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NAC Advisory: Wisconsin: Mazo Beach - May 24, 2007

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  • NAC Advisory: Wisconsin: Mazo Beach - May 24, 2007

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    Copyright 2007 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 : May 24, 2007
    SUBJECT: Mazo Beach
    TO : All Naturists and other concerned citizens

    Dear Naturist,

    The Naturist Action Committee (NAC) wishes to advise you of multiple developing situations at Mazo Beach in Dane County, Wisconsin. This NAC Advisory has been developed in close cooperation with Friends of Mazo Beach (FOMB), the local user group for the traditional clothing-optional site on the Wisconsin River.


    The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has announced that its rangers will be at Mazo Beach this coming weekend, targeting lewd behavior and disorderly conduct. A DNR spokesman has said that rangers will NOT be making arrests for mere nudity. Dane County authorities have historically refused to prosecute such arrests.

    Naturists have never been proponents of lascivious public behavior, nor are they advocates for those who would intentionally confuse nudity with sex. In that context, naturists should welcome narrow enforcement based on the proper distinctions voiced recently by DNR.


    A few weeks ago, DNR personnel cut the willows that grow as weeds along the water's edge near the clothing-optional area at Mazo Beach. DNR publicly characterized the cutting as serving two purposes. The first purpose was to minimize hiding places in which illicit human activity could occur.

    The second reason given by DNR was that the cutting benefited various species of turtles. The Naturist Action Committee has been unable to find independent biologists or ecologists who agree with DNR's claimed benefit for turtles.


    Visitors to Mazo Beach should be aware that DNR has declared the wooded areas adjacent to the road to be off limits. There are actually a number of good reasons for that action. Please respect the signs.


    In past years, Wisconsin religious fundamentalist Ralph Ovadal and individuals from his dwindling band of followers have protested and picketed in the parking lot at the end of Conservation Drive and along the road to the river. As part of their so-called "Gospel Gauntlet," the protesters have engaged in activities that are confrontational and provocative. Many of their specific actions are intended to provoke a disorderly response among naturists who are headed to the beach.

    Tactics have included name calling and feigning physical assault. Ralph Ovadal himself has been convicted and fined twice for his illegal activities near Mazo Beach.

    Ovadal did not make a single protest trip to Mazo during all of 2006. Along with his blossoming pseudointellectual fascination for religious doctrine, issues like immigration and a fanatical bitterness toward the Catholic Church have caused much of Ovadal's attention to be directed elsewhere. Ovadal has become increasingly irrelevant as a factor at the beach. That fact doesn't mean he won't put in an appearance or two at Mazo this season.

    If you should encounter the Ovadalite protesters in the parking lot or as you walk to the river, NAC and FOMB ask that you ignore them and simply refuse to respond to their various taunts and provocations. This advice has worked quite well in past years, and NAC thanks you for avoiding this sort of artificial confrontation. Since Ovadal's followers believe the sight of naked human bodies will leave everlasting blemishes on their souls, these bigoted zealots will not follow you onto the river bed.


    Most who are regular visitors to Mazo Beach understand the simple basics of naturist beach etiquette.

    However, a few uninformed (or uncaring) visitors to the clothing-optional beach may occasionally attempt to use the area for inappropriate activities. Beach users should know the difference between benign nudity and overt sexual behavior. This year more than ever, sexual behavior will result in arrest and prosecution, and it affects the reputation of the beach.

    Please stand up for appropriate clothing-optional beach behavior.


    Dane County authorities have historically declined to prosecute those who are merely nude in the traditional area at Mazo Beach. In fact, in addressing the matter of nudity, the Dane County District Attorney's office has said, "In a place where there's a tradition of nude sunbathing like Mazo Beach it is not lewd and lascivious behavior."

    During some parts of the season, it's easy to walk out to the sand bar in the river. But the sand bar is not a "traditional" clothing-optional area for the purpose of deflecting prosecution. Those who move nudity out toward the main channel of the river and north and south beyond the traditional area are not only discarding their traditional protection, they are increasing the chances of conflicts with other user groups, like the canoeists who use the river's main channel. User group conflicts are a major excuse for increased official scrutiny and closure of clothing-optional areas on public land.

    The Naturist Action Committee and Friends of Mazo Beach ask you to reduce the risk to yourself and the threat to the beach by staying within traditional clothing-optional areas.


    Based largely on the complaints of Ralph Ovadal and those who do his bidding, a handful of Wisconsin lawmakers have occasionally threatened legislation that targets nudity at Mazo Beach. Such measures often have statewide impact. In 2003, that legislation assumed a high profile, and the Naturist Action Committee hired a professional Wisconsin legislative lobbyist to assist in killing a truly awful bill that would have established a civil penalty for nudity on public land throughout the state.

    The American Association for Nude Recreation and its regional affiliate, the Midwest Sunbathing Association (now AANR-Midwest) participated in helping to fund the lobbyist in 2003. NAC acknowledges their important role during the relatively brief period of crisis four years ago.

    Although it has a lower public profile, the fight goes on. Since 2003, NAC has retained the same Wisconsin lobbyist, entirely on its own. The continuous presence of NAC's lobbyist at the state capitol in Madison has helped educate Wisconsin lawmakers and has successfully warded off the introduction of new anti-nudity legislation. This is proactive and preventive activism at its best. Although it doesn't come inexpensively, it's a smart way to avoid an even more expensive problem later.


    Contact Friends of Mazo Beach by telephone at (608) 798-1954 or by e-mail at [email protected]


    The Naturist Action Committee is committed to advancing and protecting the rights and interests of naturists. The responsible clothing-optional use of public land has always be a focus for NAC.

    Legislative lobbyists are expensive, and NAC relies entirely on the voluntary support of involved naturists. Please donate generously. Send your donation today to:

    PO Box 132
    Oshkosh, WI 54903

    Or use your credit card to make a direct donation online through NAC's web site:

    Thank you for choosing to make a difference.


    Kath Rooney
    Board Member
    Naturist Action Committee

    Naturist Action Committee (NAC) - PO Box 132, Oshkosh, WI 54903
    Executive Dir. Bob Morton - [email protected]
    Board Member Kath Rooney - [email protected]
    Online Rep. Dennis Kirkpatrick - [email protected]