***Note: Updated email address to “friendsofmazobeach”. If you had an email bounce, please forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org
NATURIST ACTION COMMITTEE
Copyright 2014 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: June 5, 2014
SUBJECT: Mazo Beach / Wisconsin River
TO: All naturists and other concerned citizens
This is an Action Alert from the Naturist Action Committee (NAC). In close coordination with the local naturist activists of Friends of Mazo Beach (FOMB), NAC is asking you to take specific action:
1) oppose the existing official weekday closure of Mazo Beach,
2) oppose efforts, official and otherwise, to eliminate altogether the traditional historical clothing-optional use of Mazo Beach.
The Master Plan for the Lower Wisconsin Riverway is being rewritten. Your participation is urgently needed. The deadline for public comment on the revised plan is June 16, 2014, but your comments will have greatest impact if they’re received by June 11.
Mazo Beach is located on the upper section of the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway, a 92 mile river corridor stretching from Prairie du Sac to the Mississippi River. Mazo Beach is one of very few remaining clothing-optional inland beaches in the United States. In addition to local users, the beach draws tens of thousands of summertime visitors from every state as well as some foreign countries.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the governing agency that oversees the management of Mazo Beach. The DNR is currently in the process of rewriting the Riverway’s 25 year old master plan and is requesting the public’s input to be involved in helping them make decisions on the future management and use of the Riverway.
The goal of the process is to produce a plan that is based on and influenced by public preferences, existing statutes, administrative codes, scientific data, the best capabilities of the resources, and the judgment of resource management professionals to address management and recreational issues. Local and regional recreational supply, economy and social conditions will also be considered.
The DNR identifies recreation opportunities that include hunting, trapping, and fishing, canoeing, sandbar camping, bird watching and berry picking. Skinny-dipping has been a traditional historic activity at Mazo Beach for many decades. Although it is a recreational activity in which tens of thousands of people participate, skinny-dipping is not listed among the varied diverse recreation opportunities, because the DNR has never officially recognized or designated Mazo Beach as a clothing-optional beach.
The past two decades have seen a series of access policy changes implemented that have incrementally taken away either land or time from the beach. The latest policy change occurred last year when the DNR decided to close the entire property including the beach, islands immediately off the beach, and surrounding wooded areas to all public access both from land or water Monday through Friday, March 1 through September 15. Thus, the beach is now only open on weekends from 6 am to 8 pm.
Not only has the weekday closure limited the enjoyment of residents and tourists alike, but it has also impacted the livelihood of a number of local area businesses. Those businesses experienced a decrease in business last summer, because with the beach open for no more than two days a week, customers began avoiding vacations to the area.
Moreover, there has also been a great increase in focused efforts from a number of other sources to eliminate clothing-optional use of Mazo Beach altogether. More information can be obtained by contacting Friends of Mazo Beach at (608) 798-1954.
WHAT IS NAC DOING?
NAC asked for, and was given, a face-to-face meeting in Madison with Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp and her senior staff. That meeting was useful and instructive, but it did not resolve the situation.
NAC retains a year ‘round professional lobbyist in Wisconsin.
NAC and FOMB have conducted extensive record gathering and research into the actual citations issued at Mazo Beach, with particular focus on the outcome at court.
NAC and FOMB have met with the Dane County District Attorney,local and regional officials, and with local business owners in the nearby Mazomanie and Sauk City areas.
The Naturist Action Committee and Friends of Mazo Beach continue to work closely together,as well as with other local naturists, naturist groups, area residents, and business owners.
WHAT IS NAC ASKING YOU TO DO?
NAC is asking you to partner with us in this crucial time and take the following specific action. The final deadline for your public input to the DNR is June 16, 2014, but more benefit can be gained if you submit your input before June 11th.
Information on the Master Planning by the DNR is here:http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Lands/MasterPlanning/LowerWisconsin/
Using that as a starting point, there are many links to other information.
1. Complete a DNR questionnaire online.
The questionnaire deals with both recreational activities and resource management activities on the Riverway.
2. Spread the word of what is happening and the immediate urgency of getting involved now to all you know who care about the future of Mazo Beach.
3. Most importantly, contact the people listed belowimmediately. E-mails and letters will work much better than phone calls for this purpose.
WRITE TO THESE OFFICIALS
NAC is reaching out to Naturists throughout the United States because many of you outside of Wisconsin (and some outside the United States!) have been occasional visitors to Mazo Beach.
