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OfflinemotamanM
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Rainbow Family campers may face fines
    #5787112 - 06/24/06 07:57 PM (14 years, 8 months ago)

http://www.sltrib.com/ci_3974956?source=rss

Rainbow Family campers may face fines
The Associated Press

Salt Lake Tribune
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. - Thousands of campers flocking to a gathering of the Rainbow Family won't face eviction from a meadow north of town but could face fines and jail time after the U.S. Forest Service denied them a permit, officials said Friday.
The counterculture group originally didn't apply for the permit, required of any gathering of more than 74 people, even though the event is expected to draw 20,000 people. When some members did apply this week, officials denied it, citing fire danger, limited road access and other planned events nearby.
Rangers will warn campers as they arrive, give them a chance to leave and cite them if they don't, Forest Service spokeswoman Denise Ottaviano said. They could be fined up to $5,000 and sentenced to up to six months in jail if convicted.


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OfflinemotamanM
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Re: Rainbow Family campers may face fines [Re: motaman]
    #5787119 - 06/24/06 07:59 PM (14 years, 8 months ago)

http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/local/article/0,1299,DRMN_15_4795586,00.html

Rain on Rainbow Family event

U.S. Forest Service denies permit for group's gathering

By Charlie Brennan, Rocky Mountain News
June 23, 2006

The U.S. Forest Service said late Thursday that it has denied the Rainbow Family a permit for its gathering early next month in the Routt National Forest north of Steamboat Springs.

Also, an unspecified number of Colorado State Patrol troopers, sheriff's deputies and municipal police officers from across the state will soon join a 42-member National Incident Management Team already at the Rainbow Family's intended gathering site about 35 miles north of the resort town. The request for more police came from Routt County Sheriff John Warner.

Kimberley Vogel, a spokeswoman for the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, said she is "very concerned" about how the weeklong gathering, slated to begin officially July 1, will play out.

So far, those arriving early for the 35th annual Rainbow Gathering of the Tribes for World Peace & Healing have simply been issued citations - carrying a penalty of up to six months in jail and/or $5,000 in fines.

The Rainbow Family has held a major summer gathering every year since 1972, and some 20,000 counterculture campers were anticipated by the scheduled start date this year.

When or if tougher enforcement - such as eviction from the Forest Service land - might begin, Vogel wouldn't say.

"We can only deal with as much as we can, with the resources that we have," Vogel said. "We're having to prioritize.

"At this point, we are treating them as individuals who are not abiding by the law, and they are getting citations. As other infractions occur, those will be treated as appropriate, whether it's by citation or arrest, or whatever the case might be."

The permit application, submitted Tuesday by an unnamed Rainbow member, failed on two counts, Vogel said.

The proposed event area is accessed by just one road, an estimated 60 percent to 70 percent of the landscape is dead or dying from the extensive beetle epidemic, and conditions are ripe for large fires.

Also, a Forest Service statement concerning the rejected permit said that the Rainbow Gathering conflicts with existing uses for businesses that have "priority permits" for activities planned in the area at the same time as the proposed Rainbow event.

The permit issue has been a contentious point in recent days.

Reached Thursday evening, Rainbow spokesman Henry the Fiddler said he hadn't heard that an application had been filed or that it had been rejected.

He also said that reports of a growing police presence also came as news to him. He said he had no other comment.

At least 218 citations for camping without the required permit have been issued so far to early-arriving Rainbow Family campers showing up at the Big Red Park area of the Hahns Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District.

All gatherings of more than 74 people on Forest Service land require a free special-use permit, and permit holders must adhere to the conditions placed upon it.

That's not the free-spirited Rainbows' style.

On Tuesday, more than 200 Rainbow Family members had confronted a group of about 15 Forest Service law enforcement officers at a checkpoint, encircling them in a manner the officers found hostile. The officers, concerned for their own safety, drew their weapons - but then retreated to their vehicles and left.

That checkpoint has not been staffed since the Tuesday incident. But on Thursday, a new checkpoint was established farther west of the gathering area.

While deliberately not organized, many Rainbow Family campers share a distaste for the constraints of mainstream society, and many of its members see the Forest Service's permit requirement as an unnecessary intrusion into a constitutionally protected affair.


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OfflineMicrocosmatrix
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Re: Rainbow Family campers may face fines [Re: motaman]
    #5787582 - 06/24/06 10:58 PM (14 years, 8 months ago)

Oh what the fuck. GOD DAMN IT!


