This past weekend as I walked down the curvy dirt path to San Onofre’s Trail 6, a newly posted sign stating “Nudity Prohibited” greeted me. The once ‘clothing-optional’ beach, where people have always come to let it all hang out, will now be forced to cover up.
San Onofre’s ‘Trail 6’ State Beach, located in north San Diego County,has been attracting nudists for over thirty years. Not all visitors consider themselves nudists; many just enjoy being free of bathing suits and tan lines. Nonetheless, the time has come to pack it all in
as park officials will begin citing nude beachgoers after Labor Day.As for right now no tickets will be handed out, but the State Park is taking the necessary steps to educate and warn visitors about the upcoming change.
When it comes to the nude environment at Trail 6, San Onofre State Park has been in accordance with the 1979 Cahill Policy. The policy states, “The enforcement of nude sunbathing regulations within the state park system shall be made only upon the complaint of a private citizen.” According to Roy Stearns, San Onofre Deputy Director of
Communications, “Since 1979, California’s population has exploded and our visitorship has grown to just about 80 million people a year. Places that used to be rather remote, secluded, and ignored are no longer that way. As a result, there have been more visitors complaining about the nudity at Trail 6.” However, it seems visitors are not the only ones complaining. Many of the beach’s staff and maintenance workers believe “it is an infringement on their workplace
and complain about seeing sex acts and cleaning up sex toys, condoms, and things of that nature on the beach” said Stearns.
In contrast, a frequent Trail 6 beachgoer from San Diego stated, “We have a great relationship with the maintenance workers and have always tried to work with them by adhering to strict guidelines and keeping an eye out for lewd conduct on the beach.” He maintains that the personal beliefs of a few State Park rangers explain the recent enforcement change. He said, “The one or two employees who have a
problem with the nudity should just be transferred to another park.”
The recent change at Trail 6 has received nationwide attention. One of the more prevalent naturist groups, “Friends of San Onofre Beach,” has issued an “action alert” to its members by encouraging informative letters, emails, and flyers to protest the transformation. Their mission statement declaring their “dedication to preserving the
clothing-optional use of a portion of San Onofre State Beach in a relaxed, family-oriented atmosphere” vindicates their efforts.
Stearns finished by stating “We don’t have any issues with these people who want to have an alternative lifestyle. However, public land belongs to all and when we receive complaints our state law says we must act on them.”
So what’s a nudist to do? While some have shifted their Garden of Eden down to Blacks in San Diego, many are stickin’ it out. One local who wished to remain nameless states, “Tickets or no tickets, we are staying ‘au naturale’ either way!”