Friday, May 16, 2008

Forest Service Discussions

On Tuesday there was a conference call with the USFS to discuss the annual gathering taking place in Wyoming with the goal of having a "legal" & "unpermitted" gathering and having the USFS cooperate with the gathering to protect the resources and minimize USFS/gatherer confrontations.

The first hour or so was recorded by a kind brother and is available online

One of the points of discussion was a letter to be written by Mark Rey. I've included the lastest draft.

If you have time to comment this weekend, please do and sent your comments to Amanda (, please do so.
Comments need to be to Mark Rey's office by noon Eastern Time on Monday, May 19. If you email Amanda, please cc

----- Original Message ----- From:


Attached you will find the letter with suggested changes from yesterdays
conference call. With everyone's agreement, Under Secretary Rey will
send the letter out on letterhead this Friday.

If you have any comments or questions, please me at your earliest

Thank you,

To All:

As we prepare for the 2008 National Rainbow Family Gathering in Wyoming, several Family Members have suggested that it would be helpful to again clarify the Forest Service's approach to the 2008 Gathering:

The Agency's authority to require group use permits is in place and has been upheld by the Courts. However, the Forest Service does have discretion with respect to the enforcement of this authority. Pursuant to that discretion and a previously negotiated protocol recognizing the unique nature of the Rainbow Family, we will implement the following process to facilitate a Gathering in accordance with the Forest Service Regulations:

* The Forest Service has forwarded several sites on the National Forests in Wyoming for the participants in the 2008 Gatherings to consider as gathering sites.

* The participants in the 2008 Gatherings will select 2 or 3 alternate locations for the Forest Service to consider as soon as possible. Initial scouting of sites is being done in cooperation with local Forest Service personnel.

* The Forest Service will quickly evaluate the sites (if other than the recommended Forest Service sites) and give the participants in the 2008 Gatherings an answer on suitability before Spring Council.

* Beginning at Spring Council and after a site has been mutually agreed upon, an operating plan would be prepared in advance of the Gathering in collaboration with the participants in the 2008 Gatherings. The plan would be subject to mutual modifications as the Gathering sets up. For this purpose the Forest Service is committed to meeting on the land daily with participants in the 2008 Gatherings during the Gathering.

* No permit would be issued. The Forest Service would exercise its discretion and refrain from any enforcement of a permit requirement provided that the operating plan is followed. Failure to comply with the operating plan will result in enforcement of the current regulations.

* All laws will be enforced on the National Forests similar to other recreation gatherings and forest visitor use.

* The Gathering will be managed thru the Forest Service Incident Command System for the purpose of addressing social and resource impacts.

Please feel free to circulate within the region and with members of the Rainbow Family and participants in the 2008 Gatherings. Welcome home.


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