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Re: Rainbow Family campers may face fines [Re: Microcosmatrix]
    #5787937 - 06/25/06 12:43 AM (14 years, 8 months ago)

Yeah, that's messed up, but they should have planned ahead a little better and gotten the permits, before they started driving up there. Damn slackers!;) That really does suck, though.


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OfflineMicrocosmatrix
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Re: Rainbow Family campers may face fines [Re: blissedout]
    #5788043 - 06/25/06 01:14 AM (14 years, 8 months ago)

We really don't need permits to assemble, that right is guaranteed in the Constitution.

I'm heading up there next weekend myself.. :thumbup:


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OfflinemotamanM
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Re: Rainbow Family campers may face fines [Re: Microcosmatrix]
    #5788055 - 06/25/06 01:18 AM (14 years, 8 months ago)

Be careful, Have Fun.. :smirk:


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OfflineMicrocosmatrix
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Re: Rainbow Family campers may face fines [Re: motaman]
    #5788066 - 06/25/06 01:21 AM (14 years, 8 months ago)

I'm not very profile-able, I'm gonna say I have no clue what this Rainbow thing is if I get pulled. I bet I get thru, plus how can they stop 20,000 people from gathering? They'll try at first but the flood will rush over them fast.


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Re: Rainbow Family campers may face fines [Re: Microcosmatrix]
    #5788076 - 06/25/06 01:26 AM (14 years, 8 months ago)

Be careful, Have Fun.. :smirk:


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OfflineMicrocosmatrix
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Re: Rainbow Family campers may face fines [Re: motaman]
    #5788084 - 06/25/06 01:29 AM (14 years, 8 months ago)

:lol: who are these rainbow people, and why do they keep following me to the campgrounds?


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Re: Rainbow Family campers may face fines [Re: Microcosmatrix]
    #5788087 - 06/25/06 01:30 AM (14 years, 8 months ago)

Be careful, Have Fun.. :smirk:


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OfflineMicrocosmatrix
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Re: Rainbow Family campers may face fines [Re: motaman]
    #5788095 - 06/25/06 01:34 AM (14 years, 8 months ago)

Man I swear I just wanna head there tomorrow. I gotta check and see if I can get away with being absent from Babalon next week as well...


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Re: Rainbow Family campers may face fines [Re: motaman]
    #5790935 - 06/26/06 01:05 AM (14 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

motaman said:
Be careful, Have Fun.. :smirk:




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OfflineMicrocosmatrix
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Re: Rainbow Family campers may face fines [Re: blissedout]
    #5791072 - 06/26/06 01:55 AM (14 years, 8 months ago)

I think I'll be careful alright. That means 100% legal car, weed under the nutsack. Driving there sober as a judge. (One of the ones that don't drink.)

With country music blarin', looking and sounding like a redneck... I might even pick up a bag of Red Man for the drive.. :lol:

Then upon arrival, a quick change of clothes and music!


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OfflinemotamanM
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'Rainbow Family' Warned Of Fire Danger [Re: Microcosmatrix]
    #5792033 - 06/26/06 12:27 PM (14 years, 8 months ago)

http://wcbstv.com/topstories/topstories_story_176215849.html

Jun 25, 2006 9:10 pm US/Eastern
'Rainbow Family' Warned Of Fire Danger

(CBS) STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. Authorities are warning thousands of campers flocking to a gathering of the Rainbow Family about fire danger in the Routt National Forest.

The counterculture group is holding its annual weeklong gathering in Big Red Park in the forest starting July 1, but members have begun arriving over the past week. About 20,000 people are expected.

U.S. Forest Service fire management officer Kent Foster said between 60 and 70 percent of the conifer trees surrounding the meadow where they're gathering are dead, making the trees more prone to fire.

Bryan Roemeling, the Forest Service's operations chief, said officers have been patrolling the camps and warning members about the danger of uncontrolled fires, fireworks and dry lightning.

"I can't emphasize enough how much energy we're spending trying to spread the word. We're trying to do everything we can to let people know how dangerous it is," Roemeling said Friday at a meeting with residents concerned about the gathering.

The Forest Service said Saturday that there was a human-caused fire at the camp on Thursday and Rainbow members weren't able to put it out. A Forest Service engine suppressed the fire, which was less than one-tenth of an acre.

The meadow where the campers are gathering has only one access road.

