Rainbow gathering

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Rumor has it that the Rainbow gathering is going to be in our neck of the woods this year (northern Idaho area). The local newspapers have already spewed out articles warning about the crime, drug use,etc they anticipate. The article above is written from a more friendly point of view and printed in the alternative paper.

-- Rebekah (daniel1@itss.net), May 19, 2001


I think the "crime" committed at the Rainbow Gatherings is stuff like food service without license and unauthorized sanitation facilities and horror of horrors, smoking pot right out in the open. I remember past news articles in the last twenty years about the Rainbow Gathering and their "unlawful gathering" on forest service land.

It's always sounded fun but not my cup of tea. Peace, Love and pass the munchies.

-- Laura (LadybugWrangler@hotmail.com), May 19, 2001.

It seems to me that the Rainbow group is right in most regards...but certainly keep aware that it's going on. Why can't people get to getherr in Nat'l Parks without a bunch of bureacracy? At least most of the "hippy" crowd is not prone to violence, just smoking pot. It still kind of surprises me that the Fed Gov is against us smoking pot...makes for really complacent people usually.

-- Doreen (bisquit@here.com), May 19, 2001.

The Fed isn't against us smoking pot... Its against not getting profits on both ends!!! It wouldn't be illegal if they could make more money by taxing than they can by arresting.

I haven't looked in the paper in a bit... When are they going to be there?

-- Sue Diederich (willow666@rocketmail.com), May 19, 2001.

Read the editorial at the link provided because I don't know much at all about this bunch. What I had heard was something closer to the "hippy, pot smoking, shoplifter" description. Doesn't surprise me that the FS and Gubument don't want them infringing on the training areas Klinton set up for the UN troops.

-- John n S. IN (jsmengel@hotmail.com), May 20, 2001.

They used to hold a reunion each year down south of me in the Angelina National Forest. Worst law violations in 20 years or so were public nudity, smoking pot, and the food service violations. Maybe a couple of skirmishes over whose woman was whose. That sort of thing. Hell, go to any state park in Texas during Fourth of July and you get the same things. Locals down there hated them though. Mostly because they didn't spend much money in town I think.

-- Green (ratdogs10@yahoo.com), May 20, 2001.

I don't think the final site has been selected yet, but yes, Idaho is the targeted site for this year. While the majority of the media will spread horror stories, for the most part the gathering is NOT a problem for the locals.

It is held the first week of July each year, and the main event is a prayer circle held on July 4th for World Peace. Most of the Rainbows make an effort to "live lightly" on the land and leave the parks in as good or better condition than when they arrived.

Smoking pot is common, but alcohol is frowned upon, as it tends to make people rowdy. A separate area is provided for people who want to drink, away from the area where the families with children camp.

I've never attended a Gathering myself, but have had quite a few friends stay with me on the way to or from a Gathering, and I've heard lots of good things about their movement (and the food, even though they don't have permits).

Rebekah, if you get the time, try to stop by the park and say HI. The worst that will happen most likely is that a whole bunch of strangers will hug you : ) Peace Love and Bunny Rabbits

-- Kristin, in LA (positivekharma@aol.com), May 22, 2001.

Peace and love? I don't think so! Try complete and total destruction: theft, robbery, harassment, vandalism, filth, drug use, nudity and worse, obsenities, robbery, animal abandonment, destroying the environment, etc. etc. The media couldn't paint a bad enough picture to describe what these people do to a community. I tend not to get angry about many things, and I try very hard to never lump people together in groups, but the very word "Rainbow" makes my blood boil.

I notice most of you who posted that the Rainbows worst "crimes" were probably food service violations or marijuana use, also mentioned you've never actually been to a gathering. At the risk of sounding rude, I will say you have NO idea what you're talking about. Several years ago this flock of vultures descended on our small town. 20,000 Rainbows vs perhaps 6,000 residents. They overran our town. They literally camped out (sprawled out on sidewalks, parking lots, etc., with sleeping bags, dogs, drugs, booze and all their tons of garbage strewn about.) I have yet to see a filthier, less caring about the environment, less disrespectful of their fellow man, group of people. You could NOT stand near them, they just plain REEKED! I have a ranch, I'm used to plenty of odors, but these Rainbows were just too much, their stench literally turned your stomach.

