Nothing infamous about nude beach
Letter to the Editor - Miami Herald
September 4, 2005
In her Aug. 11 Club Crawling column, Lesley Abravanel described Haulover's designated clothing-optional naturist family beach as being "infamous.''
That comment best describes the beach area of over 14 years ago, before the establishment of the naturist beach.
We found the word ''infamous'' to be extremely offensive as well as statistically and factually incorrect.
People who have read the column will now believe that people who visit Haulover's clothing-optional beach are participating in some form of inappropriate behavior. A discussion with the lifeguards and police would have revealed that this is the cleanest and safest beach area in the county, and it is supported by volunteer Beach Ambassadors.
Haulover Beach Park has a quarter-mile, designated clothing-optional naturist family beach. It attracts over one million visitors a year who pay over $1.3 million annually in parking fees.
Over 65 percent of these visitors are from outside of Miami-Dade. They are classified by the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau as ''tourists'' and they have an estimated economic impact in excess of $400 million a year.
This fact makes Haulover Beach's naturist beach, as a facility, the largest in attendance in South Florida. This was accomplished by the local naturist association, South Florida Free Beaches, in 1991 without the use of one tax dollar.
Further, we keep the beach clean and we are self-policing, saving the county hundreds of thousands of dollars in the costs of maintenance and police. This allows the police to go where the crimes are, Most of them in the homes of Miami-Dade residents.
Naturism has a spiritual meaning beyond the mere nudity. It is about caring for all things natural. The environment and the human body.
Our volunteer Beach Ambassadors are there to welcome visitors.
If Ms. Abravanel wanted to be critical, she could have spoken out against the recent selling of alcoholic beverages, on the beach by the concessionaire. An ''infamous'' beverage.
- RICHARD MASON
PRESIDENT, SOUTH FLORIDA FREE BEACHES MIAMI SHORES