Volume 15
Number 6, September 2003

In this Issue:

Woman taking small bundle of clothes to laundry

Tallahassee Naturally is a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of naturist recreation in north Florida and nearby areas. The club is an affliate member of both the Naturist Society and the American Association for Nude Recreation.

Bare and Free is the official quarterly newletter of Tallahassee Naturally. It is alos available through e-mail by contacting us at Articles appearing in Bare and Free may be reprinted by other naturist publications, provided that credit is given. Photos, however, may only be reprinted with written permission.

Club members are encouraged to submit ariticles, news items, and photos for publication. Please address all submission to: Tallahassee Naturally, P.O. Box 6866, Tallahassee FL, 32314 or To the Editor, 502 Airport Drive, Tallahassee, FL, 32304 or

We Can Kiss Gator Sink Goodby

For thousands of years, Native Americans skinny-dipped freely in the beautifulBig Dismal sinkholes south of Tallahassee. That tradition continued through the twentieth century. In the 1960s and '70s, dozens--sometimes hundreds--of free-spirited men, women, and children gathered each weekend at Gator Sink. Unlike most sinkholes, Gator had a nice gradual entrance for children or inexpert swimmers. The name, by the way, did not come from any alligator sighting, but because the light green water reminded somebody of Gator-ade.

The good times came to an end around 1980 when a renegade minister without a church poured thirty gallons of used oil into Gator Sink, polluting it and all the sinkholes downstream. People moved to Lofton Pond, better known as Sam Allen Lake. Closer to town, it was popular with college students for a couple of years. But Sink Hole county sheriff's deputies raided the place. One arrested person demanded a jury trial, and won. The jury felt it had become an established skinny-dipping place, and anyone who might take offense should choose a different lake or sinkhole. But with law-abiding citizens scared off, an unusually aggressive gay group took over the lake. They acted like bullies and drove everybody else away. Sam Allen has remained a nude lake pretty much without police harassment to this day, but it functions only as a gay pickup area.

The regulars formed a group called Tallahassee Area Naturists, but did not affiliate with any national organization. They moved to another lake, and the county deputy followed them. The group fell apart after a year.

In 1986, Tallahassee Naturally formed to locate friendlier skinny-dipping places outside Leon County. By then, Gator Sink had cleared, and we used it often. Its gradual entrance made it the only safe place for our Full-Moon Skinny-Dips after dark. Every month, we cleaned up any trash, left empty trash bags there (which people did use), and posted a sign to let everybody know that our club was keeping the place clean. We did this for eleven years.

We were not alone. A youth service corps, Outward Venture, controlled the erosion at Gator by building embankments and steps down to the sand. They also skinny-dipped there.

But Gator was a little too accessible. We worried that a pickup full of drunken rednecks might drive up before people in the water could react. It never happened. But we cleared a hidden path to an unnamed sinkhole behind Gator that we called Sunspot because it was the only sinkhole with a good sunning area, as well. Though the water was less clear than Gator, we leveled a sunning area, and constructed steps into the water.

These and two adjacent sinkholes belonged to St. Joe Paper Company, the largest landholder in north Florida. The company allowed public access on all of their land, so long as no one harmed the trees. We often dreamed of the day when we might be able to buy these few acres with their four sinkholes, and preserve them for their traditional nude use.

Private sinkholes were being bought up for home sites. Big Dismal and Little DismalLittle Dismal or Hammock Sink Hole Sinks just north of Gator became part of the Leon Sinks hiking trail. But the first thing park officials did was prohibit swimming. The Apalachee National Forest bought up Promise, Go-Between and several other nearby sinkholes to preserve public access to them. With no national anti-nudity law, skinny-dipping continued there with only occasional scoldings by rangers. But St. Joe Paper Company held onto the more saleable strip of land between those sinkholes and the highway.

