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tion. They had a table with information and souvenirs. To my delight, one of those whom I met was the tireless and charming Shirley Mason. It was wonderful to talk with her and learn a bit about the history of Haulover Beach. It is maintained by the county and enjoys about 1.2 million visitors each year. We arrived about noon on Saturday and while we were there, people continued to stream in.
The economic impact of Haulover Beach on the surrounding economy has been well documented in Nude & Natural. What fascinated us most was amount of usage this portion of the beach received compared to other parts of Haulover Beach where clothing was not optional. I asked Shirley about this: Was this portion of the beach somehow better than the other stretches? No! In fact, the South Florida Free Beaches Association negotiated with the county to use this portion of beach because it enjoyed very little use otherwise. It was either less desirable or more difficult to access than other portions of Haulover Beach. In spite of this, because it is now clothing-optional, it is the most heavily utilized stretch of beach in this area of Miami Beach.
Unfortunately, we did not have much time to relax on the beach. I did walk around a bit. I could hear people speaking Spanish, French, Creole, German, and many other languages I did not recognize. People were sunning themselves, swimming in the surf, playing volleyball and generally, having a great time. In many ways, it was not so very different from our special place; but in one major way, it was very different.
Haulover Beach is supported by the county; they provide support, lifeguards, security, and enjoy the benefits that the increased tourism brings. They recognize clothing-optional recreation benefits them economically and are probably beginning to realize it has benefits beyond economics. They are working with the South Florida Free Beaches Association to find additional beaches that can be designated as clothing-optional. The county also assists in representing clothing-optional recreation accurately to the Florida legislature.
It is easy to say one believes in Freedom; or that one supports the Free Market. The test comes when the freedom one person wants to