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REMARKS OF DR. GEORGE R. HARKER

WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 7, 2001

PUBLIC HEARING REGARDING MAKENA STATE PARK - LITTLE BEACH

Maui Waena Intermediate School

Good evening ladies and gentlemen.

I am Dr. George R. Harker, aka Dr. Leisure

I have been a resident of Kihei for the past five years.

I have been studying nude beaches around the world for over twenty years. (It is hard work, but
somebody has to do it!)

Before residing in Maui I lived in Illinois. For twenty-one years I was a professor in the
Department of Recreation and Park Administration at Western Illinois University.

While at the University I became recognized as an authority on public nudity or recreational
nudity as practiced around the world. I have travel extensively researching the phenomena
throughout the world. I have written a number of books either on or related to the topic.

Today I am recognized as an expert in the area of public nudity and have offered testimony in
state and federal court in the states of New York, Florida and Hawaii. A copy of the materials
required by Federal Rule 26(a)(2). Disclosure of Expert are presented as an attachment for your
information.

I am fairly knowledgeable with regard to the issues associated with Makena State Park having
been involved in consulting with State Department of Land and Natural  Resources officials over
the years since 1987.  I first visited Maui and Little Beach at the behest of Friends of Little
Beach, then under the direction of Peter Rowley.

The issue of nudity in state parks was address in 1989 with the Department of Land and Natural
Resources expending hundreds of thousands of dollars to go through the process of properly
formulating rule changes.

Although the public input on the issue clearly showed an overwhelming support for nude
bathing, some 2,400 letters  in support with only 400 letters in opposition, the DLNR put forth
regulations contrary to that public interest and prohibited nudity in state parks.

In 1990 I wrote the book, Creation and Management Guide to Public Clothing Optional
Beaches and Parks. I wrote the book because park professionals throughout the country were
having difficulty grappling with aspects of the growing interest in clothing optional bathing.
Material in the book is based on my study of beaches in North America. Since its publication, it
has become the standard reference for park officials throughout North America involved with
nude beaches.

Little Beach is prominently feature in that guide. The activities of Friends of Little Beach
demonstrated the positive synergism that can come from concerned citizens working with a
government entity to the benefit of the public at large.

Because of the book and my studies on the topic I have been consulted by park officials from
Vancouver, British Columbia to Miami, Florida. The nude beach in Canada is Wreck Beach
(formally recognized in 1990) and the one in Dade County Florida is Haulover Beach (basically
established in 1995) following and incorporating many of the ideas in my book.

Incidently Little Beach is ranked 10th by the Travel Channel in their show dealing with world
class nude beaches.

The issues being raised by Charlie Maxwell today, have been raised by him in the past. Review
the transcripts of the November 1989 Maui public hearings on State Park Regulations changes as
but one example. It was clear from that hearing that the majority of other native Hawaiians did
not share his views.

Indeed, there are a number of Little Beach users that are native Hawaiians and very in tune with
their heritage. Perhaps it is time for Charlie Maxwell to pass whatever mantel of authority he has
to one of these individuals who could better serve the greater good both with regard to the
interest of native Hawaiians and the public at large on this committee.

(Charlie Maxwell gaveled the presentation to an end at this point.)

Lets not be naive, the proposal to limit nudity at Little Beach is an attempt by a select few to
close Little Beach to a very popular form of recreation enjoyed by a vast majority.

I have no doubt that there are segments of society that are adamant in their disdain for nude
bathing or nudity in any form.  The most prominently in the news these days is of course Osama
bin Laden and his followers’.

Ironically the underlying culture of the US stems from similarly conservative and puritanical
beliefs. Religiously persecuted individuals with very conservative belief systems based on
Calvinism and Puritanism founded the New England colonies of the developing United States.
Missionaries of those early colonies found their way to Hawaii in the 1800's and instilled their
belief system rather effectively in the native Hawaiians.

However, belief systems evolve and change. We see that clearly in Hawaii with regard the issue
of nudity.

In 1970 State v. Rocker two nude sunbathers were arrested after an anonymous caller notified
police they were nude at Pu’Ola’i Beach.  The Supreme Court of Hawaii decided that the
defendants exposed themselves in a location open to casual observers. (I have a problem with
this remembering how hard it was to get to Little Beach in 1970.)