They blocked entrances to stores and begged for food, cigarettes, etc. from townspeople and harassed and intimidated them until many people, myself included, abandoned their usual places they did business. For most of the summer I shopped for necessities only at an out-of-the-way store, when the Rainbows discovered it I went out of town to shop. We have a small police force here which was no way equipped the handle the monumental problems the Rainbows caused. (BTW, our law enforcement here is great, not what you find in big cities.) Most of the crime I am aware of was never even reported, the townspeople and business owners just put up with it and took their losses. Which were tremendous. From early am to late pm, the Rainbow people just took over the town. They went into stores and helped themselves to whatever. When the store owners and clerks tried to stop them, the Rainbows just laughed at them, because they outnumbered the employees. I personally watched crowds of them walk into some of my favorite stores, many of which have elderly people for clerks, and just walk off with things. The Rainbows would hit restaurants and fast food places daily, go in and take ALL the condiments, napkins, etc., just stuff their pockets full. They would go up to diners and ask for their food, if refused, they just reached out and helped themselves off peoples plates. Business owners weren't upset because they didn't make money off the Rainbows, they were upset because they LOST most of their regular customers! Employees quit because they couldn't face dealing with the Rainbows on a daily basis. (And this is a town used to dealing with problem people from time to time.) I was in one store where a Rainbow had shoplifted some stuff and when confronted by a store clerk, another Rainbow guy came after him with a huge stick he was carrying. They tried to recruit young people (teens) from our town into going out to their camp and engaging in questionable (immoral, illegal) activites. They went so far as to print out flyers and hand them out to our teens around town.

As for only a little marijuana use, baloney. They had LSD, meth, valium, and all sorts of junk. Fights were common. Some were arrested for having illegal explosives. When officers went to their camp, the Rainbows had people assigned to run through the camp warning everyone to either take off or hide their drugs, etc. The camps were filthy, and there was feces so thick everywhere it was unbelievable. Absolutely indescribable. These people overran our medical facilities, for everything from serious life threatening injuries to every little sliver or make believe illness. And forget about any of them paying, we got stuck with the bills. Not to mention the clean up. The filth and destruction at their camp was considerable. Not exactly environmentally friendly people. To be fair, there were a FEW Rainbows, who stayed and helped try to repair the damage. And a FEW of whom I guess must have been some of the organizers of the gathering, who made contracts for food and other supplies who did honor their contracts and pay up. I respect them for that, and don't blame them for what the others did. But they were the minority. In general, the Rainbows held this town hostage for most of the summer and caused nothing but damage and destruction and cost this town a fortune. I don't know of anyone in this town who has anything good to say about the Rainbows who came here, they were nothing but parasites. (Perhaps some of the Forest Service employees appreciated them, as I'm sure they got lots of overtime pay.)

What I have written is not media bias. As I said, the media couldn't possibly get across to people what the Rainbows do to a community. My dh's family has lived here for over 60 years, and this was the first time we ever locked our doors. This was the first time I ever felt afraid in this town, or was afraid to walk the streets alone at night. It was the first time I ever locked up my car, or checked the back seat before I got in. I witnessed a lot of what these Rainbows did first hand. As did my neighbors, friends and family. My dh is in the medical profession, and saw many of these people in his clinic. We have first hand knowledge of what went on in the clinics, hospital, etc. Many of our friends and family are police officers, firefighters, EMTs, doctors, nurses, Forest Service and business owners. This is a small town and not much happens here that everyone doesn't know about within 24 hours. My dh, being in the profession he's in, usually knows everything within the hour. Little of what actually happened was reported by the media. We would be more than thrilled to see the Rainbows future gatherings at any of YOUR towns.....I assure you our town does not ever want to see them again!

-- Lenette (kigervixen@webtv.net), May 25, 2001.

Wow. Lenette. Sorry I was so ignorant of them. Thanks for giving you story on this. And no thank you, I don't care for them to come visit me.

-- Doreen (bisquit@here.com), May 25, 2001.

Yikes! Lenette, if what you say is so, maybe the reports are justified! I had no idea...My dh went to a few rainbow gaherings when they first began, sounds like they have really deteriorated.

-- Rebekah (daniel@itss.net), May 25, 2001.

I was talking to my 17 yo daughter tonight and told her what had been said about the Rainbows on this forum, and what my response was. She looked at me and said, "Now Mom, you know they weren't ALL bad.....maybe 98% of them, but not ALL."

