Mazo Beach Action

NATURIST ACTION COMMITTEE  -  ACTION ALERT  regarding  MAZO BEACH CLOSURE

Copyright 2016 by NAC, which is responsible for its content. Permission granted for posting, forwarding or redistribution of this message provided that its reproduced in its entirety & without alteration.

DATE: April 4, 2016
TO: All naturists and other concerned citizens

This is an Action Alert from the Naturist Action Committee (NAC).

In coordination with the local naturist activists of Friends of Mazo Beach (FOMB), NAC is asking you to take specific action:

Submit comments to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The mechanism for this is by commenting on the most recent Master Plan for the Lower Wisconsin Riverway. Although the draft of the Master Plan does not suggest closing Mazo Beach, that draconian edict was announced a week after the new plan was released. 

Obviously, this is seen by bureaucrats as a matter of numbers.  NAC encourages you to write and to have your friends and family members write as well. 

  a) You may fill out the public comment form online:  http://22.selectsurvey.net/DNR/TakeSurvey.aspx?SurveyID=l2K18651#

  b) Or you may send your comments by email:  DNRLWSRMP@wisconsin.gov


State clearly that you oppose the closure of Mazo Beach. Suggestions for your comments appear below.

 

Deadline for any form of comment submissions is April 8, 2016.

BRIEF DISCUSSION
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 revising 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 past two decades have seen a series of access policy changes implemented that have incrementally taken away either land or time from the beach. Monday through Friday, March 1 through September 15, for the past three years, DNR has closed the entire property to all public access both from land and water - During the summer season, the beach was open only 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 the past few summers, because with the beach open for no more than two days a week, fewer tourists have come to vacation in 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 permanent professional lobbyist in Wisconsin.

NAC & FOMB are working with a Wisconsin law firm to assess and fine tune further options.

NAC & FOMB have conducted extensive record gathering & research into actual citations issued at Mazo Beach, with particular focus on the outcome at court.

NAC & FOMB have met with the Dane County District Attorney, local & regional officials, & with local business owners in the Mazomanie / Sauk City areas.

NAC & 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 & take the following specific action. The final deadline for your public input to the DNR is April 8th.

Information on the Master Planning by the DNR is here: http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Lands/MasterPlanning/LowerWisconsin/

The current draft of the Master Plan does not propose any specific change to the traditional clothing-optional usage of Mazo Beach. The Plan calls the consideration of that matter an "administrative" matter that's beyond the scope of the plan. However, the Plan does call for "improvements" that are calculated to appeal to a crowd other than skinny-dippers. "Changing rooms?" 

Most importantly, just one week after the most recent draft was released, DNR announced that it was immediately closing the Mazomanie unit to ALL access.

WHAT SHOULD YOU SAY?
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). Beyond their economic importance, naturists are a responsible part of the community, participating in road cleanups, clothing drives, food drives, and other worthwhile projects.  Feel free to call FOMB at 608-798-1954 for other specific examples.

Here are some other simple points you may wish to make (but PLEASE don’t cut and paste – use your own words): 

  1. The American public supports designated areas for clothing-optional recreation. A public opinion survey commissioned in 2015 by the nonprofit Naturist Education Foundation and conducted by the prestigious Zogby polling organization indicated that SIXTY-FIVE PERCENT of Americans believe that "people should be able to enjoy nude sunbathing on a beach or other location that is accepted for that purpose?" 

  2. The same survey revealed that FIFTY-SEVEN PERCENT of American adults believe areas should be set aside by state and local governments for people who enjoy clothing-optional recreation such as nude sunbathing and swimming.

  3. In its media release announcing the closure at Mazo, the Wisconsin DNR has alleged that the reason was illicit activity. Here is the historical list, from DNR's own records, of the numbers of arrests for categories of illicit activities at and near Mazo: 

  YEAR        2010            2011            2012            2013            2014            2015 


  A:               10                26                19                13                7                  4 
  B:               5                  16                3                  0                  3                  2 
  C:                                                                                              19                23 
  D:              1                  22                19                34                3                  4 
  E:               0                  0                  0                  0                  0                  4 
  F:               16                64                41                47                32                37 

A: disorderly conduct     B: drugs     C: closed area     D: other     E: operating while intoxicated     F: total arrests 

Note that after DNR created its weekday closures and declared the adjacent woods to be off-limits, arrests for the new category of entering a closed area became roughly two-thirds of the total numbers of arrests. In 2015, arrests for DC and drugs, combined, amounted to no more than a half dozen. [note: Nine of the “closed area” charges were due to one person, with the most of the remaining charges given to people who said they were unaware of being in closed areas. The two drug charges (marijuana/paraphernalia) were from one incident of a person on a jet ski on the river near the beach. Three of the four DCs occurred when the beach was open - one in the parking lot a mile away and the other two in brush or willow trees not visible from the sandy beach area. The four “other” charges were for open intoxicant in vehicle, glass, expired auto registration, and failure to wear seat belt.]

  4. 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. 

  5. 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 beach users spend while in the area, please do not close the beach. 

PLEASE COPY NAC AND FOMB ON YOUR CORRESPONDENCE
You can greatly 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:     mazocomments@naturistaction.org      and       friendsofmazobeach@yahoo.com 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
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 of 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 friendsofmazobeach@yahoo.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 the 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 donation to NAC?

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:    www.naturistaction.org/donate/ 

Thank you for choosing once again to make a difference.

Naturally,
Jim Dickey
Board Member / Naturist Action Committee

Coordinator / Friends of Mazo Beach

608-798-1954

 

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