Move forward to 1998. Six men are arrested for indecent exposure at Polo beach on Oahu. They
are nude on what many on Oahu consider a nude beach. In September 29, 2000 the convictions
of those that appealed are overturned by the Supreme Court of Hawaii. The court said there had
to be intent on the part of the one nude and the person affronted by that, had to be there. A more
complete analysis is presented in an attached article and on my web site. The bottom line,
however, is that being nude at the beach or anywhere else is not indecent exposure. A view
pretty much held throughout all fifty states since the early 1990's.

Financial Implications of the Nude Beach
The financial input into the community is quite significant. With the closure of Kaloko-
Honokohau beach on the Big Island, I had an opportunity to objectively study the financial
impact of the closing of a nude beach.  Using the drop in visitors and the Hawaiian Travel
Authorities expenditure allocations I determined that the amount was approximately $60 million
a year. ( A copy of that analysis is in the document I have prepared for the board and available
on my web site DrLeisure.com.)

In my opinion there is little comparison between the draw of Kaloko-Honokohau and Little
Beach. The draw for Little Beach could be many times greater. But for the sake of discussion
assume it is the same.

Closure of the beach would result in the loss of millions of dollars of revenue to the Maui
economy. With that loss of revenue would be the loss of hundreds if not thousands of jobs.

Let me say again this is a multi-million tourist draw for the island of Maui.  The loss of revenue
to Maui will be all that much more catastrophic given the events of September 11, 2001.

Like it or not, Makena State Park is the crown jewel of state parks and the attraction is clothing
optional bathing.

Just talk of possibly changing the use at Little Beach is having an adverse effect on the economy
as we speak. Visitors to nude beaches don’t come to be hassled. I have had numerous call
regarding the status of the beach. A number have indicated they will not be coming if there is
any question regarding the quality of their visit.

Conclusions
Any action, even just talk, is or will have a multimillion dollar impact on the local economy.

Closure or limiting nudity would be contrary to the will of the public as demonstrated at public
forums over the last dozen years.

Arresting nude bathers would be contrary to contemporary interpretation of state law and would
be illegal.

Recommendation:
Work hard to regain and maintain the status quo. Significant energies need to be directed toward
correcting the damage done by the way this matter is currently being handled.  The Hawaiian
Tourism Authority and the Maui Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with the Department of
Land and Natural Resources should come out with a definitive statement regarding their support
of the finest nude beach in the world. This should be done as soon as possible!

Meet with the established clientele and find out what their needs are. These are the established
customers that have been blessing Maui with their dollar’s for many years. Many even live here!

Have numerous public meetings and encourage the input of the public. In working with the
Greater Vancouver Regional Authority and their planning for Wreck beach, I found that they not
only had public hearings similar to this but they also had more informal meetings. These
meetings were like a social tea. Individuals could interact with the planners and discuss their
thoughts and concerns on a one on one basis. I would strongly recommend a number of such
meetings before any decisions are made.

I have enjoyed this opportunity to speak with you. And I would be pleased to meet with the
committee or anyone else with an interest in the management of nude beaches.  Aloha and
Mahalo
 

Dr. George R. Harker,              November 7, 2001
P.O. Box 1137
Kihei, HI 96753
808-250-4160
 

MATERIALS IN SUPPORT OF PRESENTATION

All may be found on the Internet site DrLeisure.com

Creation and Management Guide to public clothing optional beaches and parks by George
R. Harker

Selected pages from Recreational Nudity and the Law by Gordon Gill, published by Dr. Leisure

What is the Value of a Nude Beach by George R. Harker

Is it Legal to be Nude on a Nude Beach in Hawaii by George R. Harker

World’s Best: Best Nude Beaches by Melanie Mize

Rule 26(a)(2). Disclosure of Expert Testimony
 
 

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--Writer Dr. George R. Harker can be reached by email at drleisure1@aol.com.

Article may be reproduced with appropriate credit: drleisure.com

Copyright 2001, Dr. Leisure

©Copyright 2001 Dr. Leisure. All rights reserved.
 
 

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