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Bare necessities



Visitors can hook up their RVs, pitch a tent or rent one of the cabins. Activities include volleyball, hiking, stargazing from scenic vistas, swimming and general outdoor fun.

The only difference from any other outdoor utopia is that everyone at Oaklake is nude.

If you’re in the mood to be nude, Lady Godiva is a personal hero, or you’re simply tired of those pesky tan lines — and you’re looking for some like-minded folks — the answer to your naked desire stands on 440 acres an hour northeast of Oklahoma City up the Turner Turnpike.

Oaklake Trails was established in 1992 near Depew by six couples who wanted to brown their buns (and everything else) in the warm Sooner sun.

Photo collages in the clubhouse document those bare-bones beginnings. Pictures show nude volunteers in the great outdoors driving tractors, clearing brush and laying the foundations for campsites and hiking trails.

"The textile world"

Dennis Duncan lived most of his life in what he now calls “the textile world” — you know, the world where everyone wears clothes and often shows as little skin as possible.

He sensed that something was missing. He felt confined, as if his clothes were a sort of prison.

On a whim, he visited Oaklake — and once he shed his clothes, he felt a relief unlike anything he had ever experienced. Suddenly, it didn’t matter what anyone’s body looked like, if one was fat, thin or had scars.

Duncan said being nude with others is the great equalizer. People at Oaklake can mingle with no one knowing anyone else’s day job or standing in the community. No one laughs at anyone else or openly judges another for bodily imperfections.

People are more open and honest when they literally let it all hang out, he said. When you take the perceptions out of nudity that it is filthy or wrong, you can truly be yourself.

Now living at Oaklake year-round, he finds himself uncomfortable in that textile world. Being around fellow nudism enthusiasts brings him calm and a sense of community.

“Everyone out here shares a common bond: They enjoy social nude recreation. It feels good to be out there with the sun on your body and the breeze blowing,” he said. “We want folks to know they can come out here and relax and enjoy what we have to offer.”

The management of the park runs a family-friendly establishment, not a hangout for burned-out hippies or a den of deviants. If you’re a felon, sex offender or keen on perverted acts, there’s no room at the inn. Background checks are performed for those seeking entrance.

Oaklake is a member of, and abides by, the rules and regulations of the American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR). Offensive and lascivious behavior is not merely frowned upon, but forbidden.

“We don’t want people to think because we’re nude that it immediately translates into sex,” he said. “We are family-oriented, and we want everyone to be comfortable when they’re here.”

The biggest threat to anyone visiting the camp is likely the weather, and snakes endemic to Oklahoma, such as copperheads, water moccasins and pygmy rattlesnakes, although Duncan said sightings are rare.

Nudist naysayers

Carolyn Hawkins, public relations coordinator for Kissimmee, Fla.-based AANR, has been to Oaklake, and ranks it as one of the top nudist resorts in the country.

“It’s a very nice resort, and there’s something for everybody,” she said.

Founded in 1931, the AANR has 260 affiliated clubs in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. Hawkins said by associating with AANR, the clubs add an important level of credibility to their names. She described it as like having the Good Housekeeping seal of approval.

To become part of the organization, a club must be inspected by AANR officials and vow to offer a safe, family-friendly environment for social nude recreation.

“Most members of AANR will not visit a club that is not affiliated with us,” Hawkins said.

Duncan still encounters naysayers, and others who visit sheepishly.

“I have discovered over the years that people with the strongest objections to what we do are those that have never experienced it or never even ask serious, legitimate questions,” he said. “But first-time visitors get very comfortable very quickly.”

Few, he said, try it and don’t like it. “Very seldom will we have someone come down to the property and say, ‘Oh, no, I couldn’t handle this,’” Duncan said.

So what can one expect, should you venture to Oaklake Trails?

Well there’s the obvious. “When someone comes onto the property, they have to suspect that they will be confronted with nudity,” Duncan said.

The cabins are comfortably outfitted and air-conditioned. Transient and permanent RVs dot the landscape that nudists travel by foot or zip around on golf carts. Activities and celebrations range from an annual 5K race to weddings and memorial services.

A trip to Oaklake can include nothing more than lounging by the pool — which is heated for the first time this year — to hunkering down for a vacation, attending the highly touted body-painting events or hopping in the pool to help contribute to a world skinny-dipping record.

Duncan said visitors need not fear being photographed au naturel without their permission or having their names publicized.

“We value and safeguard our members’ privacy and confidentiality,” he said.

While many members and visitors are in their 50s and 60s, Duncan, a retiree, said he is working to get some younger people in the fray by getting the word out in the community and at colleges statewide.

Oaklake counts 221 members with a weekend average of 40 to 125 visitors, and up to 375 during peak events like AANR convention meetings.

Most important, nudists have a good sense of humor. While Duncan eschews unflattering depictions of nudists, or images of young rascals peeking through knotholes in a fence at sunbathing beauties, he said nudists love to joke around. They even named their eatery the Bare Buns Bistro.

And then there are those times Duncan must get dressed and head outside the gates of Oaklake. The longer he spends out, the more he can’t wait to get back.

“When I leave the park and come back, I can sense that lack of stress and concerns and everything that goes with being out there in the textile world,” he said. “It just all melts away when I come through those gates.”

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