A Rocky Mountain High
You can go nude
Tanners in the buff surprising, but legal, at Boulder Reservoir
By Brad Turner
The Daily Times-Call
BOULDER — Stan doesn’t expect any grief when he heads to Boulder Reservoir for an afternoon of full-body tanning.
The Lakewood resident brings a cooler, a chaise longue and three large signs warning passers-by they are entering a clothing-optional stretch of shoreline.
“There’s plenty of room for everybody,” Stan said on a recent Saturday, wearing only a camouflage hat. “But I always put up the signs.”
Clothed people just down the beach from Stan spent the afternoon violating posted rules against swimming on the reservoir’s north shore.
But Stan and a half-dozen nude sunbathers in a nearby aspen grove on the lake’s north shore did nothing illegal.
Boulder leaders banned nudity at nearby Coot Lake in 1987 after neighbors complained for years of unruly behavior there.
However, the city’s ordinances say nothing about being in the buff at Boulder Reservoir, or any other city park, according to ranger Matt Claussen.
A person who walked around the lake and exposed himself or herself to others would be arrested for indecent exposure. But nude sunbathing is not a malicious activity on par with flashing people, he said.
Rangers at Boulder Reservoir field occasional calls from surprised hikers, but Claussen said most park employees have a friendly rapport with the nudists.
“We tell them the reservoir is used by multiple visitors, and it might cause concern,” Claussen said.
Stan, who declined to give his last name, said he learned to enjoy nude sunbathing at European beaches when he was in the military.
He said he used to hang out at a nudist colony in the mountains but now prefers Boulder Reservoir because it is closer to his home.
In 20 years of visits to the reservoir, the only time Stan ever caught flack was when a family of beachgoers stumbled upon him as he was lounging in his birthday suit, he said. He began posting warning signs on the beach to prevent more scrapes.
At Longmont parks, nude sunbathers would get indecent-exposure tickets. A city ordinance prohibits indecent displays, including nude bathing, at Union Reservoir and McIntosh Lake, city Parks and Open Space superintendent Don Bessler said.
Brad Turner can be reached at 720-494-5420, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.