Saturday, September 26, 2009

Breaking News at Bagby Hot Springs

Posted on the AANR Blog

This afternoon we were delighted to receive good news from your AANR-Northwest GAT Team. An agreement has been reached with officials of the United States Forest Service overseeing Bagby Hot Springs that restores the long-accepted policy allowing nudity.

According to the team, Bagby officials acknowledge that, in the long term, there are some details which need to be worked out clarifying conditions where nudity is permitted. In the interim, however, they have agreed to return matters to “status quo.” Put another way, nudity may be enjoyed under the same conditions as it has been for the past 18 years.

We have received assurances that verbiage confirming this decision will soon appear on the official Bagby Hot Springs site which may be accessed by clicking here.

And . . . three days later a post by Don Zirbel, the Oregon NACRep and member of the Naturist Action Committee's Board of Directors:

Many of you are undoubtedly aware of some growing confusion surrounding the U.S. Forest Service’s long-standing policy of allowing nude soaking at Bagby Hot Springs here in Oregon. I posted some information about that a few weeks ago and I figure it’s a good time to pass along another update.

As I mentioned previously, there had indeed been some recent changes in signage as well as the Forest Service’s website, which created some concern among soakers and naturists that nude soaking was no longer permitted and citations were being issued. I made a trip to Bagby to investigate rumors of mysterious appearances of “nudity prohibited” signage, although up to that point no one among various nudist/naturist organizations or hot springs enthusiasts had yet obtained physical evidence of the sign’s existence. I did find some signs and reported on them in the most recent issue of The Naturist Society’s N Magazine, and also set out to ascertain the significance and intent of the signage.

Long story short, it has been rather difficult getting all of the facts sorted out, partly due to the Forest Service’s internal organizational structure and a shift in assignments among the personnel associated with administration of the region responsible for Bagby. Added to that was the fact that the Forest Service’s intent with the new signage and information had become “lost in translation” to some extent. Over the past few weeks I have spoken with several Forest Service administrative personnel and they have asked for help in drafting new, clearer policy language, which addresses both the Forest Service’s concerns and objectives and is sensitive to the interests, concerns and views of the naturist and soaker communities.

The Acting District Ranger for the Mt Hood National Forest, whose jurisdiction includes Bagby Hot Springs and has been assigned the task of developing updated policy regarding nude soaking there, has contacted me and asked for NAC’s help and participation in a multi-organizational effort to establish a new policy that is fair and sensitive to everyone. The Forest Service is also seeking to become better informed and enlightened about the practices, customs, history and policies regarding nude recreation on public lands in other locales, and is eager to benefit from NAC’s long history and expertise with issues regarding public lands naturism. I am looking forward to representing NAC, and the naturist and soaker communities, in this ground-breaking cooperative relationship with the Forest Service, as well as the opportunity to work with other organizations on this project.

Rest assured that the Bagby nude soaking issue is not being, nor has it ever been, championed by any one organization. My experience thus far has been that the more “public” I am with my and NAC’s progress and status regarding Bagby, the more tendency it has to draw political sparring and jockeying for the head of the line, so to speak…and that is not only counterproductive to the overall objective, it is also an aspect of the “behind the scenes” realities of naturist politics that serves the individual beachgoer, soaker, hiker, skinnydipper, etc., absolutely no good to have to be sucked into. I am optimistic that this new opportunity will let us all overcome politics and work together with the U.S. Forest Service in the name and spirit of public lands nude recreation.

For the time being, until a new policy is developed, the Forest Service District Ranger has made the decision to leave the nudity policy as it has been; i.e., nude soaking is permitted in the immediate area of the bathhouse, and asking that everyone be respectful of others around them, as has always been the standard of soaking etiquette at Bagby.

As things evolve, I will keep everyone apprised. Thanks!


Board of Directors,

Naturist Action Committee


Well . . . NAC and GAT continue to 'not acknowledge or talk to one another'. As far as I can tell . . . AANR-GAT brought the problem at Bagby to our (the general naturist public) attention, while TNS-NAC was silent, as if caught off-guard by the sudden public involvement by GAT's Public Lands Liaison unit with Forest Service personnel. Only then did I see some postings on the subject by NAC.

Whom is trying to take credit here? GAT reports simply on it's own activities . . . NAC reports on it's belated involvement with subtle nudges of others involved, but definitely taking credit for what AANR-GAT has already reported. Seems self-serving to me.

Personally, I'm getting sick and tired of all this animosity between GAT and NAC. We must look like jokes to those we are attempting to negotiate with . . . divide and conquer, only we are doing the dividing.


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