The owners of a Northern California nudist resort called the Lupin Lodge have been accused of stealing water – a precious commodity now that California is in its third straight year of a historic severe drought. The lodge is located off Aldercroft Heights Road in Los Gatos and just last week the lodge was in the news as one of several community water districts that had been put on the state’s drought list. In order for the nudist resort to continue catering to its clothing optional clientele, it had been forced to bring water in by the truckload at a significant expense. Now, the resort has been accused of stealing at least 280,000 gallons of water from a local waterfall and creek.
According to authorities representing the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (MROSD), the nudist resort owners had previously been warned about not taking water from the 117-acre Hendrys Creek Property, water they were using in the Lupin Lodge’s camping, residential and resort facility, which includes a restaurant. In response to the drought, the nudists had already set protocols for military style showers, paper dish products and minimal toilet flushing. Recently some residents had complained to the media that thanks to the California drought, the resort’s grass was mainly dirt, which meant they had to put a towel down before taking a seat. According to a report in the San Jose Mercury News, nudist resident Tim Marvin said that because of the parched lawn conditions, without the towel, “When you stand up, you have grit on your butt.”
Glyn and Lori Kay Stout are the owners of the Lupin Lodge and they claim that they have grandfathered water rights to the Hendrys Creek water source. The Stouts have owned the California nudist resort since the early 1970s. They insist that the previous owner of the land now included in the MROSD gave the resort permission to divert water from the creek in case of a water emergency. In this case, the water emergency involves keeping a water tank full in case of a fire and ensuring that the “skinny dipping pool” at the resort is kept full.
However, the assistant general manager of MROSD, Ken Woodhouse says that taking water from the creek has “legal, environmental and regulatory complexities.” He further stated that the creek is “undergoing restoration” and is a “protected watershed.” By some reports, the Stouts asked the MROSD to honor the grandfathered water rights and when they were turned down, decided to defy the organization and take the water anyway.
The system the Stouts put in place to divert water from the creek consisted of at least one 3-inch rubber water hose from the resort to the water source. The water then flowed from the hose into a filtration system, which produced approximately four gallons of water per minute. According to the San Jose Mercury News, the amount of water diverted from the creek equaled more per day than the 3,800-gallon truckloads that were costing the nudist resort some $400 per load.
Although no charges regarding the stealing of water have yet been brought against the Stouts, authorities did dismantle the water diversion system. California’s chances of the drought ending any time soon are slim to none and since the nudist’s water-stealing days appear to be over, they are going to have to have to purchase additional water to keep all of their facilities open. Owner Glyn Stout has made it clear however, that the skinny dipping pool will remain open, no matter the cost.
By Alana Marie Burke