Then in 1997, St. Joe suddenly went out of the paper business, and into the land development business. To wean the public off their land, they leased thousands of acres to hunting clubs who promptly chained all entrance roads and put up No Trespassing signs. The hunting clubs even blocked all roads leading to the sinkholes in the national forest. Instead of objecting, the forest service decided that no visitors meant less work for them, so they closed their local office. Our club immediately wrote to St. Joe, establishing our place at the head of the line of people who might be interested in leasing or buying the Gator Sink area.

We were ignored. Instead, Gator was included in the thousands of acres recently sold to Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park. We wrote to Wakulla Springs to see if they really wanted that small piece of land that was cut off by roads from their other property. We inquired about buying or leasing. It turns out that park officials are very much interested in controlling the water quality flowing into Wakulla Springs, and have no intention of selling any sinkhole. Their vague plan is to put in some hiking trails. They have in the past leased land only to other units of government such as cities or counties. But the real stumbling block is the State Park regulation against nudity. They are now stretching that controversial rule to also cover any land outside park boundaries that they have leased out. In effect, they are saying that their own rules prohibit them from ever dealing with us.

That regulation first appeared among a host of new rules proposed late in 1989. The park service held just one public hearing--at Christmastime--in Tallahassee. For the first time ever, free beach people and resort owners from around the state came together to testify in Tallahassee--and we were the hosts when it happened. Around thirty people testified that night, and every one of them spoke against the nudity regulation.

A few months later, the park service presented their new regulations to the governor and cabinet for ratification. One of the cabinet members asked what had come up at the hearing. The park official replied, "Oh yes, somebody wrote in about beekeeping, and we rewrote the regulations to accommodate him." AANR president Jack DePree stood up to protest this blatant miscarriage of justice. Republican Governor Martinez and the cabinet ignored his testimony, and passed the regulations unanimously.

Since then, anytime a bill has come up in the Florida legislature regarding nudity at Cape Canaveral National Seashore, the State Parks have been the most vehement advocates for anti-nudity laws on federal land (apparently for fear that the public demand for nude beaches might then spread to state land). About a year ago, President Bush appointed the head of the Florida State Parks to take over the National Parks system.

At one point, Democratic Governor Lawton Chiles ordered a review of any state regulations that went beyond state law as passed by the legislature. State Park officials managed to delay any examination of their anti-nudity regulation until Governor Chiles died.

Gator is not the first traditional skinny-dipping place to be swallowed up by the Florida State Parks. Philanthropist John D. MacArthur used to invite Walt Disney and lots of military brass to skinny-dip on his private beach near Fort Pierce. When he left the land to the state, the State Parks immediately prohibited nudity. MacArthur's son protested that this violated his father's intent. But the son died soon after, and the park has several times tried to stop activist T. A. Wyner from informing beachgoers of what happened. In their suppression of free speech, they have arrested her for demonstrating clad only in the Bill of Rights, and they have arrested fully clothed members of her guerilla theatre cast and an audience member who just happened by. The case went to Federal Court, and the park was ordered to allow a repeat performance without interference.

This spring, authorities at MacArthur Beach State Park threatened to arrest anyone who joined in forming a nude peace sign, and again a federal judge ordered the park to allow first amendment rights.

At Fort DeSoto State Park near Tampa, park officials expelled clothed people who passed out information about establishing a nude beach there. That case is slowly working its way through the courts.

And of course, the State Parks have gotten their hands on the traditionally nude Navarre Beach to the west of Tallahassee. They plan to turn it into a parking lot, but have been slow about doing anything.

It appears that Gator and Sunspot are lost forever. Our only hope is that, as hiking trails are opened, the public may once more gain access to the prettier but more dangerous sinkholes in the National Forest that have been preserved for public use.

