Nearly six decades have elapsed since the early day members of Fraternity Snoqualmie first set foot on Tiger Mountain and began the arduous task of transforming the dilapidated remains of an abandoned goat farm into a nude recreational park. At times, progress was slow and it may have appeared that nothing was being accomplished. But, at other times, everything seemed to fall right into place.
If one were to ask, “In what decade did the most significant and dramatic changes take place?” the answer would surely be, “The 1970’s.” This was an era of change throughout the Western world. Our so-called “moral code” was taking on a whole new meaning. The United States Supreme Court, in a landmark decision, had redefined the word “obscene”. New words and phrases had made their way into the American vocabulary: “prurient interests”, “redeeming social value”, and “community standards”. Although the court decision was subject to broad interpretation, it said, in effect, that nudity, per se, was not obscene. This decision opened a door allowing previously unheard of leeway for the display of nude human bodies in movies, magazines, and, to a lesser extent, on television. Increased public acceptance of nudity gave rise to an unprecedented growth in organized nudism. (We touched upon this briefly in “Up on the Hill, VII”).
To remain competitive with new nudist clubs, the old established clubs found it necessary to modernize. Fraternity Snoqualmie had already begun upgrading the recreational facilities (See “Up on the Hill, IX”). Further improvements were still a few years away.
But the modernization required to keep up with changing public attitudes and awareness could not be limited to improvements in park facilities. To gain and maintain public acceptance it was also essential that nudism change its public image. In an increasingly tolerant society, many of our attitudes, rules, and standards appeared not only excessively strict, but also laughable, bordering on the ridiculous (See “Up on the Hill, V”).
A question frequently posed by non-nudists, in one form or another, was “You nudists claim that the wearing of clothing is not necessary for morally acceptable conduct. If this is true, why do you find it necessary to impose such draconian rules? This attitude seems somewhat hypocritical.”
Nudists everywhere began to ponder some important issues with an eye toward the reevaluation of our beliefs and standards of conduct. The question that arose was, “Is it really possible for men, women, and children to live, work, and play together in a clothing-free environment within the framework of the laws, rules, regulations, and moral standards imposed by a clothed society?”
If so, then our rules would need revision and a nudist must never make the statement, “(Some activity) is acceptable if the persons involved are clothed but unacceptable if they are nude.” To make such a statement would be tantamount to admitting that nudism is less acceptable than being clothed. By such admission, nudism could never hope to gain widespread public acceptance.
As a first step in the revision of our rules and policies, an important organizational change was made. A new standing committee, Bylaws and Procedures, was established. The immediate function of the committee was to rewrite the voluminous and cumbersome bylaws document, retaining only those articles and sections which related to the basic organizational structure. Details of implementing the bylaws, including rules and regulations, would appear in a new and more easily amended document, the Procedures Manual.
Of the many rules that had existed for years, the primary ones to be rewritten and incorporated into the Procedures Manual were those that related to bodily contact. Generally, the criterion for keeping or discarding a rule was to keep the rule consistent (within reason) with what was accepted in a clothed environment. “Is it all right for two people to embrace slightly in downtown Seattle or at SeaTac Airport? Yes, it is. Then it’s all right at Park Forestia (use some common sense, there are kids around, you know what’s in good taste and what isn’t). Do we permit clothed dancing? Yes. Well, now you may dance nude too, if you wish. How about applying lotion to another person’s body? Sure, they do it all the time at Green Lake.”
No more would there be forbidden topics of conversation. “We are supposed to be people of vision and foresight, hoping to redirect, in some small measure, the attitudes of society. How can we hope to make a dent if we stifle open discussion?”
The rigid ban on use of last names made us look like some secret society. Of course, it was important that we respect each other’s privacy. The policy was changed, encouraging members to use their full names but honoring requests for greater confidentiality.
The consumption of alcoholic beverages on club grounds was (and, to some extent, remains) a controversial issue. The rule was changed to allow alcohol on the grounds in compliance with state and local laws, with emphasis on MODERATION. Members rejected a proposed rule which would have required drinks to be in coffee cups, or concealed in paper bags or styrofoam can holders.
For years, Fraternity Snoqualmie (and nearly every nudist club in the USA and Canada) imposed a quota on single men. There was fear that without such a quota the clubs would be inundated with single men whom some people saw as potential perverts. As this paranoia subsided, there was incentive to relax the quota. In the new Procedures Manual, the quota was changed from two single men for every five couples to a male to female ratio not to exceed 1.3. The new quota applied to single women as well. (The quota remained in effect until the mid 1980’s when the ratio was increased to 1.5. In 2000, the quota was done away with completely).
It was 1973 when the new Bylaws and Procedures Manual were approved by the membership. This represented a major step forward in the organizational structure of the club. The strict rules which had been deleted were replaced by a simple statement, “Members and guests shall, at all times, act with consideration and respect for others.”
We can not conclude without commenting on the champion of all rules, “A man and woman who are not married to each other may not wander out of sight of the main activity area unless accompanied by a third person.” This rule was deleted in its entirety and not replaced with any similar rule. Amen!