Sunday, January 29, 2006

Wreck Beach Update: Towers to be scaled back

47,000 petition signatures later, a massive email and letter writing campaign and your voices have been heard. In what started out as an ambitious project to build four 20-story student resident towers near the edge of the bluffs overlooking Wreck Beach with little public input has been trimmed back to three towers with the top floors lopped off. Well done naturists and nudists of the world. Your voice does count because the university regents are feeling your pressure!

However, read this self-serving article, put out unilaterally by the University of British Columbia, and think to yourself . . . 'yes, we have won a partially victory', then read the Naturist Action Committee Update following the article to see why we must continue with the fight against the UBC and why this isn't the victory we stand fast for, but simply a stage along the way. The University of British Columbia is attempting to put a positive spin on the 'accommodations' they have made in order to make themselves seem like the aggrieved party.

Previous posts on Wreck Beach are: Tower View Depictions, Battle Lines Are Drawn, Wreck Beach Needs Your Help, and an October 2005 Update on Wreck Beach.

UBC scales back plans for new residences again


Saturday, January 28, 2006

Vancouver -- The buff battle of the bluffs is over, according to the University of British Columbia. To end a raging controversy over plans to build several high-rise student residences overlooking the nudist paradise of Wreck Beach, UBC announced yesterday a further scaling back of the project.

What was once set to be four, 20-storey towers will now be two 18-storey buildings and one 17-storey high-rise, university officials said.

Wreck Beach enthusiasts had waged a long campaign against the project, charging the tops of the towers would spoil the view from the beach below and allow residences to peep down at nude sunbathers.

"The decision clearly balances the needs of our students with the concerns raised by the community throughout the consultation process," UBC president Martha Piper

The Naturist Action Commitee's Update posted the day after the unilateral, one-sided newspaper article:



Copyright 2006 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 : January 29, 2006

SUBJECT: Wreck Beach

TO : All Naturists and other concerned citizens

Dear Naturist,

An article published yesterday in The Globe & Mail gave the impression that the University of British Columbia (UBC) had relented on the issue of residential towers that are planned to loom over Wreck Beach. The article portrays the long-standing controversy as having been resolved.

The newspaper article is quite misleading. Unfortunately, the matter is not resolved.

Beginning with an opening phrase that reads, "The buff battle of the bluffs is over, according to the University of British Columbia," the newspaper article merely repeats UBC's spin concerning the towers and the Official Community Plan (OCP) that is supposed to govern development.


The Wreck Beach Preservation Society (WBPS) has released the following statement:

"The buff battle of the bluffs is NOT over! With characteristic disregard for the governance role of the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD), UBC's Board of Governors defied the recent GVRD Staff request to lower the remaining two towers to 16 storeys.

"This so-called balanced 'scaling back of the project' does NOT address the needs of over 6000 students who signed the anti-Phase 2 petitions out of 47,000 signatories. The simple fact is that only the GVRD can determine if the towers are in compliance with the OCP.

"UBC has no business whatsoever pronouncing its development to be consistent with the OCP by usurping GVRD jurisdiction over planning in Electoral District A, in which Wreck Beach lies. If the UBC towers are not further lowered, they will violate several GVRD visibility resolutions.

"It is time that GVRD parkland stewards call UBC's bluff or the obscenities will continue."


This is an Update. Neither NAC nor the Wreck Beach Preservation Society is requesting that you take action at this time. Your responses to past calls for action have been effective and appreciated. Thank you!

The Wreck Beach Preservation Society will determine what future actions may be appropriate. Watch for NAC Action Alerts, Advisories and Updates on this issue.


For background and additional information on Wreck Beach and this situation, visit the Local Issues section of the Naturist Action Committee web site. Here's a direct link to NAC's Wreck Beach discussion:

For the latest from the Wreck Beach Preservation Society, visit:

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Suntan Oil Ruins the Sex-life of Fish

We dump way too much stuff into our water supplies. Ever jump into a popular swimming pool and notice the sheen of suntan oil on the surface. I don't know how much veracity to attribute to this article. Perhaps we are over-doing it. The last paragraph eludes to concerns by some researchers that because of our over-dependence on sun protection products that we are not getting enough vitamin D . . . the very item we need to prevent many of these skins cancers we are worried about. There was a lengthly article published awhile back (it's in my blog, as well) that discussed this very subject and actually called for nude sunbathing by people as a way to get the necessary stocks of vitamin D. Seems we all need to be a little bit more prudient in our use of sun tan products . . . for our own sakes and for the sex life of all those fishes swimming around off California without mates.

If your suntan oil can change the sex of fish, what can do it to you?

The stuff is not only on our skin: it's in our tap water and lunches too

By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor
Published: 22 January 2006

Spare a thought for the male hornyhead turbot. For despite its name, it is changing gender. And the sunscreens that symbolise bronzed sex appeal may be partly to blame.

Scientists have found that male hornyhead turbot and English sole, feeding near sewage outfalls on the Californian coast, are being feminised - and a chemical found in sunscreens is the likely culprit.