Fires burned 38,000 acres in the Routt National Forest in 2002, and spruce and pine beetles later killed tens of thousands of trees there.

The group began arriving at the forest without the necessary permit. They applied for one this week but the Forest Service denied them one, citing fire danger, limited road access and other planned events nearby.

Arriving campers are being warned that there is no permit for the event and that they can be given in a citation if they enter. Some residents thought the camp should be shut down, but Roemeling said it wouldn't be feasible to escort everyone from the forest.


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OfflineSeussA
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Re: 'Rainbow Family' Warned Of Fire Danger [Re: motaman]
    #5792196 - 06/26/06 01:22 PM (14 years, 8 months ago)

> About 20,000 people are expected
> carrying a penalty of up to six months in jail and/or $5,000 in fines.

Hmm... 20,000 x $5,000 = $100,000,000

This is your freedom.
This is the price of your freedom.
Any questions?


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Trials for Rainbow Family members to continue [Re: motaman]
    #5807219 - 06/30/06 06:22 PM (14 years, 8 months ago)

http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/local/article/0,1299,DRMN_15_4813711,00.html

Trials for Rainbow Family members to continue

By Sue Lindsay, Rocky Mountain News
June 30, 2006

Lawyers for Rainbow Family members dropped their court challenge today because spectators are no longer being turned away from trials held in a makeshift courtroom in a fire house near Steamboat Springs.

Lawyers for both the Rainbow Family and the government claimed victory.

"Isn’t this a wonderful situation where everyone wins," said U.S. District Judge Marcia Krieger. "The ultimate winner is the public. We all realize open proceedings are extremely important."

Krieger denied a restraining order as moot and dismissed a complaint brought by attorneys for Rainbow Family members and an attorney representing several who have received citations for minor violations.

Family members said they were barred from entering the makeshift courtroom last week.

About 250 Rainbow Family members have been charged with camping illegally because the group, estimated to reach 20,000 by next week, was unable to obtain a permit for its annual gathering in the Routt National Forest because of fire danger. More than 6,000 people have arrived at the gathering about 35 miles northwest of Steamboat Springs, according to forest service officials.

Trials were held June 23 and today before a federal magistrate operating out of a courtroom set up at a small firehouse near Steamboat Springs.

The government set up the courtroom so those receiving citations wouldn’t have to travel to Denver to handle them, said Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Denver.

The lawsuit filed by attorneys David Lane and Darold Killmer contended that the trials were being held as "secret proceedings" in violation of constitutional rights to a public trial.

But officials tried to correct the problem after people complained they couldn’t get in to observe the trials.
U.S. Magistrate David West entered an order that no one be turned away, Killmer said.

Meanwhile, more chairs were put in the makeshift courtroom and officials made arrangements to keep the doors open so more spectators could observe from outside the small firehouse if necessary.

Killmer said he was told this morning that no one has been turned away from the proceedings so far, in part because fewer people are trying to watch than did last week.

"It’s time for us to declare victory at least for now," he said.

Deputy Chief U.S. Attorney Lisa Christian said the government declares victory as well. She said the government doesn’t agree with the contention that there was a problem with public access in the first place.


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Re: Trials for Rainbow Family members to continue [Re: motaman]
    #5807225 - 06/30/06 06:25 PM (14 years, 8 months ago)

http://www.summitdaily.com/article/20060630/NEWS/60630003

Rainbow group prepares

Members build kitchens, anticipate arrival of thousands


BY DAVE SHIVELY
STEAMBOAT PILOT
June 30, 2006

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The "Spongebob" oven at the "Lovin' Oven" Kitchen, hidden deep in the woods of the Rainbow Family area in the Routt National Forest, billows smoke around the clock.

Bakers greet one another with elbow bumps to keep hands clean for their endless task of preparing fresh bread for the estimated turnout of 20,000 people when the gathering officially begins on Saturday. As the gathering's main bakery, the volunteer bakers estimate they make 1,000 rolls a day and 300 pizzas a night.

On Thursday afternoon, bakers such as Nathan Ramser were applying a layer of mud to another oven, increasing the bakery's capacity to provide bread for the July 4 prayer circle, the gathering's main event. Ramser and other bakers aren't too worried, because the tight-knit baking network brought supplies and know-how from their Hurricane Katrina relief kitchen efforts.

