RIGGINS - The Nez Perce Tribe and Forest Service have been working closely to identify and protect sensitive resources near Riggins, Idaho as the Rainbow Family of Living Light congregate near Race Creek to hold their annual gathering. Currently about 500 people are in the area, and more are expected to arrive for the July 4th weekend.

A joint statement said the Tribe and Forest Service share a mutual goal of sustaining this land and these resources in a manner that honors the Tribe’s sacred connection to these lands and waters within its homeland.

According to Shannon Wheeler, Chairman of the Nez Perce Tribe, “The Forest Service has an obligation to the Nez Perce Tribe to uphold and manage these lands. We consult regularly with their representatives to ensure this obligation is being fulfilled. We have collaborated on several projects to help preserve the land and resources. We expect this situation to be no different.”

“It’s my responsibility to ensure we manage these public lands in a way that provides access to visitors, supports first amendment rights, and honors our trust responsibility to the Nez Perce Tribe to sustain these resources for current and future generations,” said Cheryl Probert, Nez Perce-Clearwater Forest Supervisor. “We do that by working with the Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee and tribal staff to understand the needs and adjusting projects and programs to sustain those needs.”

The Tribe and Forest Service continue close coordination to minimize negative impacts of the activities associated with the event on sensitive resources and the Tribe’s treaty rights, in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.

This intergovernmental cooperation includes close coordination and communication between the Tribe’s and Forest Service’s law enforcement. “We appreciate the assistance of the Nez Perce Tribe and other law enforcement cooperators in providing support for the safety of our communities and visitors, as well as our natural resources, during this event” said Probert.