Thursday, September 1, 2005
Camp offers nude recreation in Newberry
By KELLY DONOVAN
NEWBERRY SPRINGS -- Call it a club, call it a camp, just don't call it a colony.
The folks at the Silver Valley Sun Club take offense at their RV park in Newberry Springs being referred to as a nudist colony.
"Ants and lepers live in colonies," club owner Nancy Dulle said. "We are a nudist camp, or a clothing-optional camp."
The Sun Club offers recreational and social activities year-round in an environment where being naked is the norm.
The 15-acre nudist camp has a peaceful lake, hookups for up to 18 RVs, space for plenty of tents and parking for tractor trailers.
Eight staff members live on the property, and they tend to be fully clothed more often than the patrons, Dulle said.
As many as 300 people have stayed there at one time, Dulle said. On Wednesday, there were no campers there, but a crowd is expected for this weekend.
Campers don't have to go naked except when they're swimming or boating, but most of them choose to go around nude, Dulle said.
Longtime Newberry Springs resident Bill Smith, 68, and his wife have been members of the Sun Club since the early 1990s.
"Once we met the people, we were hooked," Smith said.
He said club members and people who go there to camp are friendly and kind-hearted people, the sort that lend a hand in a time of need.
When a brush fire broke out near the Sun Club the Fourth of July weekend, a group of the nudists rushed to help, Dulle and Smith said.
Smith said he and the others dug firebreaks to protect buildings, helping prevent it from spreading to nearby residences.
Dulle said the nudists who come to her club are from all walks of life.
She and Smith said campers have included nurses, teachers, ministers, mail carriers, doctors, carpenters, judges, mechanics, lawyers and police officers.
"Class means nothing," Smith said. "When you don't have clothes, everyone is equal."
People sometimes try to impress others with clothing and jewelry, and that's not an issue at the camp, Smith said.
"People don't put on airs," he said.
The Sun Club has about 180 members, and has attracted campers from all over the world, Dulle said. Many members live out of state in places like Idaho and Texas, she said.
Dulle estimated that about 25 or 30 of the camp's regulars are from the Barstow and Newberry Springs areas.
Campers are encouraged to bring their children, but Dulle said there usually aren't many youths there, probably because so many of the regulars' children are grown. The median age of a member is probably around 50, she said.
Membership in the club isn't necessary to camp there.
Campers must obey a list of rules that Dulle said are strictly enforced. Among the prohibited behavior contained on the list campers receive is "overt, sexually explicit behavior or conversation."
Sexual activities are not allowed in public just as they wouldn't be at any other RV camp, Dulle said.
"We're family oriented," she said. "We get calls, people are looking for swing clubs, and we let them know we have nothing to do with that."
Dulle founded the camp 17 years ago with her husband, construction consultant John Dulle.