Allegheny Outdoor Adventures Bradford, PA

Zoar Valley - Gowanda, NY

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A busy day at the Nude Beach!

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The Naturist Area

Zoar Valley State Multiple Use Area

The Zoar Valley State Multiple Use Area (MUA) is a 2927 acre state owned multi use area located in the Town of Otto, Persia, and Collins, Cattaraugus County. Zoar Valley Gorge is centered around the Cattaraugus Creek, and the South Branch of the Cattaraugus Creek. There is an area with Naturist sunbathing and skinny-dipping. This may not be a "legal" activity here, but it's been going on for many, many years (reportedly back to the mid 1800's) and will continue for many more years.

As the story goes, the original white land owner (of Darby/Valentines flats) enjoyed swimming and bathing in the buff with his teen-aged daughters. In the article I read about this, it stressed "he was a good, moral, Christian man". They were just "naturalists". When he sold the land, he included a clause that the area always remain a "naturalist" area. It's also interpreted to include no roads or marked trails. The Naturist aspect of the area goes back to the late 1820's or early 1830's. It was most popular in the 1960's when "hippies" lived in, and frequented the valley. Still to this day, you will sometimes find Naturists in any part of the MUA, including the South Branch above Forty Road. This whole area is a very popular place for Naturists to hike and sunbathe in the summer months.

The current Naturists area, the first terrace upstream from the confluence on the main branch, is a quite remote area, and it's fairly easy to watch for non-Naturists and game wardens, who occasionally patrol the area. The Naturist area has traditionally been the whole area around the Confluence (Where the two creeks meet, "the Y") but today it's just upstream from the Confluence on the Main Branch of the Cattaraugus Creek.

The only time the police get involved at the Naturist area is when they get reports of open acts of sex. Very infrequently a few "bad apples" have to push it, and engage in open sex for all to see. Then somebody complains, and the police will come down. For the most part, when the police (Or DNR DNRC) pass through they will just ask the Naturists to cover up.

An au-natural moment- Just upstream from the confluence, three playful Naturist girls frolicking in the long shady pool. Enjoying the moment and the freedom!


Although "swimming" is officially banned, all summer long, you will see people playing in the water, up and down the creek!

As many people may know, in New York State, on state lands, it's legal for woman (and girls!) to sunbathe topless. This is thanks to a group of woman From Rochester NY, called "The Rochester Seven" (See Below).

I provided several detailed maps (among the photos below) that you can print out as a guide for hiking, kayaking exploring, AND finding the Naturist area!

Bare Bunns Falls

I feel I should write a little more about the Naturists Area at Zoar Valley. This might dispel some mis-conceptions and perhaps quell some undue fears.

I love the Zoar Area for all the great activities, but very often, when talking to people and friends about the area, some express concerns about going into an area with a "Naturists Beach".

First let me say that the Naturist Area, Naturist Beach, ... is rather out of the way. You can hike the South Branch, down to the Confluence, and the Confluence down to Gowanda without passing the Naturist Area.

The Naturist Area, years ago used to be the area around the Confluence or the "Y" where the two creeks meet (The Cattaraugus and the South Branch of the Cattaraugus Creeks). Today however, the Naturist Area is the first terrace upstream from the Confluence on the main branch of the Cattaraugus Creek. There are many shrubs, large rocks, sand dunes and downed trees, so that you can walk right by the Naturist Area, in the woods (stay on the path) and never see a "Naturists".

The "regulars" at the Naturist area are quite respectful of "non-Naturist" and often cover up, or walk into the bushes and trees when "non-Naturists" pass by (such as canoeist, kayakers, and hikers).

But having said that, the Naturist are nothing to fear! Quite the opposite. They are very social and friendly and are very polite to "passer-bys", curious hikers, and "first-timers" that wander through the area.

This area has historically been a "Naturists Area" or place to sunbathe and swim "Au-natural" for many decades. So please don't avoid the Zoar Valley for fear of the "Naturist Beach" or the Naturists ... and if you happen to be passing through...

... SMILE!

Blue Boat Beach

From: Mr. Stephen McCabe
Sent: Tuesday, September 09, 2008 12:30 PM
Subject: Fw: South Branch of the Catt
Sent: Monday, September 08, 2008 2:44 PM
Subject: South Branch of the Catt

Hi John, In-as-much as you've been helpful and proactive in the past, I'm calling on you yet again for support and a favor: could you please post the following announcement on your Zoar Valley web site? As you'll see, it's pretty much a self-explanatory attempt to announce the steps that three South Branch landowners are taking to try to stem the ever-growing tide of destruction that has been going on down there. I know you and I have discussed the problem at some length in the past and I'm not sure whether you've been down the South Branch lately, but the time has long since come and gone to try to reclaim the area.

Here's the copy, in bold, that I'd ask you to post:

Landowners in the South Branch gorge of Cattaraugus Creek are coordinating an educational and law enforcement effort to reclaim their property from an increasingly dangerous and destructive pattern of abuse by trespassers. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the Nature Sanctuary Society of Western New York (NSSWNY) have joined other private property owners in the gorge immediately upstream from the Zoar Valley Multiple Use Area (MUA) to post their property against trespassing in compliance with New York State Environmental Conservation law, Section 11-2111.

