say you support some other beach to “replace” San Onofre, but my bet is you won’t do a single thing to pursue that agenda, as long as it doesn’t involve money coming your way. As I see it your intent is quite clear. Do nothing, unless you’re getting somebody to pay YOU for their right to be nude. I’m not impressed.

  19. Tom says:

    My thoughts also. It appears that AANR is a strictly for profit driven. Hopefully they will prove me wrong.

  20. Guy says:

    I just want to be brief and say that I think any naturist organization, including the AANR, should be fighting tooth and nail to protect our rights as nudists. Allowing a beach to be closed on the premise that we’ll find another, more remote location later is not acceptable and should be fought vehemently.

    I truly appreciate the work these groups do to protect our rights but feel that sometimes more needs to be done. I also feel that we need to work on getting more beaches & public lands designated for nude recreation.

    So basically I would like to see the AANR work harder to protect our existing rights and not let them disappear in the hopes they can replace them with something else. We count on you to protect and enhance our rights.

    I also think it’s time the two major groups, TNS and AANR learn to work together as they would be much more powerful if they did. Not working together is childish and needs to be remedied.

    Thank you

  21. Roger says:

    As an AANR member, I’m very disappointed in their stance.

    Kind of reminds me of the time before the beginning of WWII (not that I’m comparing the actual events). Europe and the west took the path of appeasement until there was nothing left to appease the Germans.

    Government is much the same. The only thing government beauracracies understand is bad press and public opinion that is against them.

    I would love to know when, if ever, the AANR approach has worked to get a local, state or federal agency to see things their way and designate anywhere as a clothing optional or nude area? I’m not talking about a token designation of some obscure piece of property, I meant the property that nudists had been using for years and years. If its never happened, then obviously their approach of buttock kissing and glad handing is a waste of time.

    I think I will send my money to the NAC next year. I want to see results and at a bare a minimum the organizations I support need to take a stand against this continual encroachment on our responsible expression of freedom.

  22. Mike Scoggins says:

    Were there some tactical errors in the approach taken? Probably. At least from the standpoint of saving the beach. I have seen so much anger about the issue but very little in the way of volunteering for service to the cause. I can tell you from personal experience that policy change only come after victories and losses, AANR is for the first time representing nudism as a mainstream activity. To declare outright war at this point would spend a large part of the political capital they have earned. Would it be a good idea to review strategy? Of course, work with the other groups, absolutely. If there are things this organization can do to save the beach they should go for it. But if it winds up as polarizing and radicalizing issue outside of this forum the way it is inside of it then caution should be taken to prevent setting the cause of nudism back 30 years.

  23. Chet Kresiak says:

    Mike, it was the California DPR’s action of banning nudity at San Onofre which set “the cause of nudism back 30 years”. AANR’s appeasement policy AFFIRMED that setback. What could possibly be more polarizing than government closing nude beaches on trumped-up statistics without any sort of public hearing?

    The latest NAC Newsletter is available online here: http://www.naturistaction.org/newsletter/Newsletter_08-10.pdf

    “NAC invited California naturist and nudist clubs, groups and organizations to sign a formal petition requesting designation at State Park units throughout the state. The following sixteen signatories appear on the petition:
    Naturist Action Committee, Friends of San Onofre Beach, BeachFront U.S.A, Black’s Beach Bares, Friends of Gaviota, San Diego Camping Bares, Bay Area Naturists, Clothes Free International, Southern California Naturist Association. Whales Cave Conservancy, Naturists in the OC, Laguna del Sol, Nude Beach Alliance, Living Waters Spa, Naked Volleyball, Central Coast Naturists

    Among those whom NAC asked to sign the petition were the American Association for Nude Recreation and its regional affiliate, AANR-West. AANR has said publicly that it supports clothing-optional recreation in places that are officially set aside for that purpose. The petition asks specifically for the official setting aside of appropriate areas for clothing-optional recreation in California State Parks. Regardless, AANR and AANR-West both refused to sign. Neither has offered an explanation.”

    Well, AANR has offered a very weak explanation for not signing the petition, saying it does not want to “jeopardize” its positive relationship with the DPR by aligning itself with a litigious organization like the NAC.

    My opinion is that AANR simply does not have the mettle to stand up for naturist rights. The San Onofre situation is a watershed event, and AANR won’t support any substantive and meaningful action to bring nude recreation back to this particular beach, instead preferring to forfeit this particular location for some more “appropriate and remote” area in the future. This is basically an admission that the nudist lifestyle is inherently inappropriate and must be practiced behind locked gates and high fences.

    A beach IS THE MOST APPROPRIATE VENUE FOR NUDE RECREATION. Sunbathing and swimming without clothing is how people behaved since the dawn of time until the invention of the bathing suit in the 1800s. Gradually that bathing suit has devolved from full body cotton woolies to the flimsiest of bikinis and speedos. Full nudity is the logical next step.

    AANR, TNS, NAC, and all other bona fide nudist groups should band together and create a Haulover-type beach for the west coast. The mission needs to be clear, not muddied down by political infighting and egotistical posturing.