Meanwhile, Swiss researchers have found other suspected gender-bender chemicals from sun creams and oils building up in fish in their rivers.

Scientists at the University of California, Riverside, found that two-thirds of the male turbot and sole near a sewage outfall three miles off the surfers' paradise of Huntington Beach, near Los Angeles, were growing ovary tissue in their testes. A similar study by the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project found fish affected all along the coast. The American research is
the first to find sex changes in fish in the open ocean.

Research on the feminising of fish in British rivers by the UK Environment Agency, exclusively reported in The Independent on Sunday, concluded in 2002 that oestrogen in urine from the contraceptive pill was to blame.

But the University of California scientists found that the only culprit they could "exclusively identify" is oxybenzone, used to protect the skin from the ultraviolet component of sunlight.

Oxybenzone, which mimics oestrogen's chemical make-up, is washed off tanned bodies in the shower, passes through sewage works unchanged and settles on the seabed, where bottom-feeding fish eat it.

The scientists suspect the sunscreens are a contributory factor along with other pollutants, which they have yet to identify, such as DDT and PCBs. The new Swiss research, however, shows two other suspected gender-bender substances used in sunscreen and lip balm - octocrylene and 4-methylbenzylidene camphor - also building up alarmingly in fish.

They fear that people are being exposed to the chemicals several times over, first by putting them on their skin, and then injesting them in drinking water and the fish they eat. But the cosmetics industry denies the chemicals are dangerous, and says that"sunscreen phobia" could lead to more cancers. For, unlike other cosmetics, sunscreens unquestionably save lives. About 100,000 new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in Britain each year, of which 7,300 are particularly deadly melanomas that kill more than 1,600 people a year. Cancer Research UK fears melanoma numbers will treble over the next 30 years.

However, there have been other concerns about potential health effects. Some clear sunscreens use nanoparticles so small that they can penetrate the skin and even get into the brain.

There is also concern about a the universal use of sunscreens. By shielding ourselves from sunlight, we produce less vitamin D, which protects against as many as 16 different cancers.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Googlized Nude Venues in the PNW

Click to the left if the active map is not working below.

If the larger IFRAME GoogleMap Frame does not appear below, or you see an 'Application Error', I'm working on it, getting the code right. Meanwhile, you could click on the smaller image above or the title link to view the Nude Hiking and Soaking Google Map on the main server (you'll like it better anyway.) Don't forget to click the return link to come back and see me again. I really do appreciate that people read this blog.

Give me a chance and I'll be adding a lot of material to this map in the coming weeks. Feel free to comment on the items, especially as they pertain to nudism or clothing-optional opportunities. Hovering the mouse pointer over an item will give a title; clicking will bring up a little more infomation. Clicking on the more link will take you to a larger version of the map where there is more detailed data and photos.

If you know of a place where clothing-optional activities do or can take place, feel free to contact me so that I can add them to this map for everybodies enjoyment. The same goes for photos to be added.

Internet Explorer HATES Iframes. So, if you're still using an antiquidated browser like Internet Explorer, get a real one, like Firefox that understands how to properly display iframes. If you'd like to see this interactive map and still insist on using IE, click the the title link to go directly to the map server page.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Nude Snow Hiking Jan 8-11, 2006, North Cascades

Some people claim that I'm crazy and I have to agree with them. Hiking nude in a snowstorm is a crazy (and dangerous) endevour but I'd just come back from a couple of days of trying to survive winter snow camping at the 5,000 foot level near Spark Plug Lake off Highway 2 and I wasn't really ready to give up the fun just yet. While the rest of the party headed on back to civilization I overnighted in Skykomish, visited some friends and checked out the accumulating snow up at Scenic Hot Springs. The next morning I just felt like a solo hike.

Hiking in increment weather is kind of a challenge to me and always has been. I'm one of the lucky ones in that my metabolism runs pretty high after repeated excursions out into the cold . . . and there are a few tricks I use to keep myself warm and safe when I hike in conditions that have the danger of hypothermia. I strongly suggest you do not try this yourself . . . because hypothermia is a sneaky character and you probably won't recognize the symptoms until it's too late and you're in serious trouble.

The first rule is always hike with someone else so that you can watch out for each other. Well, I'd already violated that rule when I started out that late morning under skies that I knew held the promise of winter storms by afternoon. But I'm crazy and you are not.

Today's hike did not start out as a nude hike . . . I merely wanted to hike and enjoy nature . . . alone. And alone I was. After a couple of hours heading into the mountain spurs overlooking the Foss River Valley I really felt good. Euphoric to be sitting atop a ridge and staring down at totally pristine beauty and quiet, peaceful solitude. To the south and west . . . in came those dark, manacing storm clouds. Did I mention I was stupid? Did I mention that I had a grin on my face?