Contrary to several published guidebooks (Guide to the Ancient Forests of the Zoar Valley Canyon (Citizen's Campaign for the Environment 2001) and Secret Places: Scenic Treasures of Western New York and Southern Ontario (Kendall Hunt Publishing Co. 1994), both by Bruce Kershner, and anonymous copy posted on numerous Web sites), the South Branch gorge & upstream from the MUA has always been private property, and trespassing has neither been condoned nor welcomed there. The South Branch gorge has been the site of deaths, injuries, rescues, forest fires, alcohol and drug use, vandalism, cutting of trees, destruction and disturbance of plant and wildlife habitat, graffiti "tagging," and littering by an ever growing number of trespassers.

A map of the MUA is posted in an informational kiosk at the Forty Road parking lot and can be downloaded directly as Figure 5, "Access and Parking," from the NYSDEC Web site here: In addition, warning signs have been posted at the boundary of the MUA to inform visitors of where the border of the MUA is located. TNC and NSSWNY volunteers and private landowners have been working with NYSDEC Forest Rangers on an educational effort to advise visitors to the MUA of its boundaries. For example, during the Labor Day weekend, more than 300 MUA visitors were turned back with warnings after attempting to trespass on private land in the South Branch gorge; despite this effort and warning, more than two dozen arrests were made for trespassing in the South Branch gorge off the MUA. The New York State Environmental Conservation Police and the New York State Forest Ranger Division have clearly marked the boundary of the MUA with signs and are continuing to arrest trespassers on posted private property in the South Branch gorge. Depositions have been filed by TNC, NSSWNY, and other private landowners within the gorge, and those arrested are being prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. TNC, NSSWNY, and private landowners feel strongly that the current educational and law enforcement effort they are undertaking is the best way to help preserve and protect this unique, fragile, and--sadly--terribly abused area.

I'm also attaching some recent photographs to give just a rough idea of the scale of the abuse, although you've probably seen worse. The dead tree is one killed in an area of old growth timber during a forest fire on Mother's Day 2006. The fire was set by a drunken trespasser's runaway campfire on the plateau at the Big Falls, and it burned all the way up the gorge wall to Deer Lick. The flames girdled many trees, and they are dead or dying. The cut tree is a hemlock that was cut down with an axe by trespassers, probably because it held a posted sign. Please feel free to post any and all of these photos as you see fit; I would ask only that you include a photo credit line (Photo by Steve McCabe, Copyright 2008) so that they are not reproduced elsewhere without my permission.

Also, do you think it would be worthwhile to post the NYSDEC map that I linked in my copy above? You've got the Deer Lick map posted, so maybe the actual MUA map would be equally helpful.

I appreciate your consideration of this request, John, and remain hopeful you'll see fit to help. I know we agree the resource is well worth the effort.

Best regards--

Stephen J. McCabe, Preserve Custodian
Sweetland Preserve, NSSWNY

(Photo by Steve McCabe, Copyright 2008)


(Photo by Steve McCabe, Copyright 2008)


(Photo by Steve McCabe, Copyright 2008)


(Photo by Steve McCabe, Copyright 2008)


(Photo by Steve McCabe, Copyright 2008)


Rochester Topfree Seven

The Rochester (NY) Topfree Seven were acquitted in 1992, after six years. For being topfree, they had been accused of violating NY state Penal Law 245.01, the "Exposure of a Person" law. We quote it in part here:

"A person is guilty of exposure if he appears in a public place in such a manner that the private or intimate parts of his body are unclothed or exposed. For purposes of this section, the private parts or intimate parts of a female person shall include that portion of the breast which is below the areola. This section shall not apply to breast feeding of infants or to any person entertaining or performing in a play, exhibition, show or entertainment."

The acquittal of the Topfree Seven resulted in the striking down of this law as it applies to women's breasts.

We draw your attention to the following words of Judge Titone (for the full context, see below). These are some of the main points adopted by the Topfree Equal Rights Association.

[Defendants] contend that to the extent that many in our society may regard the uncovered female breast with a prurient interest that is not similarly aroused by the male equivalent …, that perception cannot serve as a justification for differential treatment because it is itself a suspect cultural artifact rooted in centuries of prejudice and bias toward women.

… the concept of "public sensibility" itself, when used in these contexts, may be nothing more than a reflection of commonly held preconceptions and biases. One of the most important purposes to be served by the equal protection clause is to ensure that "public sensibilities" grounded in prejudice and unexamined stereotypes do not become enshrined as part of the official policy of government…The mere fact that the statute's aim is the protection of "public sensibilities" is not sufficient to satisfy the state's burden of showing an "exceedingly persuasive justification" for a classification that expressly discriminates on the basis of sex.

Here is a link to a great (Naturists site) YAHOO GROUP that has more pic's of the Zoar Valley Naturist Area, as well as "daily reports" as to attendance, weather and water heights.

Yahoo Group: Zoar Valley Lovers

Here is a page on naturism:


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