ROUTT COUNTY, Colorado (CBS4) – Routt National Forest will host a virtual community meeting about an upcoming and controversial gathering near Adams Park. The Rainbow Family Gathering is apparently set to take place in the Hahns Peak / Bears Ears Ranger District backcountry.
The gathering tends to attract thousands of people with similar perspectives of peace, love and community. This year’s gathering commemorates the 50th anniversary.
Forest Service officials say the highest number of people are expected during the first week of July. In 2006, the group camped in Routt County, resulting in hundreds of tickets for drug offenses and illegal camping. The group also visited Colorado in 1972 when they camped near Strawberry Lake in the Arapaho National Forest.
Officials say participants have already started arriving.
“The USDA Forest Service has mobilized a national incident management team experienced in handling these types of incidents. The team is working closely with the local community, including law enforcement, throughout the incident to protect the health and safety of all involved and to reduce environmental impacts to the site by providing information and enforcing laws,” a press release read.
After a number of destructive wildfires, some Coloradans fear a gathering of this size poses too much of a risk.
“The idea of cleaning up after ourselves is kind of part of the cultural DNA of the Rainbow Family,” Gary Stubbs told CBS4’s Conor McCue, who plans to attend this year’s event. “We couldn’t imagine going somewhere and not cleaning up after ourselves.”
The agency will hear concerns from the public in a virtual meeting at 6 p.m. on June 21.
“We share your concerns about the incident affecting surrounding communities and invite you to the town hall meeting to learn more about the gathering and how the Forest Service will handle it,” said Russ Bacon, forestry supervisor for National Forests of Medicine Bow Routt. and Thunder Basin National Grassland.