Other camps and kitchens were not quite as operational. The new arrivals were spending the afternoon getting ready as last weekend's empty meadows were steadily becoming filled with newly strung tarps and tepees in various stages of construction.

Forest Service spokesperson Denise Ottaviano estimated that between 4,000 and 5,000 gatherers occupy the patch of national forest land 35 miles north of Steamboat Springs. The Forest Service said the gatherers are there illegally because they do not have the required special-use permit. She said Forest Service law enforcement officers were staffing safety and information checkpoints intermittently.

Relayed radio messages helped gatherers find gaps in checkpoint's staffing on Forest Service Road 505 for newcomers to lug or push in everything from a 275-gallon water tank for the "Simply Wonderful" kitchen to the supplies for constructing a copper "peace pyramid."

The gatherer influx and consequent construction of numerous new campsites and kitchens coincides with fire restrictions for the Routt National Forest that went into effect Wednesday, "prohibiting the building, maintaining, attending or using a fire that is not in an agency provided or approved facility."

Kitchens such as the Shekinah Café, a chai and cookie bar under construction, took the necessary steps of getting a national forest outdoor fire pit permit signed and posted. These permits, available at the information tent adjacent to the main meadow, are limited to camps with kitchens that meet the permit's regulations.

"It's ironic that (the Forest Service) denies the main permit, but will permit us on an individual basis and recognize us as an individual camp," Chinua Ford said while building the cafés oven.

The all-vegan, all-kosher "Jerusalem" kitchen will kick off its main celebration today at 6 p.m. with a 24-hour celebration of prayer, singing and dancing to welcome Shabbat, the Jewish holy day of rest.

"Our celebration works with the Rainbow idea of disconnecting and unplugging," said Rav Shmuel, a Jewish Orthodox rabbi who is vacationing from New York City.

Although the weekend gathering events will include religious services for all creeds and denominations, many gatherers are looking forward to the more raucous events, such as the upcoming nightly performances at the Granola Funk Theatre — an impressive full-size "Pirate Ship," that group performer and ship creator Aaron "Ahab" Funk said he has organized as an "open forum for expression."

After 11 days of "Egyptian-style work," clearing an acre and a half of fallen trees and hoisting masts on an elaborate pulley system, Funk said the theater will have a performance every night starting at "dark thirty."

Although many gatherers will be sure to not miss the heckling at Monday's "Gong (no talent) Show," at Funk's self-proclaimed "circus without a tent," many will enjoy the spontaneous parades, scheduled activity seminars and live music performances as people continue arriving and preparing for Tuesday's prayer circle.


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Forest Service: Rainbow Family Members Slug Officers [Re: motaman]
    #5807232 - 06/30/06 06:27 PM (14 years, 8 months ago)

http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/9448635/detail.html


TheDenverChannel.com
Forest Service: Rainbow Family Members Slug Officers

POSTED: 2:17 pm MDT June 29, 2006
UPDATED: 2:35 pm MDT June 29, 2006
DENVER -- U.S. Forest Service officers were slugged, elbowed and pelted with a rock when they tried to arrest some unruly campers at a gathering of the Rainbow Family near Steamboat Springs, officials said Thursday.

None of the injuries was serious, Forest Service spokeswoman Kimberly Vogel said.

The confrontation occurred Monday night but was not reported until Thursday. It was one of at least three clashes between officers and campers to occur as thousands of the Rainbow Family gather for a weeklong outing, which officially begins Saturday.

About 5,000 members of the free-spirited, loosely affiliated band of hippies have arrived at the campsite in the Routt National Forest about 30 miles north of Steamboat Springs in defiance of the Forest Service, which has refused to grant the group a permit, citing the fire danger.

Up to 20,000 are expected. Routt County Sheriff John Warner said his department is prepared for anything, but he wouldn't discuss how many officers are available. He said the sheriff's department is working with the Forest Service, Steamboat Springs police, the Colorado State Patrol and other law enforcement agencies.

About 250 campers have been cited for camping without a permit, and on Thursday forestry officials banned open fires, except in authorized fire pits.

In the Monday incident, about 200 campers surrounded 15 officers and became verbally abusive, Vogel said.

As the officers tried to arrest some of the campers, the crowd surged forward, striking at least three officers and pulling the suspects free, she said.

Campers piled on top of one suspect, blocking officers from making an arrest. One male officer was injured when someone dived at his knees, a second suffered bruises when a rock was thrown at his leg and a female officer was elbowed in the knee and face, she said.