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 "Land, they're just not making any more of it..."
That was a commercial on TV just after I moved to Florida.....
Once again your board is seeking to learn the preferences of our diverse
The question: Should we be working to buy our own club land this year?
"YES" "NO" "I will go along with and support whatever the club
decides." "Option 4"
Please share your preference with us yes, no, whatever, or option 4. . Please use the word "land" in the subject line.
To recap, this year we are sitting on a $15,000 matching fund from an
estate. IF we do not use this money to buy land for the club to use before
January 30, 2004 we will loose this opportunity. If we do not develop
$15,000 from our membership to match this gift we will also loose any
unmatched portion.
As of today we have 45 members -- this is a near historical low. This is
33% lower than the final membership at the end of last year, and less than
50% of our membership for each of the previous 8 years. So one very real
question is do we have the membership to do the work that would be necessary to make a new space comfortable? (Conversely, have our rustic
accommodations driven off folks who would otherwise be contributing
members?) Is our current low membership just a glitch we will quickly
rebound from? Or is it the natural continuation of a six year decline in
membership? And what will follow? I do not know -- but I would like to
learn what you think our future is.
The land plan we are discussing with our investors would involve no
re-payments for the first five years. This would allow us to plow all of
the grounds fees into improving the land. Once we have four (of seven
available) trailer lots rented we anticipate that those rents alone would
pay the mortgage on the property we have looked at near Lloyd. Alas, the
adjoining smaller property has been sold and the new owner is building a
house. This leaves 11 acres, more or less.
OPTION 4: We have also considered purchasing a much smaller property very
near Tallahassee to use as a weekday sunning opportunity while continuing to
rent the lake for weekend recreation. (The matching grant could be used for
this purpose.)
Please keep in mind that our arrangement to rent the lake we use is month-to-month. Although we do not anticipate anything
specific changing in our relationship, in reality we could be tossed out at
any time. Maybe not next year, but it is likely that at some point we will
loose the lake. (When conditions change and the heirs -- of folks not yet
dead -- are ready to sell the property it is likely that we will not be able
to purchase it. Not only could we not be able to afford it, but the zoning
-- which only allows one dwelling per 25 acres -- prevents anyone from
developing the property with multiple housing units. Rent from trailers
{small manufactured homes} is the only way to make any naturist club land
development property viable.)
PLEASE take the time to e-mail us your preferences. We also welcome your
thoughts. Thank you for your participation.
This is a preferential survey. An actual decision to purchase any specific
piece of land would require a vote of the membership.

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We Addressed the Tiger Bay Club

Paul was one of four nudists from around the state invited to address the prestigious Capital Tiger Bay Club of community leaders at the end of July. Their banquets are well known for their irreverent jokes about politicians. In this case, the humor was aimed at U.S. Representative Mark Foley, who has been grabbing headlines by expressing horror at the JFANR Camp.

Shirley Mason of South Florida Free Beaches launched the discussion, and fielded questions afterward. Paul sketched the history of skinny-dipping in the Tallahassee area and the history of naturist youth camps. A grandmother who had served on this year's camp staff spoke next, followed by her grandson. There were no hostile questions.

The Tallahassee Democrat, the Saint Petersburg Times, the Associated Press and National Public Radio all covered event.

Beside their plates, people found the following quiz designed by Tiger Bay officials. (It paraphrases a frequent public opinion poll question, and also refers to Mike Rucker, the local weatherman and political candidate who was seen urinating in a back yard.)

Do you believe people who enjoy nude sunbathing should be able to do so at the following sites (that have been approved for this purpose) without interference from officials?

Check as many sites as you agree suitable:

__the new dolphin fountain at the Capitol
__city park pools on certain days (no Ruckering permitted in the pool)
__the southside of Leon County whenever it floods
__Landis Green
__private bird baths
__Lake Ella
__The Shelter
__other (please specify)

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The Camp Saga Continues

You will remember from last month that little-known congressman Mark Foley was raising a fuss about a New York Times article on the FANR youth camp. It turns out that, besides Time magazine, a third reporter had also attended the camp. The Tampa-based Weekly Planet waited until three weeks after camp closed to publish an editorial comment criticizing Foley, followed by a long glowing report of the camp. Two-and-a-half of the three planned publicity pieces had turned out fine.