You know, I remember the first ones who hit town that summer, mostly some aging hippie types with gray hair in ponytails, and driving wild colored vans, etc. They were dressed a bit odd , but were for the most part clean, quiet, went in and paid for their groceries and went on their way out to the forest camp. I spoke to a number of them briefly and they appeared to be decent enough people, and not much different from a number of locals. I suspect we never saw these people after that because they probably stayed up at the camp most of the summer. They were probably also the ones who helped with the cleanup, etc. I have NO problem with this sort. It was all the ones that came after that! There are good and bad in every group of people, including some of my favorite groups. Always a few rotten apples in every crowd. But with the Rainbows, the rotten ones apparently were the majority, or at least the majority of the ones we saw. It's too bad, because I do believe there were some decent people in that group, but that is not how the Rainbows will be remembered here.

-- Lenette (kigervixen@webtv.net), May 26, 2001.

Wow! I cannot believe how easily swayed your opinions are. The media - lets talk about how wonderful the media is! - blows situations out of proportion and inflames the armchair activist into action - usually whining and looking for the worst possible scenario to complain about. One persons negative perspective on what is probably a small percentage of the Rainbows should not be enough to form an opinion. If you wish to become informed and be truly pro-active, I suggest that you not be so quick to jump to conclusions. And if you feel like it, stop by in July. I'll be there, as I have before, you can find me in the Women's Circle where I connect with myself, others, and the earth in the name of peace, love and light.

-- Elly Monson (rakuzit@yahoo.com), June 28, 2001.

Apparently the gathering is not going to be up in northern Idaho, it'll be 6-7 hours south of us. I don't have any opinions about it one way or the other, except that IF it's like Lenette said, I wouldn't want them to come to our town. I do have some nice friends who enjoy and paticipate in rainbow gatherings. But I have goats to milk so no, I won't be going.

-- Rebekah (daniel1@itss.net), June 29, 2001.

To the person who said the Rainbow Gathering took over her town, stole from the stores and camped in town, I'm real curious as to which gathering that was - a state and a year is fine.

-- Karin (kzirk@earthlink.net), July 02, 2001.

To respond to your statment about the rainbows..... I think that you are very out of line !!!! This year was my very first rainbow gathering, I was a little hesitent at first and a little bit concerned about our wonderful enviroment that we as tax payers take very good care of through our pay checks, but after my experience I have found your article a little bit exagerated. Yes there were more than 20,000 rainbows at the gathering in Loman, ID but there were all concious of our concerns as Idahoans. You may not know of the spawning Salmon right now that are making their yearly run up the streams near Loman as we speak, but the rainbow family is. If you look on their web sites you will se how much of a big deal it is to them that they dont harm the salmon and to keep the area as it was before they came. The point that im trying to make is that it is these poeples constitutional right to assemble here in OUR NATIONAL FORREST. These people love the land as much as you or I and the entire purpose is to gather and pray for world peace they share from each other and everyone is good hearted. Untill you have the opportunity to make first hand judgements, I suggest that you keep your comments to yourself!!! You are giving these people a bad name that they dont deserve. Check on the web for pictures from last years event. As you can see the damage is NONE!!! All the grass has grown back and there is barley any trace from them. Hundereds of rainbows stay and inhabit the area after everyone is gone and make sure that everything is back to normal. Please try to be a little bit more understanding of these people and their lifestlye. Dont let a few bad apples spoil the entire bunch. The rainbows that you mentioned that were stealing and harrasing the general public have no respect and deserve to be punished but not all of the rainbows are this way. Most of them dont even come into town, they stay in the mountains until the gathering is over . I think that your stereotyping and your assumptions are so incorrect that it made me think that you are an uneducated fool who is so caught up into your population 6000 town that you have yet to see what this world is really about . OPEN YOUR EYES!!!!!!

-- David Doran (underground_kaos@yahoo.com), July 06, 2001.

David, etal, with all due respect please read Lenette's second post. She said that it was indeed "some, not all". Do not go and insult someone and call them a fool for thinking differently about something than you do. That only shows you are intolerant...and I thought that was the thing that you stood against???

Glad you enjoyed your gathering, and I agree that you have the right to use the National Forests just as all of the citizens of this country do, but don't think for a minute that your tax dollars are the thing that makes you a caretaker of it, it's personal responsibility and respect for both others and the Creation that make you a caretaker. Peace.