Officers arrested one suspect, drew their batons and used pepper spray as they backed away, Vogel said.

Vogel said forestry officials met Tuesday with a group calling themselves elders of the Rainbow Family.

"The way they explained it is there are a lot of the younger generation that come from the inner-city environment. As soon as they see law enforcement, they sort of get into a gang mentality," she said.

In the other two incidents, campers surrounded and intimidated Forest Service officers last week, once at a roadside checkpoint and once inside the camp, Vogel said.

Vogel said the Forest Service is not arresting campers or trying to break up the gathering, but officials are concerned about wildfires, sanitation and access.

Campers are spread out in eight square miles of meadow and forest where up to 60 percent of the trees have been killed by a beetle infestation and are vulnerable to fire, officials said. Forestry officials worry that if a big fire erupts, the narrow dirt access road would become clogged and campers would be trapped.

Warner said no residents have reported trouble with the campers.

"They're being tolerated at this point," he said. "Most of them are coming right through (towns) and heading up to camp."

He said the campers and the usual influx of July Fourth visitors could triple the county's usual population of about 20,000.

The Forest Service reported five arrests, two for assault on law enforcement officers and three for failing to appear on citations issued in West Virginia at last year's Rainbow Family national gathering.

Routt County deputies had made about five drug or alcohol-related arrests, Warner said.

Campers cited by the Forest Service for permit violations have been appearing before a federal magistrate in a makeshift court in a fire station near the camp. The typical fine for violating the Forest Service's camping ban has been $135 including court costs, according to Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office.

A judge on Thursday rejected an appeal from a Rainbow Family member to move the hearings from a makeshift courthouse to a larger facility, he said.


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OfflineTwister
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Re: Forest Service: Rainbow Family Members Slug Officers [Re: Microcosmatrix]
    #5809019 - 07/01/06 07:28 AM (14 years, 8 months ago)

I see absolutely nothing wrong with this. The foresters know best about the potential safety concerns and it says that the campers had already started a small forest fire. Giagantic fires have been started by a single cigarette butt thrown out of a car window, and at this event there are guaranteed to be many open fires. What happens if one of them gets out of hand? Theres only one road out and 20,000 people would all be trying to leave on that single road. There no doubt would be some major casualties. The right to assemble is all well and good but permits are required in many cases, and the group should have done much better planning, not only to get a permit earlier but to gather in a spot that isn't dangerous. Even though it sucks, we live under government rule and the best way to avoid problems like this is to go by the rules when the safety of others is at risk. Now individual safety such as that related to drug use is a whole other issue.


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Re: Forest Service: Rainbow Family Members Slug Officers [Re: Twister]
    #5809661 - 07/01/06 02:47 PM (14 years, 8 months ago)

"The Congress shall make no law...."

That means permits too. There is fire danger there for everyone, why not close down the forest to all?

OH NO CAN'T DO THAT, and so 2 other groups got their permits...

Fucking rednecks gotta have their mud bog racing! Fuck those hippies.

:rolleyes:


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Re: Forest Service: Rainbow Family Members Slug Officers [Re: Microcosmatrix]
    #5810308 - 07/01/06 07:03 PM (14 years, 8 months ago)

I guess you didn't end up going?


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Re: Forest Service: Rainbow Family Members Slug Officers [Re: THE KRAT BARON]
    #5810325 - 07/01/06 07:09 PM (14 years, 8 months ago)

No. Not yet anyway. Funds are tighter than anticipated is the main reason. I still might go later in the week for the last few days.


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Rainbow Family co-founder calls for Forest Service challenge [Re: motaman]
    #5813737 - 07/02/06 11:27 PM (14 years, 8 months ago)

http://www.helenair.com/articles/2006/07/02/national/a03070206_02.txt

Rainbow Family co-founder calls for Forest Service challenge
By The Associated Press - 07/02/06

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A founding member of a hippie movement called the Rainbow Family suggested Saturday that it launch a federal lawsuit against a growing crackdown on their annual gatherings.

Barry Adams, known in the Rainbow Family as Barry Plunker, told a council circle at the first day of this year’s weeklong gathering at Routt National Forest that federal pressure has gone too far.

Dozens of Forest Service officers, county deputies and Colorado State Patrol officers are manning checkpoints and patrolling camps as thousands of hippies flood the forest about 30 miles north of Steamboat Springs.