One web site,, has posted a couple of essays worth reading. The July 4 essay by Esther Hartstein called for an end of such camps because, of all things, everyday exposure to nudity would deprive kids of the sexual stimulus they would later need for a good marriage. It was the first time conservatives had ever accused nudists of not being sexy enough. We may never know whether it was written tongue-in-cheek, or whether the woman intended to be taken seriously. It's a hoot. Marvin Frandsen responded a few days later with a fact-filled plea that politicians leave parenting decisions to parents.

Meanwhile, Foley found conservatives endorsing his campaign, but not him. And he was getting beat up in the press. He may have been looking for a graceful way out when naturist leaders gathered at his office on July 7, armed with the latest critical article in the Miami Herald. AANR had withdrawn from participation in the meeting, having decided to lie low and hope the whole thing would blow over. But the chairman of the Naturist Action Committee flew in from Texas, and the leaders present were able to back Foley down. That afternoon, he was on National Public Radio, demanding only to know what method the camp used to screen its counselors--a question camp officials could easily have answered at the meeting, had they been present. He promised to take down his inflammatory web site.

But the damage had already been done. A law prohibiting camps for nudists was introduced into the Texas legislature. Three other lawmakers in Florida and one in Virginia threatened to propose even broader laws prohibiting outdoor nudity by people under 18. Recently, the speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives started making similar noises.

The day after the meeting, the Palm Beach Post ran an editorial cartoon of Foley hiding in the bushes with binoculars. An aide, looking at his watch, asks, "Six hours! How much longer scoping out nudist camps, Mark?"

The answer turned out to be two weeks. That's how long it took Foley to find a new cause. He then demanded that the governor investigate Walt Zadanoff, AANR president from 1990 to 1992 (before the camp opened). Walt now markets nudist videos, including a few eastern European films of youthful beauty contests. AANR quit sponsoring such beauty contests about twenty years ago. An internet opinion writer in Michigan managed to tangle the facts, and wrote that AANR officials are videotaping the JFANR camp and selling the films. ABC television's talk show, "The View" reported his claim as fact.

It ain't over yet. Stay tuned.

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AANR Convention Went Well

This year's AANR Convention at Cherokee Lodge near Crossville TN was a good one. The votes went the way we had hoped, the awards went to really deserving people, and the big debate on AANR's future remained friendly.

Our club decided to send Paul this year to express our misgivings about the AANR Tomorrow proposal. Among other things, it would have abolished the seven regions and set up seven districts of equal population. To us, that looked like Tallahassee could be taken out of Florida--a move that made no political sense. We also had misgivings about giving up membership control of the bylaws.

The AANR Tomorrow proposal had enough interesting features that we did not want to see it defeated--just sent back to committee for improvements. Realizing which way things were headed, the drafting committee did just that. Then they opened the floor to suggestions. We were in the right place at exactly the right moment. Our suggestions were duly noted.

The other controversial proposal would have allowed the owners of big clubs to appoint themselves as convention delegates, shutting out all of their members from any voice. That proposal would also have made the huge pile of associate (non-club) votes available to whoever already held power in the region. As often happens, the big clubs came with a majority of the votes--but not the two-thirds necessary to pass this measure.

Four college students from Nude U and a high school student were on hand to conduct a kids' program. But because school started that week in some states, no kids showed up. So the students conducted noontime seminars to show the adults the workshops they do in camp. Very impressive.

In keeping with the host club's name, there were some Native American ceremonies, including blowgun demonstration and a release of butterflies.

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Now that summer is over, the lake is again available only on Saturdays and Sundays.

The pool party announced earlier for September 20 has been canceled because the hosts must be out of town.

When driving in from the road, stay in the track. It is lined with gravel, so you won't sink in during a rain. When you drive on the soft shoulder, we have to hand rake out your ruts the whole distance before we can mow again.

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Calendar of Coming Events

1 Lake open. Campout continues.
5 Full-Moon Skinny-Dip
14 Board meeting
28 Student Activities & Picnic. Grant M. will host.

3-5 FANR board meeting moved to Gulf Coast Resort north of Tampa
10 Last Full-Moon Skinny-Dip
12 Board meeting
26 Picnic. Gloria will host.

Check calendar updates on our web page:

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