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Owner cites financial need, but residents say they're getting a raw deal and seek legal counsel

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Milt Cyphert

August 3, 2023 (Jacumba Hot Springs, CA) – For nearly three decades, the De Anza Springs Resort in the high desert community of Jacumba Hot Springs has provided a 523-acre haven for naturalists to bare all, as one of the nation’s largest clothing-optional destinations.

But two days ago, residents received stark news:  a letter from the resort’s new management informing them of a decision to become a “textile” park. Starting September 1, clothing will be required in all common areas such as the pool and hiking trails. Then on October 1, nudity will be banned everywhere on the property, including privately owned and leased sites.

The action has laid bare resentments and anger among residents who bought or leased sites specifically for the freedom to be clothes-free,  as well as among frequent visitors who purchased club memberships. Some are seeking legal counsel over what they contend were deceptive marketing practices, as well as concerns over loud concerts and other problems stemming from changes implemented by the new owners.

“We understand that change can sometimes be met with mixed feelings, and we empathize with those who might feel upset or uncertain about the introduction of the new clothing rule,” the owners’ letter states, also encouraging residents with questions to  setup an appointment by emailing Luke Wasyliw, who blames residents for not supporting some events and cites financial needs.

Wasyliw and  Kevin Cho purchased the property in 2020 from Dave and Helen Landman, founders of the De DeAnza Springs Resort. The Landmans also sold the Jacumba Spa and other properties in town to different owners.

The new ownersof De Anza Springs Resort had grand visions of creating Nomadic Wellness Resort as a place for healing and artistic expression.  They added  a stage, glamping tent and geodesic dome (which burned 2-3 months ago but will be replaced, per the owners) with visions of having thousands stay over and hosting massive music festivals inspired by Burning Man and similar events. 

But now the owners say changing circumstances have forced them to change their business model, in an era when numerous facilities across the U.S. have shed their clothing-optional models.

ECM spoke with the co-owner, as well as with multiple residents and visitors to the resort.

Owner reveals his views

Asked the reason for requiring clothing at the long-time nudist retreat, Wasyliw told ECM in an email, “This past weekend, it became evident to me that the clothing-optional business model was not a sustainable option for DeAnza Springs Resort.” He said a convention hosted last weekend there by the American Association of Nude Recreation drew a “boycott” from site holders that was the ”final straw.”

He says he has been “transparent and open” at town hall meetings with site holders and members over the past six months.  “I have conveyed that a potential change is on the horizon if we do not witness substantial growth and if we do not foster an inclusive environment that welcomes individuals who choose to wear clothing at the resort.”

(Residents dispute these points, as discussed below.  Of note,  De Anza has always been clothing optional, meaning guests could choose to wear clothes if they wish, and some regularly do so.)

Wasyliw notes that he and his partners have made substantial investments  in the park’s development, allocating significant capital for upgrades. In the first year of ownership, this included assembling an “extraordinary team” of staffers, enhancing infrastructure and making upgrades such as installing new leach lines for septic fields, upgrading electrical, improving water facilities, and cleanup.  He says town halls were held regularly to get residents’ opinions and ideas.

The second year focused on growth, enhancing occupancy and making aesthetic upgrades. The site is currently in the permitting phase to add a solar array to reduce the resort’s environmental impact.

But he acknowledges “significant resistance from some site holders” for various reasons….It is understandable that there are many upset individuals given the long history of DeAnza Resort….on the other hand ,I have been receiving a substantial number of supportive calls, texts and emails from various parties.”

As for nudists who want to leave due to the policy change, Wasyliw told  ECM he is “committed to collaborating with each site holder individually to find the best solutions” but that so far, only five people have reached out to request appointments.  "I can't help anybody if there is no communication;" he says.

Residents and visitors voice shock, anger

“I was blindsided,” says Milt Cyphert, a part-time annual club member and musician (photo, right) who says memberships were halted in April, when guests were required to pay for each visit.  Cyphert had been planning to sell his home in Lakeside and buy a retirement place in De Anza Springs Resort, which he described as “healthy” and “family oriented” before the new owners took over. Since then, he and others say they’ve been bombarded by loud music nearly all night long from a series of raucous music festivals inspired by Burning Man.

He plans to visit as often as he can August to “still enjoy nature, the trails, and friends I’ve known for decades.”  After that, he’ll probably head to Glen Eden Sun Club in Murrietta, the next closest clothing-optional facility, since De Anza is the last nudist resort in San Diego County.

But he’s most concerned about people who purchased park-model mobile homes with a monthly lease.  Many paid for major improvements, such as pouring concrete decks and patios, that make it difficult or impossible to move their homes elsewhere. “There are people who invested over$100,000,  he says. “It’s totally bait and switch. I believe it could be grounds for a class action lawsuit.”

ECM spoke with several residents, who shared concerns but asked not to have their full names published. Most voiced fear of retaliation, and some don’t want business associates or clients to know of their passion for nude recreation.

“I have a place there, part-time,” one man told ECM.  “I wanted to stay there full-time after retirement.” He says he can’t afford to go anywhere else now, “so I’m stuck.”

A woman told ECM that she and her husband bought their site and structure as a “retirement vacation option.”  She claims the owners ran deceptive ads and didn’t disclose plans to require clothing.  “A lot of people bought in the last two years because of their promises,”she said.  “This guy is destroying the land, the community the peace…”

She complains of “electronic dance music that goes all night and all day” with bass causing windows to shake.  “What are our rights?” she asks. She also said mail service to sites at De Anza has been discontinued, further inconveniencing residents.

