Friday, August 21, 2009

Canadian Freehiker Perseveres

Interesting article from Orillia, Ontario, Canada, about a man who has been freehiking trails in that area for years. A recent encounter with cyclists provoked the following reaction:
"He was like anybody else," said (Guy) Aubin. "He just gave us a nod. If he had clothes on, you wouldn't think he was weird or nothing."

Still Aubin felt compelled to call the Orillia OPP to report the bizarre encounter. "It doesn't bother me personally, but if kids are out there, I'd be worried."

"He should get a fine to encourage him to put his clothes on."
This sort of irrational response isn't anything new to the unidentified naturist. He has been charged with public nudity and committing indecent acts but never convicted on either charge, and in 2007 authorities managed to harrass him with a "mischief" charge.
"He's been doing it for years," Severn Township mayor Phil Sled said. "We asked him not to do it any more, but he thinks he's within his rights. We passed the matter on to the police, but they couldn't do anything.

"It's just one of those things. It is kind of humorous."

Orillia OPP Sgt. Robin Moore said the hiker is not committing an indecent act if he covers his genitals, however skimpily.
Four questions. 1) If the man is within his rights, why do the authorities continue to harass him? 2) If the mayor finds the man humorous, why continue to pass the matter on to police? 3) What exactly is it that makes even the skimpiest covering of the genitals "decent", and the uncovering of them "indecent?" 4) What specifically is it about the mostly nude freehiker with one arm that is dangerous to children?

There are no good answers to these questions. This freehiker is being persecuted simply due to people's ignorance of the law, and of naturism. Has the Federation of Canadian Naturists come to the support of this man, or has he been fighting this battle alone?

I have been fortunate enough to freehike at Ohio's Cedar Trials, which has 5 miles of paths, and after feeling the freedom of not having sweaty clothes clinging to my skin, and feeling the cool breeze instead, I think it's weird that anyone would ever want to hike wearing textiles.

Freehiking could be one of the keys to getting the next generation interested in naturism. Next to sunbathing, swimming and beach volleyball, it's the recreational activity that makes the most sense being done in the nude.

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