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Wednesday, June 29, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Sultan

County rejects music weekend at nudist camp

Times Snohomish County Bureau

Snohomish County slammed its foot down Monday on Stompin in Da Woods 3, a four-day techno-music camping event that was slated to kick off Friday at the Lake Bronson nudist camp north of Sultan.

County officials said the public event failed to qualify under the nudist camp's strict conditional-use permit, which allows only members of the Lake Bronson Club or the American Sunbathing Association to use the property.

Because of the membership condition, county officials said Monday, public events aren't allowed at Lake Bronson, even though the county had allowed it to host nearly 500 people at last weekend's Critical Massive gathering, an offshoot of the Burning Man cultural festival.

For months, Campin' Fun organizers had counted on access to Lake Bronson for the Fourth of July weekend. Internet advertising called for 80 disc jockeys to play music in three areas almost continuously. Campers were expected to pay a $30 gate fee to cover rental costs.

Neighbors, however, complained to county officials and law enforcement, drawing criticism of an event they said would bring drugs, underage drinking and illicit sex to the camp.

Snohomish County Sheriff Rick Bart equated the event's organizers last week to "wolves in sheep's clothing."

"I will not sign off because of their history of holding rave parties and lack of control," Bart said last week. "I believe we are asking for trouble."

Stompin promoter Scott Hanson told officials that his group had held similar camping and music events without incident. But sheriff's officials said their research showed arrests and alcohol problems at last year's location near Mount Rainier.

Hanson said the event has been canceled and that organizers won't seek an alternative site this year. The group will take a financial loss, but Hanson could not say how much.

County Auditor Bob Terwilliger said officials will now need to double-check all events at Lake Bronson, calling earlier permission for public gatherings a "broad interpretation of the conditional-use permit." That could force Critical Massive to find another location. Critical Massive has used the Lake Bronson site for three years.

Dave Martinez, a board member of Massive LLC, said this year's event went off without problems, and he hopes to return next year to Lake Bronson.

"We look at this as an event in conjunction with Lake Bronson," he said. "We're a private event and should be within Snohomish County's laws."

Christopher Schwarzen: 425-783-0577 or cschwarzen@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company

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