  24. Mike Scoggins says:

    Chet, I couldn’t agree more that political posturing is not helpful. I also believe that if we enter a room and our first words are insults the next word would never be heard over the anger. Since the first posting stating that finger pointing and the blame game were counterproductive, nothing short of finger pointing has occurred. As I said before tactical errors have undoubtedly been made. I stand by my previous statement that political maneuvering may be seen as an alternative to legal maneuvering. The court of public opinion is actually more important than the court of appeals. I know that a public relations campaign is more productive than a legal one. I have never lobbied or organized for nudist causes before but I have spent almost 20 years lobbying state agencies and government on multiple issues. Full time, I can qualify my opinions. There needs to be a full blown pr campaign. Once public opinion is firm then the political opinions are changed in the Capitol. It is not as flashy as protests and lawsuits and it takes longer to get into the press but the results are more lasting because you have established a larger base. Once your cause or organization is labeled litigious you will be sidelined in the court of public opinion. Good luck and remember we are all trying to achieve the same thing.

  25. Chet Kresiak says:

    Mike,

    “Finger pointing”, as I understand it, is deflecting blame elsewhere, away from oneself. Both AANR and the NAC have been engaged in finger pointing. What I am engaging in here is criticism, which is my right as an AANR member.

    I have long advocated for better public relations. I have stated time and time again that “nakations” and the world record skinny-dip ideas are brilliant in their simplicity, ideas which the public can adhere to and easily understand.

    But laying down in the face of adversity is bad PR. By allowing the California DPR to close San Onofre beach to nude recreation, AANR is sending a clear message that nudity on public beaches is inappropriate.

    TNS and the NAC are horrible at PR. Last year their sister organization, the Naturist Education Foundation, commissioned Zogby to run a poll of Californians, and it was found that 79 percent of Californians AGREED that “people should be able to enjoy nude sunbathing on a beach or other location that is designated for that purpose.”

    This is a tremendous result, yet to my knowledge, none of the TNS-related organizations used this information in a press release to circulate the news to the general public. While I don’t always agree with AANR over it’s attempts to get nudism in the news, such as embracing airport body scanners, I applaud their efforts.

    But the San Onofre situation goes beyond simple public relations. The DPR acted unilaterally to ban nudity at a traditional clothing-optional stretch of beach, which was understood to be protected by a long-standing “Cahill” policy. For AANR to stand down in the face of such chilling government oppression of nudists is shameful.

    There is a time for talking, and a time for fighting. The San Onofre State Beach crisis is a time to fight, in the courts, on the sand, and in the press.

    It’s not too late for AANR to wake up and join the battle to return nude recreation to San Onofre. Mike, if you really believe that “we are all trying to achieve the same thing”, you will join the call of so many nudists and naturists for AANR to reverse its astoundingly anti-nudist position on this particular issue.

  26. Susan Weaver says:

    Thank you, Mike, for the perspective on the importance of PR. As you may know, since 1995 AANR has used professional public relations firms to help mainstream the popularity of nude recreation in America. The current firm, YPartnership, is famous for its annual survey of the travel habits of Americans, and this year they included a question about the popularity of nude beaches in order to strengthen the case in support of designated nude beaches. The following quote from a story at moneycentral.msn.com is only one of dozens of articles picking up the results of this survey. This and other data is available through the AANR website for use by all nudists seeking to gain public acceptance of nude beaches.

    “Nearly 50% of U.S. readers recently surveyed by TripAdvisor said they’d welcome a visit to a nude beach — with open arms, we’d expect. That’s a big jump from the 31% who endorsed nude beaches last year.”

  27. Chet Kresiak says:

    We all know that PR is great, and that AANR uses a professional company for its press releases. But PR is basically just propaganda, which is, by definition, “a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position.”

    You cannot win a war with only propaganda. There have to be tangible gains as well, which can only be achieved through legal means.

    Up to this point, AANR has come up short on achieving any actual success with the California Department of Parks and Recreation. Talking is fine, but it has to be backed up with some sort of actual position of strength. “Speak softly and carry a big stick”, as Teddy Roosevelt once said.

    Speaking of quotes, I came across this one today from Winston Churchill, on appeasement:

    “The word ‘appeasement’ is not popular, but appeasement has its place in all policy,” he said in 1950. “Make sure you put it in the right place. Appease the weak, defy the strong.” He argued that “appeasement from strength is magnanimous and noble and might be the surest and perhaps the only path to world peace.” And he remarked on the painful irony: “When nations or individuals get strong they are often truculent and bullying, but when they are weak they become better-mannered. But this is the reverse of what is healthy and wise.”

    By giving up San Onofre in the hope of achieving some sort of future gain, AANR is guilty of the worst sort of appeasement. It would have been far better for TNS, AANR and the NAC to join forces, show a united front, and perhaps it would have been the DPR which would have been forced to appease the nudists and naturists by allowing San Onofre Beach to remain a venue for nude recreation.

    But now the DPR has no reason to appease AANR, because they’ve already given up San Onofre, and have shown themselves to be pushovers. As Churchill said, “defy the strong”, stand up for what is right, and stick to principles.

    For a national organization like AANR to take an anti-nudist position, leaving all those grassroots organizations and fighting naturists hanging out to dry, is a disgrace.

  28. Chet Kresiak says:

    I am hoping that AANR will transfer the 28 thoughful comments on this important issue which were added to the previous version of this blog.

  29. Chet Kresiak says:

    Thank you for migrating the comments…

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