The canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden, located in northeastern Switzerland, has voted to ban nude hiking in an effort to deter naked Germans from tromping around their tiny mountain state. The incursion apparently began last autumn, when residents began encountering Germans in the hills wearing only hiking boots.
According to reports, German Web sites promoting the activity they call nacktwandern describe it as "a special experience of nature, free and healthy," that offers practitioners a more direct contact with the environment. "Abandoning unpractical clothes enables a direct contact with the wind, sun and temperature," they were quoted as saying, and it seems hard to argue with that.
The Swiss, though, say they are more concerned about direct contact with their children. "The point is," said Melchior Looser, the canton's justice minister, "that many children visit our mountains in the summer . . . . We were forced to introduce the legislation against this indecent practice before the warm weather starts." The law fines nacktwanderen 200 Swiss francs, presumably payable at some future date when the offender has pockets again.
One wanderer, identified only as "Dietmar," but described as a "58-year-old German lawyer and naked hiker," said he was saddened by the news. "We simply try to tune into nature," he said. "It's the most harmless pursuit possible." But the Swiss appear to be fed up with the no-pants blitzkrieg. "The reactions of the population," said the government in a statement, "have shown that such appearances over a large area are perceived as thoroughly disturbing and irritating."
Link: AP via Yahoo! News
Link: Guardian (UK)