Group Fights for the Right to Get Naked in Public

Nude beach advocacy group petitions the Supreme Court


A group of activists is fighting for your right to walk around naked -- in public.

A nude beach advocacy group asked the California Supreme Court in  San Francisco Thursday to overturn an appeals court ruling that makes it easier  for park officers to crack down on nude sunbathing on state beaches. Just two weeks ago SF Weekly put out a list of the best nude beaches in the Bay Area.

The petition for review was filed by Huntington Beach attorney  Elva Kopacz on behalf of the Wisconsin-based Naturist Action Committee.

The brief argues that the high court's review is needed to clarify  when a regulation has been validly adopted by a state agency.

It contends that "the regulated public and the government of the  state of California will be poorly served" if a properly adopted regulation  is invalidated for technical reasons.

The naturist group is appealing a decision in which a state  appeals court last week overturned a 30-year-old state policy that informally  allowed nudity on some state beaches.

Under that policy, set by former California Department of Parks  and Recreation Director Russell Cahill in 1979, park officers tolerated nude  sunbathing on some remote beaches unless a citizen complained.

But the appeals court said that policy was an "underground  regulation" that hadn't gone through the procedural requirements under a  state administrative law for public notice and comment.

The overturning of the policy means that park officers now have  the discretion to warn or cite nude sunbathers even without a citizen  complaint, according to state parks spokesman Roy Stearns.

The naturist group claims that Cahill "substantially complied"  with the procedural requirements because the 1979 policy was clearly worded  and was carefully researched and publicly discussed before being adopted.

Bay Area state beaches that allowed nude sunbathing under the  former policy included Red Rock Beach south of Stinson Beach and Gray Whale  Cove State Beach in Montara.

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