Under federal rules, any gathering of more than 74 people in a national forest requires a permit. Officials have said that in a fire, the narrow dirt access road would become clogged and campers would be trapped.

The clash between Rainbows and federal officers at national parks has become such an annual tradition that the Forest Service in 1998 established a national response team to deal with the group. Members defying federal orders typically are issued citations for camping illegally.

Rainbows say this year federal officers are issuing hundreds of citations and set up a makeshift federal courthouse nearby.

‘‘There’s only one way to stop these people and that’s to take them on, legally,’’ Adams told about 100 Rainbows at the council circle.

Rainbows say they have no leaders to request permits, and they shouldn’t have to beg to express a constitutional right to freely assemble.

The Forest Service estimated that by Friday night about 6,000 tie-dyed hippies were camping in makeshift villages. That number swelled dramatically Saturday, the first official day of the gathering. An updated official estimate was not available.

Rainbows formed drum circles, exchanged beads, batik and crystals, and lined up at communal kitchens for meals. Everything is free, from meals to yoga classes to massage. Hugs are doled out at every turn and members greet each other by saying, ‘‘Welcome home.’’

Adams, 61, was drifting with a group of fellow hippies in the 1960s after his service during the Vietnam War when he decided to fulfill a vision of holding a giant gathering based on peace and love. Since the first Rainbow Family gathering in Colorado in 1972, he said, the federal government has denied permits and has done what it could to block the annual gathering.

Adams has spent months in jail for violating assorted bans and has fought his own cases. Traditionally, he said, the Rainbow Family has refused to let itself be pinned down as an organized group.

On Saturday, he said it’s time to realize the government already considers the Rainbow Family an organized spiritual group. Then Rainbows need to take advantage of that classification, hire attorneys and demand rights as a religious organization.

‘‘I never thought there would be a problem with our federal government for us to go out in the woods and pray,’’ Adams said. ‘‘We as a people have rights. We have a right to free speech.’’


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InvisibleJim
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Re: Rainbow Family co-founder calls for Forest Service challenge [Re: motaman]
    #5813827 - 07/02/06 11:59 PM (14 years, 8 months ago)

I'm sorry, but there are a few obvious solutions running through my head right now....


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Use the Fucking Reply To Feature You Lazy Pieces of Shit!

afoaf said:
Jim, if you were in my city, I would let you fuck my wife.


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Rainbow tally tops 10,000 [Re: motaman]
    #5819342 - 07/04/06 12:01 PM (14 years, 8 months ago)

http://www.steamboatpilot.com/section/frontpage_lead/story/38030

Rainbow tally tops 10,000

Number of law enforcement officers up to about 100

By Mike Lawrence

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Legal clouds could cast shadows on the Rainbow gathering's sunniest moment.

As a crowd now estimated at 10,000 joins together this morning for a communal prayer circle to meditate on world peace and harmony, law enforcement officers have issued at least 531 violation notices to participants in the gathering, which the U.S. Forest Service maintains is illegal and taking place during dry conditions that present an "extreme" wildfire risk.

"We have had a growing number of violations for drug charges, and possession of drugs," Forest Service spokeswoman Denise Ottaviano said Monday.

Ottaviano said law enforcement officers have issued violation notices to Rainbow participants for possession of marijuana, cocaine, hashish, LSD, PCP, mushrooms, Ecstasy and methamphetamine.

The leading cause of violation notices, she added, continues to be "illegal occupancy" of national forest land. Federal law requires a special-use permit for any gathering of more than 74 people on national forest land. Forest Service spokeswoman Diann Ritschard has said a permit will not be granted to the Rainbow family. Forest Service officials denied a permit application June 22, citing fire safety concerns.

Ottaviano said about 90 cases were on the docket Monday for a makeshift federal court at a rural fire station in North Routt County. Monday marked the fifth day of court hearings for members of the Rainbow Family of Living Light, which is holding its annual gathering this year on Routt National Forest land near Big Red Park, 35 miles north of Steamboat Springs.

The Rainbow crowd nearly doubled in size this weekend, as a steady stream of cars drove to the gathering site in anticipation of today's gigantic prayer circle, the culmination of the weeklong event scheduled to end July 7.

While the event officially began Saturday, some participants have been camping in the area for more than two weeks. Communal kitchens, a large theatrical stage fashioned like a pirate ship, Hare Krishna songs and dances, yoga classes, impromptu drum circles, a children's playground and colorful tent sites can all be seen and heard around the four-square-mile gathering site.

