The Rainbow Family of Living Light has chosen a site on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest for its 2020 national gathering. The event will coincide with the Fourth of July holiday and participants have already begun arriving. The forest will experience the highest concentration of visitors during the first week of July. They selected an area near Forest Service Road #241on the Salmon River Ranger District, just outside the community of Riggins, Idaho, for their gathering.
The Rainbow Family is a loose-knit group of people from throughout the USA and other countries. Each summer they hold a national gathering to pursue social and spiritual activities and pray for world peace. Since 1972, the event has taken place on a different national forest each year. Crowds range from 2,000 to 10,000 forest visitors.
The USDA Forest Service manages the annual event in close coordination with Tribal, state and local partners to protect the health and safety of everyone involved, and to lessen environmental impacts to the site by providing information and enforcing laws.
“We understand there may be impacts to our community, our neighbors and other forest visitors,” said Cheryl Probert, Forest Supervisor for the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest.
“We are working hard to minimize effects to our local communities and the environment. All visitors to the national forest are expected to obey federal, state and local laws and regulations, and we take the enforcement of these laws very seriously.”
The forest resource protection plan addresses concerns about health and safety, watershed protection, natural resource protection and rehabilitation of the event site before the group leaves.
The Forest Service is mobilizing a national incident management team with experience managing these types of events. The team is working in unified command with the Idaho County Sheriff’s Office, the Nez Perce Tribe and other local authorities.
An event of this size can have significant impacts on traffic, communities, local resources, residents and visitors. Local businesses can expect to see large numbers of Rainbow Family participants visiting stores and buying food and supplies along routes to the gathering site. Forest and county roads in the Slate Creek area as well as the communities of Grangeville and Riggins are expected to see potential impacts from the gathering.
For more information about the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest please visit our website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/nezperceclearwater or follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/NPClwNFs/ or like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NPClwNFs/ .
The mission of the U.S. Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world.
Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 30 percent of the nation’s surface drinking water to cities and rural communities and approximately 66 million Americans rely on drinking water that originated from the National Forest System.
The agency also has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 900 million forested acres within the U.S., of which over 130 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.