WINNIPEG, Manitoba — It has happened to clubs like ours before, and we should have seen it coming: a decades-old nudist club that didn't own our land. In early 2010, the worst happened. The owners of the campground where we'd been for 40 years unexpectedly took it textile...and we were suddenly homeless. This severe loss tested our club as never before, but we didn't let it destroy us. We devised an innovative recovery plan and immediately launched a land search that resulted in the purchase of new property just a few months later. Since then, we've literally had boots on the ground each and every day that the weather would allow us to work. Only the onset of the deep winter snow keeps us off the new land. We start up again where we left off each spring and are back into club "uniform" just as soon as the weather and temperatures will allow. Long, hard days working under the sun have rewarded many of us with the best all-over deep tans that we could have ever have hoped for. The development has been swift and sure, and the official grand opening weekend was held in July 2012. Now that we're open for business, we are officially known as Naturist Legacy Park.
In the last article submitted to The Bulletin (see the February 2011 issue), Naturist Legacy had just acquired the new land and were in the process of carving out a new nudist home from the forest. Much progress has been made since then. There are now graveled roadways, 20 seasonal RV campsites (all occupied), four short-term RV campsites, a large tenting area, fully modern washroom building, and screen-enclosed outdoor showers.
The centerpiece of the nudist park is the new swimming pool. It is a 33-foot round, partially in-ground pool, heated to a nice warm 87 degrees on most days. With the free solar heat gained from the famous Manitoba sunshine, the water often lingers in the 90+ degree range during the warmest part of the summer, prompting some to believe that we have the world's largest nudist hot tub. A sunburst pattern splash deck follows the round contour of the pool and fans onto a massive new sundeck.
Recreational amenities include a beach sand volleyball court and a bocce court (horseshoe pits are planned for this year). In the south meadow there is a great open space perfect for tossing around a ball or Frisbee. Wonderful hiking trails within the forest surround the acres and acres of groomed park land. These unique trails take you deep into the woods though towering spruce, pine, poplar and birch trees. Large areas of the forest floor are covered in beautiful green ferns. Many species of birds along with deer and other wildlife share the beautiful park with us.
Naturist Legacy has chosen to be a fully nudist park instead of clothing-optional, and we ask that everyone be nude whenever and wherever possible. Board members greet all new arrivals in the nude whenever the weather allows. This form of greeting tends to put first-timers at ease. It immediately lets them know that being nude truly is okay here, and it offers them a tangible example to follow.
One of the unique features about Naturist Legacy's business model is that it now operates as a truly private club. The main focus as a business is to recruit and retain seasonal members only. Naturist Legacy has chosen not to be in the non-member day visit or weekend visit market and are not open to the general public, though the club is always happy to welcome AANR members who may be travelling through the area. While some members have seasonal campsites, nearly half of the membership come to enjoy the park just for the day (we're only 35 minutes from the edge of the largest city in Manitoba). This new business model has yielded membership growth of more than 25 percent in two years.
The funding model is also unique and it has worked well so far. The club is indebted only to its own community through the membership fees paid in advance. Keeping the debt fully internalized is just one of the ways the club is protecting its new land so that it will be available for nude use in perpetuity. The club will never lose its nudist home again. Everything that it has, including the land, is the clubs — paid in full.
One often hears about cars that go from zero to sixty in just a few seconds. Well, Naturist Legacy has gone from absolutely nothing to an operational nudist park in just two years. How did the small club do it? Well, it took lots of "outside the box" thinking (we believe our distinctive business model is somewhat rare in the nudist world). It took lots of internal member funding (we owe money only to ourselves, with not one thin dime owed to any external bank or lender). And it took the enormously hard work of talented and highly motivated members (almost every bit of physical work has been ours). The club essentially had to do this all alone, with almost no outside help.
Naturist Legacy members are one relentlessly determined group of social nudists. We look upon what we've been able to accomplish over the past two years with great pride and satisfaction. We've done much more than simply build a nudist park; we've created a naturist legacy. We invite you to visit the website at http://www.naturistlegacy.org to learn more about the club and what its managed to build together.