The naked truth: Park Board to be briefed on nudity crackdown

Tomorrow night’s meeting of the Seattle Board of Park Commissioners is on our radar because of the proposal to seek a private operator for West Seattle Stadium — but it turns out that’s not the only item of interest on the agenda. The Parks Board will be briefed about a new proposed policy on nudity, and details have just been released. The topline goes like this:

The proposed rule of conduct would prohibit nudity in any public park or park facility open to the public. Violation of the rule may lead to the withdrawal of permission to remain in the park or park facility for a period of twenty-four hours or exclusion from parks, depending on the circumstances. There would be exceptions for children under the age of five, nursing mothers, and in restrooms, locker rooms and indoor showers.

But reading further into the briefing paper – which you can see in its entirety here – the proposal also would end the reported use of some public beaches as “informal clothing-optional beaches” and also would end the practice of granting permits for events such as the World Naked Bike Ride (which stopped by several West Seattle parks this past summer):

Event permits – The two most frequent requests for event permits are related to the beginning and stopover locations for the World Naked Bike Ride and for picnics at Magnuson Park. Recent World Naked Bike Ride events have resulted in complaints from citizens to the Seattle Police Department. These permits have been issued as the Superintendent does not now have a basis in law or regulation for denying an event permit as long as the permittee agrees to abide by applicable laws, rules and regulations, as is currently required by the permit. The proposed Rule will prohibit nude, or clothing optional events even under special permit. The Superintendent will no longer authorize permits for events where it is clear public nudity is planned.

After the briefing at tomorrow night’s park board meeting – 7 pm Thursday, Parks HQ in Denny Park downtown – a public hearing is planned for the Jan. 8 meeting, and a final vote on Jan. 22. Meantime, we’re reviewing the board agenda documents for tomorrow night’s West Seattle Stadium item and will post about that separately later. We’ll also be seeking comment on the nudity policy from the local WNBR organizer who participated extensively in the comments on our September report (and had in the past requested to rent Colman Pool for a nude swimming event).

29 Replies to "The naked truth: Park Board to be briefed on nudity crackdown"

  • mike November 12, 2008 (11:18 am)

    and this is a problem to public safety because?…

    I thought Seattle was a little more open.

  • JoB November 12, 2008 (11:24 am)

    maybe citizens need to complain about the proposed statutes…

  • mellaw6565 November 12, 2008 (11:49 am)

    This is ridiculous – what a bunch of prudes that run our local government. Other countries don’t waste their time with this b.s.!

  • Roger November 12, 2008 (12:03 pm)

    I am sure this is not a ‘bunch’ of local citizens complaining, but members of conservative religious groups who are exerting their beliefs on all of us.
    Seattle, generally, is very liberal and open, but the rise of these conservative groups is frightening.
    I just can’t imagine what people in Europe think of America…what with all those vile, naked, inappropriate displays like Michaelangelo’s David, the horrible nakedness of the Venus de Milo, the Sistine Chapel and countless other ‘vulgar’, sinful displays of nakedness…

  • datamuse November 12, 2008 (12:08 pm)

    I remember reading something months ago about a guy who visited Washington, D.C. and was just SHOCKED at all of the partially or fully nude statues.

    I think he was from Texas. Maybe they don’t teach about neoclassical art there?

  • In2theknight November 12, 2008 (12:10 pm)

    Don’t you liberal hippies get it?!? If God had intended us to be nude, then we would have been born nu…ooooooooooh, NOW I get it.
    (tee hee)

  • Kayleigh2 November 12, 2008 (12:14 pm)

    Most people I don’t want to see nude. Yuck.

    People ride bikes naked? Really? Ouch.

  • WSB November 12, 2008 (12:15 pm)

    Follow the link in the story above to our coverage of Sept.’s Naked Bike Ride sightings in West Seattle – three photos provided by readers. None beyond mild PG, no worries.

  • Mike November 12, 2008 (12:24 pm)

    Right on! It’s about time we got some appropriate standards in Seattle.

  • OP November 12, 2008 (12:35 pm)

    …and it’s often the people that NO one wants to see naked that often go naked in public, like saggy-bottomed hippies and people who haven’t bathed for 3 or 4 days….

  • JenV November 12, 2008 (12:59 pm)

    it is too damn cold to go nude here. Why is this even an issue?

  • Ang November 12, 2008 (1:01 pm)

    what is it with american’s and being offended by the human body??! I mean seriously?! You all have the same body parts as the rest of us… you might not like to show it to the world but some do. It’s their choice, and there is nothing wrong with that! I wonder what exactly triggered this? Just the bike ride? I mean, i don’t often go to parks and see tons of people walking their dogs, playing on the beach, or reading a newspaper in the nude… so why make the law? is it really that big of an issue??

  • Julie November 12, 2008 (1:17 pm)

    ::groan:: Okay–that headline deserves flogging with a wet noodle…

  • Jeannie November 12, 2008 (2:01 pm)

    Good catch, Julie. “Crackdown” indeed. We must buttress ourselves against this shocking nudity!

