Naked alpine ramblers have been warned to keep their clothes on this spring or face fines under new legislation introduced by Swiss authorities intended to clamp down on a growing pastime. The Swiss canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden has said it will slap fines of 200 francs on holidaymakers going naked in the Alps.
“We were forced to introduce the legislation against this indecent practice before the warm weather starts,” said Melchior Looser, the justice and police minister of the canton.
He said that until now the naturist walkers – sometimes referred to as “boot-only hikers” – had been free to wander naked because there was no law to prevent them from doing so. The new law is expected to come into force on 9 February in time for the start of the hiking season.
According to one naked hiker website, nacktwandern.de, the trend goes back to the start of the 20th century and has much to do with the new access it gives people to nature.
“Abandoning unpractical clothes enables a direct contact with the wind, sun and temperature“, the site said. Some hikers even abandon footwear.
A 58-year-old German lawyer and naked hiker called Dietmar, who declined to give his last name, said he was sad to hear of the Swiss changes. “We simply try to tune into nature,” he said. “It’s the most harmless pursuit possible.”
There really is nothing new about this. Just some reactionary stiffs worried about grabbing enough Euros from people without pockets.
I occasionally bumped into groups or individuals hiking in the altogether in the Alps during my first trips to the region back in the 1970’s. Thought it made enough sense so that friends and I often adopted the same style in the Catskills and Adirondacks. No one ever had trouble with anything more than flies and other stinging critters.