RIGGINS - The Rainbow Family of Living Light has reportedly chosen a site on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest for its 2020 national gathering. The event will coincide with the Fourth of July holiday and participants have already begun arriving on site. They selected an area near Forest Service Road #241 on the Salmon River Ranger District, just outside the community of Riggins for their gathering.
The Rainbow Family is a loose-knit group of people from throughout the USA and other countries. Each summer they hold a national gathering to pursue social and spiritual activities and pray for world peace. Since 1972, the event has taken place on a different national forest each year. Crowds typically range from 2,000 to 10,000 forest visitors.
The USDA Forest Service manages the annual event in close coordination with Tribal, state and local partners to protect the health and safety of everyone involved, and to lessen environmental impacts to the site by providing information and enforcing laws.
“We understand there may be impacts to our community, our neighbors and other forest visitors,” said Cheryl Probert, Forest Supervisor for the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest. “We are working hard to minimize effects to our local communities and the environment. All visitors to the national forest are expected to obey federal, state and local laws and regulations, and we take the enforcement of these laws very seriously.”
The forest resource protection plan addresses concerns about health and safety, watershed protection, natural resource protection and rehabilitation of the event site before the group leaves. The Forest Service is mobilizing a national incident management team with experience managing these types of events. The team is working in unified command with the Idaho County Sheriff’s Office, the Nez Perce Tribe and other local authorities.
An event of this size can have significant impacts on traffic, communities, local resources, residents and visitors. Local businesses can expect to see large numbers of Rainbow Family participants visiting stores and buying food and supplies along routes to the gathering site. Forest and county roads in the Slate Creek area as well as the communities of Grangeville and Riggins are expected to see potential impacts from the gathering.