For the residents of Lupin lodge, a Los Gatos nudist camp with an 80-year history, the drought has been devastating and water — not just for skinny dipping — has been in short supply.
Last August, the parched colony of about 35 to 60 "naturists" (depending on the season) and its surroundings were placed on California's official drought-watch list, making it one of five community water districts to receive weekly truck deliveries of water. As the Mercury News reported then, the drought interrupted Lupin's normal water supply, a pair of wells and a creek, allegedly driving a desperate attempt to illicitly siphon nearby water.
A complaint filed by the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office last month, also reported by the Mercury News, claims that owner Glyn Stout, 77, his wife and owner Lori Kay Stout, 53, along with resident-employees Michael Buckland, 38 and John Berryessa, 49, illegally piped water from Hendry's Creek to the business, ignoring several warnings to stop.
The four were arraigned yesterday — clothed, of course — as ABC 7 reports. The group faces seven charges, the most serious a trespassing charge that could put them in prison clothes for up to three years.
"A business who ran out of water last year in the middle of our drought and decided to divert water from their neighbors," is how Santa Clara County Deputy DA Denise Raabe described Lupin.
The creek and site of the alleged diversion is managed by the Mid-Peninsula Regional Open Space District, a group who manage 60,000 acres of open space preserves. First the district repeatedly refused Lupin's requests to install water lines to one of its own creek in order to siphon water for a swimming pool and more. Then, the complaint alleges, employees of the resort starting repeatedly trespassed on foot and in vehicles.
According to evidence, an old fire trail was cleared, doing significant environmental damage, and several water lines were installed into Hendry's Creek and other springs on the property. They all led to Lupin Lodge's water system, according to officials.
Before the arraignment, Lori Kay Stout insisted that the resort remains open and will still celebrate in August "80 years of body acceptance and freedom," including "freeing the nipple."
When ABC 7 toured the camp last September, one resident put it simply. "We're just regular people living here and we need the water." Lawns were brown and dry.
"Even if there were no drought, this case would be filed. Of course with a four-year drought, it becomes that much more urgent," Raabe said.