She says the owners failed to disclose their plans at a community meeting shortly before the announcement came out, just one day after the resort hosted the American Association of Nude Recreation, a major conference.

Wasyliw has faulted residents for failing to support events at the site. But the woman ECM spoke with said, “There was no promotion.”  She said some events held have been private, others open to the public, but that residents weren’t kept informed and didn’t know whether they could attend some events.

Jason, who asked that his last name not be published, has been a resident for five years and says he invested $115,00 in a trailer and spent around $10,000 on improvements. "This was to be our home on Social Security.  I don’t have another place to live,” he said.   He’s worked as a subcontractor for the owner, but says, “I was on Team Luke for along time, but not now.” He claims the owner illegally graded a creek and has violated county noise ordinances, both with late hours and potentially exceeding decibel limits.

He faults the owners for not being open about their plans.  “The couple next door to me bought in less than a month ago” because they are nudists. “They had big plans to put a trailer on the property, put up a big carport and outdoor seating area to do what we all do out there—hang out in the sun and socialize.”

The site is allowed to hold up to six music festivals a year under permits granted by the Sheriff’s department. But some residents says private parties have been held that are also very loud in the wee hours of the night.

Jason says he called the Sheriff multiple times “on these unpermitted festivals,”but says the Sheriff declined to take action thus far. He says the local Sheriff’s official “is very aware of what’s going on with festivals and drug use – there’s ketamine and ecstasy and mushrooms readily available at these festivals…Most offensive was Karnival of the  Arts.”  He says this was advertised as a 24-hour music festival over several days “bass that bounced off the rocks” and could be heard in the town of Jacumba several miles away. 

Wasyliw acknwoledges noise issues but says they've streamlined the process and "gotten better reins on it." In a call with ECM,  he said some events such as Utopia were successful and "everybody loved it." One that drew the most complaints has been cancelled for a slated return in October,while incoming artists must now agree to fines if they play past certain time limits. In addition, he says they plan to begin using an indoor clubhouse facility which has a bar and restaurant to reduce disturbances to site owners.

Wasyliw states, "We are not promoting drug use," and says security can address obviously illegal actions on a case by case basis.

However, the park’s co-owner, Cho, known as Kecho, appears in a video in which he touts psychedelic magic mushrooms, and runs a website ( that sells mushrooms; he has also advocated for legalization of  hallucinogenic mushrooms, which remain illegal in California with no exceptions for medical or religious reasons. 

Another issue is the behavior of concert goers.  Some residents spoke of sexual acts by the pool, as well as guests bringing dogs into the pool and so many people that the pool became clouded with dirt.  The facility has addressed the issue with new signs.

Some site owners and guests have claimed that a stream was illegally graded. Wasyliw denies this,and says grading did not include areas with water. He added that his cleanup of the area including 20 4-yard trash bins filled with debris  junked by site owners before he and his partners acquired the property. 

Another resident who asked to be called “Lee” says the new owners initially made some positive changes with remodeling, modernization, and repairs. “Luke repeatedly told us he should have made it textile right away,” he says of his early conversations with the new ownership. Lee waited a year after the ownership change to buy a weekend getaway place 14 months ago. But after the owners parted ways last winter with Fernando Gonzalez, a nudist formerly involved with a now defunct nudist retreat in Harbison Canyon, the focus changed, Lee says.

Lee says an individual working in the park office has repeatedly taunted residents who complain, saying, “You need to shut up, or I’m going to take the clothing optional part of the park away.” .But Wasyliw insists no actions have been retaliatory. However he says afterstarting to attract both people who want to wear clothes as well as naturists, "a lot of naturists made them feelso uncomfortable that they wouldn't come back," such as violating a no-cameras policy at the pool area.

The new owners divided the property, with half clothing-optional and the other half requiring clothing. A gully separated the two sites.  They built a “Nomadic” site on half with a large geodesic dome, stage and other upgrades aimed at accommodating large overnight crowds. Then the concerts began, and according to Lee, “music festivals with all the drugs and music going nonstop.” He says when he complained, he was told “flat out that the festivals are going to continue with the music they way they are, because they need the money.”

Lee wants to see justice done.” The community is looking for an attorney to represent us in a possible class action lawsuit,” he told ECM.

Some also accuse the owners of failing to disclose plans they believe were in the works to eliminate nudity.

Oddly, the owners continued loading new posts onto Facebook in early August even after the announcement to residents.  One encouraged people to “experience San Diego’s only clothing optional resort.”  Another teased with the question, “Do you prefer to practice nudism in a public or private setting?”

When the resort finally did post a notice on his homepage reading “Heading to De Anza Resort? Don’t forget your clothes!” someone created a parody meme on social media with the added phrase, “We made a  terrible business decision, and now we hope making you wear clothes will fix it.  Betrayal of our current residents, brought to you by the Elon Musk school of business.”

Former owner shares perspective

Former owner Dave Landman spoke with ECM by phone from his new home in Texas.  Landman still has a site in De Anza Springs Resort and has visited occasionally.

“I do know that the new owners have done everything in their power to try to make everyone happy,” Landman says.  I know they put restrictions on the noise…The unfortunate part is that the membership and holders there didn’t partake of any of the activities.  The income wasn’t there based on the current membership…I’m really disappointed for myself. That’s something I worked on over 20 years,” reflects Landman, who was nicknamed the unofficial  “nude mayor” of  East County.

Landman notes that while he and his wife owned the resort free and clear, the new owners have payment obligations.

 “I feel very sorry for the people that are there, that have been there and supported the resort for years and years and supported the club,” Landman says, “but I understand that if the numbers aren’t there the way it was operating, then something has to change.”









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