Send your comments or suggestions on the master planning process via email to the primary organizers:
It will be beneficial to send copies to other officials. Blind copy (bcc) the following:
For more information concerning the officials associated with these e-mail addresses, see the NAC web site:www.naturistaction.org/mazo
If you are from Wisconsin, consider copying your email comments to your state senator and representative as well.
WHAT SHOULD YOU SAY?
The DNR is open to hearing from Riverway users. Even if you are not a regular user, even if you’ve been to the beach just one time, it is vital to have your voice be heard.
When you’re writing, be polite and concise. Share your personal perspective of the specialness of the beach. Explain how you are a good steward, and you care for the beach and area. Include how you improve the local economy in whatever ways you do (gas, groceries, motels, restaurants, tourist attractions, etc).
Here are some other simple points you may wish to make:
1. The American public supports designated areas for clothing-optional recreation. A public opinion survey commissioned in 2006 by the nonprofit Naturist Education Foundation and conducted by the prestigious Roper polling organization indicated that SEVENTY-FOUR 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.”
2. Mazo Beach has been a traditional skinny-dipping location for a very long time. Beyond its use by Native Americans, local authors such as August Derleth, Frederic Prokosch, and Karl Danzlin used to skinny-dip in the area. Some current beach users have been skinny-dipping at the beach since the 1950s. Generations of families enjoy and value the beach, decade after decade. You’ll find naturists there ranging from newborns to elders in their 90’s.
3. The Wisconsin DNR has alleged that its weekday closures of Mazo were needed to mitigate particularly high crime levels in clothing-optional areas. No facts have been provided to support the notion that nude sunbathing is a cause for the effect. No comparison has been made with crime in mandatorily clothed areas on public land. Obviously, if the “crime” is the act of public nudity itself, the reasoning is circular and flawed. There is also no evidence that clothing optional recreationists are criminally inclined or commit more crimes than other beach visitors. If other criminal conduct is in fact occurring, other enforcement or prevention options are available short of barring one class of beach visitors – on the ONLY public land in the state that has historically accommodated traditional skinny-dipping.
4. Over the decades, naturist and non-naturist users have, at times, shared neighboring sections of beach. At other times, they have used the same section of beach in harmony. Other user groups also share the same small piece of sand simultaneously and in harmony. It’s a great example of a successful multi-user group land management plan.
5. The Riverway provides abundant public open space for a broad spectrum of recreational activities, while Mazo Beach comprises a tiny portion of the 93 mile Riverway. Remotely located, by land it requires a walk of over one mile, and by water it is hidden from the main channel of the wide river by a tree covered island where one must intentionally veer out of the natural main current and go to the left of the island to get near the beach.
6. Both our state constitution and the public trust doctrine assure us that the river is to be held in trust for us, and that we have the right to use and enjoy it forever. For the sake of the tens of thousands of beach users who enjoy the clothing-optional beach each season, as well as the local business owners who benefit from the money they spend while in the area, please re-open the beach during the week.
PLEASE COPY NAC AND FOMB ON YOUR CORRESPONDENCE
You can help the effort by letting us know what you’ve said. Please send copies of your correspondence to NAC and to FOMB. E-mail works best.
You can find additional information, including this NAC Advisory, at http://naturistaction.org/mazo or by visiting the NAC web site www.naturistaction.org and clicking on ALERTS.
NAC, the political adjunct to The Naturist Society, helped establish Friends of Mazo Beach in 1992. Since that time, FOMB has worked on behalf of and represented naturists, non-naturists and business owners who appreciate and benefit from the beach to help protect and maintain the long-standing traditional clothing-optional usage of the area. If you would like to fill out a survey and be on their mailing list, or for any other inquiries you may have about the beach, email FOMB at email@example.com.
Naturist Action Committee board member Jim Dickey is a coordinator of Friends of Mazo Beach. Local information is available on the web site of FOMB: www.friendsofmazobeach.wordpress.com
PLEASE HELP NAC CONTINUE HELPING NATURISTS!
The Naturist Action Committee is a nonprofit volunteer adjunct to The Naturist Society, a membership organization. NAC is committed to vigorous activism on behalf of the responsible clothing-optional use of public lands. NAC has no membership roster and receives no dues money. NAC relies entirely on the voluntary financial support of concerned naturists like YOU.
The essential response to the frightening threat at Mazo Beach has already become expensive. Won’t you please send a generous donation to NAC?
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 once again to make a difference.
Naturist Action Committee
Naturist Action Committee (NAC) – PO Box 132, Oshkosh, WI 54903
Executive Dir. Bob Morton –firstname.lastname@example.org
Board Member Jim Dickey – email@example.com
Online Rep. Dennis Kirkpatrick – firstname.lastname@example.org