No nudity law needed

Last week the Chico City Council’s Internal Affairs Committee marched forward with a proposal to ban nudity within the city limits. If passed, the law would mean no more skinny-dipping in Upper Park, no matter how secluded the area.

Spot some folks near Brown Hole who just might be naked? Get out the binoculars—if your suspicions are confirmed, whip out the cell phone and call the cops. They’ll have to respond. And we can all sleep better at night knowing we have the naked people on the run.

From our view, however, the law is unneeded, prudish and a waste of time. There are already laws on the books for indecent exposure—nudity of a sexual nature—and they are enforced. Over the years the police have made numerous arrests of flashers in or around Cedar Grove and other areas of Bidwell Park.

Skinny-dipping or nude sunbathing in the upper reaches of Upper Park is another story. The acts are non-threatening and natural. Those offended by the human body can avert their eyes or stay away from the remote swimming holes. Indeed, if nudity is so offensive to some folks, the Park Commission would do well to post “clothing optional” signs near where people choose to swim and relax in the buff.

And if the problem is people swimming naked at One Mile—which apparently triggered action on the matter but happens only rarely and even then after dark—then ban nudity in that immediate area. But let’s not be so puritanical as to outlaw nudity in the more pristine areas of the park. How far from nature have we gotten?