-- Doreen (bisquit@here.com), July 06, 2001.

Hey folks, lets not use our prejiduce against hippies or strange gatherings to spread gossip. This is my third gathering i am a 47 year old actor and advice anyone who has not gone to a national to try it before you knock. you know i could make fun of your tractor pulls and your rodeos, but gess what? i have known many nice people who go to those, and the same is true of our gatherings, they are a utopia of sorts, a world we kinda know wont exist in a world with so many people like i have seen on this sight, so you know i see you at targets, and all your kids baseball games, and county fairs, why dont you next year come to a gathering, then i think your opionion might hav more value, and truth, oh by the way your politics in idaho scare me!!! who is that creepy senator Craig??? loving you, and feeling sorry for your poitics, j.t. from california

-- j.t. (jtbeskraj@yahoo.com), July 09, 2001.

hey lenette, just for you, maybe we'll come back to your town, and this time stay all summer long!!!! you are a liar!!!!!

-- crazy ways (solsticetraveler@hotmail.com), July 09, 2001.

I Just wanted to say that my time in Idaho was the best time of my life and Im going next year and the years to follow

-- Don Hall (DonMHall@aol.com), December 02, 2001.

maddness !!!!!

-- dirty d (jasper20022004@aol.com), November 26, 2002.

rainbow is a beautiful experience and the way we were meant to live before corporations and pavement took over yes some bad things happen or bad people show up there but all groups of people have good and bad

feel the love and retreat to a better community

-- poo bear (sadtolove@yahoo.com), November 30, 2002.

Finally, some eight miles up a dirt road, there they were, the 20,000 hippies that threatened Montana—only many of the license plates on the array of mostly normal vehicles were, in fact, from Montana. Virtually everyone we passed smiled and said, “Welcome home” as we walked the two miles from the parking area to the camps and community kitchens dispersed in the thick lodgepole forest. Various paths wound throughout the Gathering and the methods by which 20,000 people lived, cooked, ate, got clean, disposed of wastes and filtered water were both amazing and ingenious. Miles of small PVC pipe delivered clear spring water to the camps, where it was run through standard, home-sized, water filters. Tiny lodgepole bridges were temporarily constructed where paths went over streams or bogs, which were marked “off limits” to protect the riparian zones. In spite of a vast number of dogs, there was no sign of their droppings, nor did I ever see even a single cigarette butt laying by the trails. Some grass was trampled and the paths were getting a lot of use, but most of it was by foot traffic and none of it seemed severe. It sounds incredible, but it’s true. The Rainbow Gathering, with an estimated 23,000 in attendance, was by and large cleaner than many of our regularly-used state or federal camp sites.

On the way out, I took pictures of the clear condition of the streams draining the encampment, and felt like the Rainbows were following their promise to “live lightly” on the land. But time would tell. Now, a year later, Dennis Havig, the Wisdom District ranger says, “There were 23,000 people here and you can find virtually no trash.” As for the trampled grass, Havig says, “There’s an aspect of diminished vegetation, but you’d have to look hard to see the damage. The untrained eye isn’t going to see it.” In the end, it turns out that the Rainbows didn’t trash Montana’s environment.

-- montana (sweetsativa69@yahoo.com), November 30, 2002.


-- xx (xx@x.com), December 01, 2002.

Just want to know where to go this year.

-- Michael Jason Menig (menigs@yahoo.com), June 09, 2003.

When I heard that the Rainbow people are coming to an area near me, I started looking it all up on the internet. This is one of the first pages I found. I noticed that Lenette never wrote back with the year and state of her experience, but then noticed it was asked for more than a month after her response. She probably never saw the request. (but I'm guessing maybe Oregon 1997). And CrazyWays, if that's how you talk to people you disagree with, no wonder people are afraid of you! The main reason I'm responding however is to share a site that probably tells the real story. http://www.strecorsoc.org/rainbow/oregon06.html Personally, I think the main problem stems from nobody in the group being willing to take responsibility. (Meaning "no-one" is in charge). Either irresponsible or a cop-out. And by the the way, it doesn't sound like these so called evironmentally friendly folk are great on the environment!

-- Shannon Leslie (shannonleslie@hotmail.com), June 20, 2004.

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