United States Forest Region 1
Department of Service 200 East Broadway
Agriculture Missoula, Mt 59807
January 11, 2000
Mr. Mike Batista, Administrator
Montana Division of Criminal Investigations
Helena, Mt 59620-14114
Dear Mr. Batista:
The Rainbow Family of Living Light intends to hold their national gathering in Idaho or Montana from early June though mid July 2000. Attendance at these gatherings ranges from 18,000 to 25,000 people. This group typically refuses to follow Forest Service procedure and apply for a permit to use the land. Extensive resource and social impacts occur to the national forest and local communities with this influx of people. Criminal activity is high and includes illegal drug use, underage drinking, auto theft, an influx of runaways at the gathering, resource violations, property theft, disorderly conduct, and more violent crimes such as assault, rape and homicide have also occurred. Planning for this event is already in progress by the Forest Service. The gathering will be managed by a Forest Service National Incident Team.
William C Fox
Acting Special Agent in Charge
FOREST SERVICE RAINBOW REPORT
Forest Service Statistics
(June 10-July 9, 1999)
Type of Incident Number
Misdemeanor Arrests: 5
Felony Arrests 0
Traffic Citations 300
Non-Traffic Citations 67
Warnings and Other Incident Rpts 444
Drug Possession 45
Weapon Incidents 5
Driving Under the Influence 3
Motor Vehicle Accidents 2
Medical Emergencies 1
Juveniles Recovered 6
Game and Fish Violations 1
Other Responses 132
Perhaps next year, when Incident Command compiles its list of "Rainbow Gathering 2001 Incident Statistics" to fax to the media each day, below the tally of felony and misdemeanor arrests, public nudity, DUIs, stolen and damaged property, loitering, panhandling, and so on, they might also count how many hungry mouths were fed for free, how many infants were bathed, children clothed, homeless housed and warm blankets distributed. And while they're at it, they might add up how many songs were sung, new friends made, old friends reunited, stories shared and lessons learned.
--"From Babylon to Wisdom" by Ken Picard, Missoula Independent 7/13/2000
Forest Service: Incidents of Significance Occurring at Rainbow Family Gathering
6/27 - Forest Service officer forced to use OC pepper spray on aggressive dog at gathering...
7/4 - Pennsylvania State Police removed sign along main road into gathering stating "Show Me Your Tits" after receiving citizen complaint...
7/7 - PSP handled three car collision with minor injures caused by gathering participant attempting to leave the gathering on the highway with no brakes...
7/8 - PSP observed and obtained medical care for juvenile observed ingesting "Gold Bond" cream.
Forest Service: Issues and Concerns
- A significant amount of controlled substance use continues to occur at the Rainbow Family Gatherings on National Forest System lands. Law enforcement personnel documented 45 drug-related incidents during the reporting period. However, widespread and open use of marijuana throughout the gathering, and persons under the influence of illegal substance, were observed by Forest Service and other agency officials.
"We're just not used to seeing people naked and using a garden hose to take a bath by the Mormon Church or changing their clothes in an isle in the grocery store. It created quite a lot of stress for quite a few people."
--John McIvor, District Ranger, Apache National Forest
- The Rainbow Family continues to refuse to comply with federal regulations governing large noncommercial group use of National Forest System lands. They state it is their Constitutional First Amendment right to gather on National Forest System lands. Three Rainbow Family members of this gathering were issued Violation Notices by the Forest Service for failure to obtain the required special use permit. The case is pending.
The Vision: conceived, by relatively well-intentioned human beings, in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all people are created equal. You could read about it in the Denver Post, or see it on the six o'clock news. By the middle of may, all 800 or so people in Granby expected to be overrun -- by an estimated one million fanatic christ and dope addicts coming to a blasphemous festival at table mountain, right smack in the middle of their park. It was going to last three whole days, and climax on the 4th of july -- sacrilege for sure - a bunch of peace crazies trampling over the mountains on independence day. A million of them! Granby was gearing up for the greatest natural disaster since the locusts ate utah.
--"Armageddon Postponed" by Tim Cahill, Rolling Stone 8/3/1972
- Heavy alcohol use occurred again at this year's gathering. As observed from areas accessible by patrol vehicle, alcohol use was heaviest in the A-camp area, but occurred throughout the gathering. One beer distributor in nearby Ridgway reported that from late June through at least July 8, gathering members paying over 54,000 cash they stated was gained by "passing the Magic Hat" at the gathering, purchased a total of 96 "half barrels" kegs of beer (equivalent to 672 cases). Many contacts were made by officers with juveniles possessing or consuming alcohol, and many juveniles were seen in the A-camp area during evening "parties" where heavy and open alcohol use was occurring. After July 4, a self-described "rave" party developed near the main parking area and continued for over a week. This party had amplified music, heavy alcohol use, a large presence of minors, and reported presence of ecstacy, LSD and other drugs.
"We just really didn't have any hardcore problems. I know some people aren't going to like me saying it, but we didn't have a single citizen raped or pillaged by the Rainbows. It just wasn't that bad."
--Ridgway Police Chief Burton Shaver