About 100 law enforcement officers, from various county, state and national agencies -- including the Routt County Sheriff's Office and Colorado State Patrol -- are working at the gathering.

In a three-day span over the holiday weekend, state patrol troopers made 250 "contacts" with drivers on County Road 129, Ritschard said. Six abandoned vehicles, including two roll-overs, along the road were expected to be towed away Monday.

Also over the weekend, six people were placed in custody at Routt County Jail on Rainbow-related charges, as "courtesy holds" for the Forest Service.

A jail official said the Rainbow arrests are placing a strain on the county facility.

"(The gathering) has definitely been a lot more work for us, for sure," said Sue Gaskill, detentions deputy with the sheriff's office. "We've been non-stop -- constantly busy."

The number of arrests and violations is drawing nationwide attention. A volunteer group that has advocated since 1993 for freedom of assembly rights -- especially for Rainbow gatherings -- sent a letter Sunday to Mark Rey, undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the Forest Service.

The letter disputed the arrests and violation notices, saying law enforcement at the gathering is responsible for "ongoing civil rights violations of unprecedented scale and scope." The letter, also sent to national Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth, asked Rey to amend Forest Service "group use" policies regarding public lands.

"An intensive, invasive police presence continues, with persistent civil rights violations and a climate of fear around the site -- reportedly the worst ever," the letter reads. Scott Addison, coordinator for the Free Assembly Project in St. Louis, signed the letter.

Ottaviano is the spokeswoman for a National Incident Management Team managed by the Forest Service. Ottaviano is based in Washington, D.C., and was brought in to manage the gathering along with about 50 other team members, she said.

"I don't believe we are using excessive force," she said Monday. "Up until this weekend, we only had 30 officers (at the site) -- do you consider 30 officers dealing with 10,000 people excessive?"


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OfflinemotamanM
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Rainbow Family gets lessons on fire risks, land reclamation [Re: motaman]
    #5819387 - 07/04/06 12:21 PM (14 years, 8 months ago)

http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/local/article/0,1299,DRMN_15_4820900,00.html

Rocky Mountain News

Rainbow Family gets lessons on fire risks, land reclamation

By Tillie Fong, Rocky Mountain News
July 4, 2006

ROUTT NATIONAL FOREST - U.S. Forest Service officials have turned their attention to educating the thousands of people attending the Rainbow Family of Living Light gathering about fire and land reclamation issues, pulling back on the number of citations being written for illegal camping.

"We are focusing our efforts on rehabilitation of the land," Diann Ritschard, spokeswoman for the Routt National Forest, said Monday.

"The group needs to do a lot of work before they disband," she added. "We're working with them to protect water sources and dealing with human waste and dog waste issues."

From June 12 through Monday, 531 citations had been issued to attendees, most for illegal camping. Last month, the Rainbow Family was denied a permit to use the forest for their annual gathering because of the high fire danger.

"In the beginning, it was an illegal gathering and we were trying to prevent the gathering from happening," said Denise Ottaviano, spokeswoman for the Forest Service's National Incident Management Team. "Once the numbers were overwhelming, we had to shift our resources and our objectives."

As of Monday, an estimated 10,000 people had arrived for the gathering in the Routt National Forest north of Steamboat Springs. The attendance is about half of what was expected.

"We're not receiving the numbers we were first estimating because of the issue of the permit and with the fire danger," said Ritschard.

Last Wednesday , fire restrictions were put in effect for Routt National Forest because of dry conditions and beetle damage to trees in the area.

"The fire restrictions were not placed for the Rainbow gathering but for the entire forest because of the fire danger," said Ottaviano.

Conditions in the forest are similar to those in 2002, when almost 40,000 acres of the Routt National Forest were lost to wildfires, she said.

Still, a limited number of fire permits were issued to Rainbow Family members this weekend.

"Since there are kitchens that are feeding large numbers of people, on a case-by-case basis we're issuing permits to those people who have small fires in enclosed areas," said Ritschard.

Some communal fires also are being allowed so Rainbow Family members can keep warm, but all individual campfires have been banned.

"The gathering participants have designated people as fire watch," said Ottaviano. "They're making sure there are no individual campfires and no kitchen fires without a permit. So they're cooperating with us in that respect."

