By Sarah Olsen, VTDigger
A banner welcomed people to the Rainbow Family gathering this month in Mt. Tabor
By Sarah Olsen, VTDigger.org
Some members of the Rainbow Family remain at the site of their recent gathering in Mount Tabor to clean up, but they are encouraging others to leave, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
The Forest Service issued its final report Wednesday, July 13, on the loose-knit group’s annual gathering, which occurs each time in a different national forest.
At the peak of the festivities in the Green Mountain National Forest on July 4, a little over 10,000 people were there, the Forest Service estimated. It estimated 289 members remained Tuesday. The festivities officially ended July 7.
Before the gathering, officials had warned that it could draw as many as 20,000.
The Forest Service has had law enforcement officers patrolling Forest Road 10 in Mount Tabor since the middle of June, when people began arriving. Authorities reported issuing dozens of warnings and citations.
The majority of the Rainbow Family’s cleanup efforts are focused on trash, particularly along Forest Road 10 between forest roads 30 and 31, according to the report.
As for the recovery of the vegetation in the national forest, the agency said resource specialists have been assessing damage. The report said the most effective restoration will start when the Rainbow Family members completely vacate the area.
The Forest Service expects Forest Road 10 will be regraded and undergo some ditch work later this summer to address “washboarding” and clogged ditches from the road’s extensive use over the last month.
Local businesses and communities may still expect traffic and the presence of the Rainbow Family members, according to the report.
The Rainbow Family of Living Light is an unofficial organization of people who share a stated principle of love and peaceful respect.
The 2017 gathering will be in Oregon for the third time in Rainbow Family history, according to the group’s unofficial website. The national forest where it will set up camp has not been announced. In 1997, the event was in the Ochoco National Forest in Oregon and in 1978 in the Umpqua National Forest, according to the website.