  • GenHillOne November 12, 2008 (2:03 pm)

    lol, OP, it is NEVER the ones we would WANT to see naked!

    sounds like this is a simple case of the Parks Dept. not wanting to be the ones responsible for granting the permits and then taking the heat from those that don’t agree…I can sort of see the issue with picnics in a public space (since there are private facilities that could be used), but hate to crush “protests” like the bikers who are brave enough to get out there

  • Al November 12, 2008 (2:13 pm)

    Homelessness is rising, the city’s losing jobs, kids get gunned down in their homes, public health clinics might close, at least community centers close, food banks have record numbers and empty budgets, our incarceration rates are such that we’re seriously overcrowding the jails, folks are losing their homes to foreclosure and their pensions to junk bonds and golden parachutes, we’re running our of room for names on our war memorial, the seawall is full of worms, community service officers will be no more, and THIS is a focus of the attention of our city’s resources? Our leadership should really be reconsidering the priorities it’s demonstrating.

  • Jason November 12, 2008 (2:51 pm)

    I’m ok with seeing violence on TV and in movies… gun blazing, blood, explosions, war and death….

    But boobies?… Hmmmmm…That just ain’t right. **sigh**

  • GC November 12, 2008 (2:54 pm)

    Aesthetic displeasure isn’t exactly, particularly in a time of severely limited resources, a reason to trot out the full forces of stodginess and regulation.

    Y’all can go naked if you want (though it seems a bit chilly) so long as I don’t have to pay any ER bills for hypothermia or unusual scrapes’n’bruises, or expose the public to my own flabby carcass to support you.

    This one, like so many other Nickel’s era nanny initiatives, needs to be shot down in flames.

  • mk November 12, 2008 (5:38 pm)


  • Daniel Johnson November 12, 2008 (7:03 pm)

    A public nudity ban? How un-Seattle! :)

    The City of Seattle gathered citizen comments on this topic when they were putting together their Parks & Rec Strategic Action Plan. Support was overwhelming for supporting clothing-optional recreation.

    So a summary:

    From a search for “nudity” in this PDF (152 pages) found 17 instances:

    From Parks and Rec page….

    click on strategic action plan for this PDF:

    General Comments on the Plan
    5 pages (p.16-20; 46 comments) under “What is missing from this plan?” (none against)

    Goal I – Steward Seattle’s Parks and open spaces for long term sustainability

    6 pages (p.31-36; 76 comments) under “What is missing from our goals?” (two against)

    Goal II – Provide Rec and Learning opps to support healthy and diverse communities

    – What is missing from this goal?

    p.58-64 (all supportive comments, none against)

    p.91 GOAL IV – Maintain Parks & Rec Land and Facilities

    – what is missing from this goal?

    p.95-96 (all supportive comments)

  • steven roth November 12, 2008 (9:47 pm)

    We need to become more accepting of the human body, especially our own, instead of sexualizing/objectifying of women, especially.

  • Daniel Johnson November 12, 2008 (10:34 pm)
    City weighs stripping nudists of bike ride

  • WSB November 12, 2008 (11:08 pm)

    Same thing we reported here, only 10 hours later :)

  • Jim Polston November 13, 2008 (5:23 am)

    It would seem like the people who who write the laws for Seattle’s parks would have more to do with their time. I mean with gangs and drug use and homeless people for a start. Nude people have been around for quite a while in Seattle and no one has been harmed by them.

  • GC November 13, 2008 (9:24 am)

    Rules cost money (Staff time, enforcement, tracking, signage, etc.). Seattle is severely short of money at the moment. When short of money, only *really necessary* expenditures are justified.

    Is banning nudity *really necessary*, say on the order of buying a tank of diesel for a fire engine, or perhaps paying towards Emergency Response Services?

  • Todd November 13, 2008 (10:59 am)

    The posts on here are 90% terrific! (The others are addressed below.) For those of you who think banning nudity in the parks is a waste of time and resources, please contact (parks commission staffer) and let her know!

  • Todd November 13, 2008 (11:02 am)

    “Most people I don’t want to see nude. Yuck.”
    Fine. Don’t look. But don’t pass laws banning it. What’s next, banning obese people from parks because they “offend” someone?

    “and it’s often the people that NO one wants to see naked that often go naked in public”
    Again, if you don’t like it don’t look. But, you probably have never seen the WNBR, or you wouldn’t be writing such rubbish. Check out flickr to see the actual participants.

  • John November 13, 2008 (5:49 pm)

    The problem with these issues is that the arguments get applied blanketly to all parks in the city. In reality there are maybe 1-3 places in Seattle where you will see anything even resembling nudity, and that only happens during the cumulative 6-8 weeks of real sunshine in any given year. I’ve been to those parks and there are generally no children around and frankly it’s not the children who even care about this.
    The question posed above was perfect. Given the miniscule reality of this issue why is anyone even spending time worrying about it????

  • Hal O'Brien November 13, 2008 (9:13 pm)

    “Given the miniscule reality of this issue why is anyone even spending time worrying about it????”

    The deathly fear that someone, somewhere, is having fun.

    That and the desire, a la Matthew 6:5, to be seen as pious in public, while simultaneously being embarrassed by God and his work. Which is why Jesus called such people hypocrites.


Sorry, comment time is over.