Nude Hiking Banned in Switzerland

APPENZELL, Switzerland (AP) - Voters in the heart of the Swiss
Alps on Sunday passed legislation banning naked hiking after dozens
of mostly German nudists started rambling through their picturesque
region.
By a show of hands citizens of the tiny canton (state) of
Appenzell Inner Rhodes voted overwhelmingly at their traditional
open-air annual assembly to impose a 200 Swiss franc ($176) fine on
violators.
Only a scattering of people on Sunday opposed the ban on the
back-to-nature activity that took off last autumn when naked hikers
- primarily Germans - started showing up in eastern Switzerland.
The cantonal government recommended the ban after citizens
objected to encountering walkers wearing nothing but hiking boots
and socks.
"The reactions of the population have shown that such
appearances over a large area are perceived as thoroughly
disturbing and irritating," the government said in a statement.
A similar legal move is expected in neighboring Appenzell Outer
Rhodes with legislation being prepared against "this shameless
behavior."
German Web sites promoting the activity describe it as "a
special experience of nature, free and healthy" and said nude
walking in the Alps has roots in antiquity.
The verdant Appenzell region has been regarded as a favorite,
with trails the nudists regarded as off the beaten path.
The German sites also promote walks in France and in regions of
Germany, where public nudity has roots going back to the 18th
century through a movement that has come to be called "Free Body
Culture." Nudism in more conservative areas of Switzerland is less
common.
A similar legal move is expected in neighboring Appenzell Outer
Rhodes. The nationalist Swiss People's Party has advised the
cantonal parliament it is preparing legislation against "this
shameless behavior."


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