I stopped for a mountain lunch and hot chocolate (I always carry a thermos on cold weather hikes). It had been drizzling pretty much the entire morning. The poncho had kept me dry. But I hated the need to be wearing clothes and as I stood there on that ridge I thought . . . well, there isn't much wind out and the air temperature was hovering around 40F or so. I wanted to see how far I could hike back nude before I gave up and put protective clothing back on. It was five miles back to where I'd parked the car and I had no illusions about making it that far. I figured I'd go fifteen minutes or so before I became uncomfortably cold. I started carefully removing my clothes under the protective shelter of my poncho. Maybe it was my way of defying Mother Nature?

With several days of snow camping recently behind me, I'm already acclimized to the cold weather. My boots shield me from the snow already on the ground and I make a habit of moisturizing my skin every day before a hike (nude or otherwise). But I'm not ready for those first few hundreds of freezing cold rain drops that hit my bare skin when I stand up nude from under the cover of the poncho. I almost give up right there and if it wasn't for my obstenance I would have. After a moment or so, the shock wears off and I open up myself to the environment. Already I can felt my skin reacting to the cold air and moisture and if I don't get moving pretty soon the cold is going to sap my heat.

Once moving, I'm generating more than enough heat to keep my core warm. The feet are toasty warm; the head, where 60% of all heat loss takes place, is covered and I even have a place for my trusty floppy blue hat atop the wool cap. Hands are the first to feel the cold as my body begins to shunt arterial blood from the arms back into the body. They are also wet. On go the glacier gloves and a mantra to myself to keep exercising the fingers to prevent cold stiffness.

Rain changes to big wet snowflakes . . . then smaller dryer ones that start falling in abundance. Soon they start sticking to my skin, taking their time to melt . . . a sure sign that my shell skin temperature is dropping. Occasionally, I shake off the snow on my hat. Yet, I'm not shivering and actually feel pretty good. My nipples are pinpoint hard from the cold and there is a certain numbness to a dangling part of my anatomy, but the weather out is certainly above freezing (even with the slight wind), so there is no chance of frostbite to a very valuable part of me. I trudge on and the snowfall gets heavier. About an hour into it and I stop for some hot chocolate. I'm still not shivering but I do feel some warning signs . . . cramping of the fingers and hands even though they are protected inside the gloves . . . signs that blood is being withheld from my extremities. I didn't feel the cramps in my legs but they had been working continuously and were probably pumping out the heat I needed to keep my core temperature on up. In retrospect, the cramping should have been my give-up signal. If the arterial shunts of my arms were being used to keep me warm then my legs would be next and I needed my legs to get me to warmth and safety. But as I said . . . I'm crazy. No shivering. I kept going, still not feeling the gross effects of cold . . . definitely not feeling the cold of snow sticking to my legs and arms.

Fortunately, as I hiked lower, the snow changed back to cold rain with some sleet . . . unfortunately with a little bit of wind to it as the sky darkened (storm clouds and approaching nightfall.) I set up a brutal pace now . . . because going all the way had become a personal challenge. Occassionally, I felt a deep tremor of a shiver but shook it off. I started making mistakes . . . walking right through deep puddles instead of skirting them to keep my boots (and feet) warm and dry. Branches whipped my bare skin but I barely noticed what would normally have been a sting of a whipped-back branch.

Twilight was falling in the shadow of the ridge . . . and the temperature was dropping fast. Parts were hurting from cold . . . I mean hurting! My buttocks (used to this pace) kept cramping . . . and now the cramping was being felt in the hamstings and the calf muscles. A numbness started suffusing the upper sections of my arms. Yet I felt I must be close and I want to finish this hike nude. Did I say I was crazy?

Strange thing. When I spotted my car I practically ran to it and fumbled the keys out of my fanny pack . . . dropping them twice in stiff fingers. And then the cold panic passed the moment I unlocked the car door. Instead of getting in to safety, I calmly stood out there in the dumping sleet and removed the pack and belts and such with deliberate care . . . careful to get them properly stored before I got myself into the car.

It hit me the moment the car door shut behind me . . . the shivering as I towelled myself off and got the engine started and the blower on high. I took me several minutes to work my boot laces undone so I could pull on some clothes. It was almost a half hour later and full darkness before I felt warm enough to do much of anything. The rest of the contents of my thermos helped immensely.

I felt chills all the way back into Seattle (a two hour drive). My skin had warmed up and the numbness painfully gone from the really cold appendages of mine. One area remained cold for another hour and that was the quarter inch of fat covering my abdomen. Every other part of me was feeling the warmth . . . except this thin layer of fat across my stomach. Fat may be an excellent insulator but it's a good thing to remember that fat also stays cold longer than the richly, blood-supplied muscles and other organs. Thinking back on it, cold-retention in the fat layers of hypothermic people was one of the discussion points in my wilderness medicine classes.

Would I do it again? Damn right I would. Like any other commune with nature, I have never felt as free as when I'm hiking nude. I don't think I was ever in any real danger, but the warning signs were beginning to appear and I did violate one very important safety rule . . . two are safer than one. And I've confirmed . . . hypothermia sneaks up on you.
Tags: , , , ,

This post has been geotagged: Google Map

Related Posts with Thumbnails