Five resource officers were added to the Forest Service staffing over the weekend to approve fire permits and to educate Rainbow Family members about fire safety.

So far, there have been no wildfires in the area, although there have been a few lightning strikes.

Meanwhile, hearings continued Monday at a temporary federal courtroom set up at a nearby fire station on the citations that have been issued. Ninety cases were on the docket, but as of late Monday, it was not known what the outcomes were.

Last Friday, 110 cases were heard, resulting in 10 trials. Nine of the trials resulted in guilty verdicts, with one case being dismissed. Most of the violators were levied $40 fines, but some were banned from all national forest lands for a year.

At least three people also were ordered to leave the Routt National Forest immediately. One of the three who had been ordered to leave the gathering was caught trying to return Monday and was facing additional charges.

The Colorado State Patrol said it made contact with 250 motorists on Routt County Road 129 during the weekend to warn them about mountain driving hazards. A number of traffic citations also were issued.

Six abandoned vehicles, two of which were involved in rollover accidents, were towed away Monday.

It was not known how many citations were issued Monday, but Ottaviano said many of those cited earlier have failed to appear in court, resulting in warrants being issued for their arrest.

The Rainbow Family gathering is scheduled to end Friday, although a number of those at the event are expected to start leaving Wednesday. The gathering's most popular event - a prayer circle - will be held today.

Ritschard said she had heard that it is customary for some Rainbow Family members to stay behind after the gathering ends to help clean up and reclaim the land.


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OfflinemotamanM
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Rainbows leave paths of damage in forest [Re: motaman]
    #5834489 - 07/08/06 10:34 AM (14 years, 7 months ago)

http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/local/article/0,1299,DRMN_15_4830158,00.html

Rocky Mountain News

Rainbows leave paths of damage in forest

By Charlie Brennan, Rocky Mountain News
July 8, 2006

Now that the Rainbow Family is wrapping up its annual return to nature, the U.S. Forest Service is examining what it will take to return their campsite to its natural state.

Forest Service spokeswoman Denise Ottaviano said aerial photography of the countercultural campers' 4-square-mile settlement in the Hahns Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District of Routt National Forest revealed "40 to 50 miles" of newly improvised trails requiring restoration in the visitors' wake.

"It's shocking," Ottaviano said. "Now there's just this enormous trail system" in a previously pristine area.

At its peak, the Rainbow gathering, which officially ran July 1 through Friday, drew an estimated 15,000 free spirits from across the country.

The attendance figure, released by the Forest Service, is based in part on the estimated 3,100 cars, plus numerous vans and buses parked at the campers' settlement.

By Friday, their presence was down by about half, with the expectation that their numbers would continue to rapidly dwindle this weekend and beyond.

But, Ottaviano said, it will be weeks - at least - before the Rainbows are gone completely.

"There's a large number that will stay behind to help the Forest Service with the rehab, and there are a large number that will stay behind just to camp out because they are transient and really don't have anywhere else to go," she said.

It is expected, based on past Rainbow gatherings around the country - this was their 35th annual get-together and their third in Colorado - that some will seek short-term employment in the Steamboat Springs area in order to raise travel money, and inevitably, that some will be so enamored of their surroundings that they will settle there.

While Ottaviano voiced concerns about preliminary assessments of the environmental impact resulting from the Rainbows' visit, a more positive view was offered by Michael Zopf, director of the Routt County Department of Environmental Health.

"As far as we were concerned, they were good guests," Zopf said. "The environmental ethic that they live and that they practiced, at least in Routt County, was exemplary."

The Rainbow participants were never granted a special-use permit by the Forest Service due to concerns relating to high fire danger and safety questions stemming from the limited access to their chosen gathering site.

As a result, law enforcement issued more than 600 violation notices, including at least 298 for illegal occupancy and use, and at least 181 for drug-related offenses.

Another legacy of the gathering, according to Ottaviano, will be cars and dogs. She said the Forest Service is anticipating a number of broken-down or stolen vehicles will be left behind, and said that 20 to 30 lost or abandoned dogs have been rounded up.


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Re: Rainbow Family co-founder calls for Forest Service challenge [Re: motaman]
    #5834932 - 07/08/06 02:10 PM (14 years, 7 months ago)

Quote:

"As far as we were concerned, they were good guests," Zopf said. "The environmental ethic that they live and that they practiced, at least in Routt County, was exemplary."




Great Scott! An honest politician!  :eek:


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