Sunday, June 29, 2008

Report From the Gathering #3

Hey there, this is The Other Karen. I got another
call from Karin, the creator of this blog, from
the Gathering in Wyoming. She gave me lots of info
about what is going on there and how to prepare
for the drive and the hike in.

Again, I apologize for lack of apostrophes and
parenthesis. Karin’s blog, for some reason,
prints gobbledy-gook when I write them.

Here is the news…

The drive in is difficult because the cops are
stopping for every little thing and then, often,
are searching cars. One person has a court
appearance for not having brake lights, even
though she does, because the low sun was shining
on them and they are a bit dim. Another person has
a court appearance because he did not apply his
brake while on a corner, even though he was going
slowly because a cop was following him.

There are four parking lots.

There are two trails into the site. The WAGON
TRAIL is 2.5 miles of flat hiking and then a half
mile on a very steep incline going up. The SNAKE
TRAIL is only 2 miles but goes up and down a lot
and then straight up at the end.

FRONT GATE IS NICE!! You need to seriously allow
yourself 6-8 hours to park, hike in, have
something to eat!, find a campsite, and set up. If
6-8 hours has you hiking or setting up in the
dark, SERIOUSLY consider camping by your car the
first night, or by the fire at Front Gate. Its a
nice scene. Stay and enjoy it.

Karin “hustled it” from Main Meadow to the
front gate, down hill, and it took her two hours!

Once you are in, its level land. There are Aspen,
Pine, and Fir trees. There are blue and yellow
flowers in the fields and big gorgeous granite
boulders. On-site there is minimal cop-movie. They
come through about once a day on ATVs for an hour
and are gone.

This has been a SERIOUS problem this year. There
have been lots of people who have found themselves
with severe headaches and vomiting on their first
day onsite. This includes some long-time Rainbows
who are used to occasional high elevations and
living outdoors.

Allow for altitude sickness when you plan what
time of day to hike into the site. This is another
good reason to hang at Front Gate the first night
and acclimate before the crazy hike in.

Some of the older folks are bitching and moaning
because they feel ineffectual because they cant
walk around too much.

Rob is getting radios together today. This makes
lots of folks happy because the amount of hiking
to pass information around has been very

There are currently 3 CALMS set up.

It tends to be in the mid 70s during the day. The
nights are still very cold and some folks arent
sleeping at all well because of it. Bring long
johns for sleeping and possibly double sleeping
bags. Bring a hat to sleep in. Please bring any
extra blankets or bags for folks that need it!

The nearest gasoline for sale is UNUSUALLY FAR
away from the site this year. Be sure that you
fill up to the TOP before heading up so that you
can get back down. If you have gasoline jugs,
please fill them up and bring them in for your use
or for other folks. This will save on the usual
situation of having to siphon out of some cars to
get other cars back to town.

Its surprising how few people are currently
onsite. There were about 500-1000 at dinner last
night. Population seems sparse and less than
expected as does the quantities of cars coming in
per hour.

There is lots of meat in some of the kitchens.
Warriors of the Light was very recently built.
Yeast Man has not been seen. Some folks are sad.

Garretts mother is on site nearly every day
because there have been rumors that he has been
seen onsite. His mothers family -his parents are
apparently divorced- loves the Rainbows, are very
appreciative of all the work that is being done to
find Garrett, and is coming in a lot to walk the
site and chat folks up. They often bring meat for
the kitchens.

So, the unreported story is that Garrett allegedly
had a fight with his friends the night before he
disappeared. He -I believe she said- came home
that night but was gone by morning. No one was
worried until he failed to show up for work.

When his truck was found at the end of a dead end
road in the forest, there was a bullet hole in the
windshield and one in the fender.

There are flyers with his picture going around the
site and some folks claim they have seen him. But
its getting to the point that he would likely know
he was being searched for.

In my last report you read that the cops deemed it
illegal to yell “Shanti Sena” because it might
incite a riot. This has now been amended. Folks
are allowed to yell it as long as they really are
NOT trying to incite a riot. This of course, is up
to the opinion of the nearest cop.

It is believed that this will be interpreted to
mean that you can call for help if someone is
beating up someone else, but likely not allowed if
there is a cop-action going on and you are calling
for other Rainbows to come witness the action.

So! It is advised that if there IS some sort of
cop-action and you feel compelled to call for
Shanti-Sena to witness the action, that you step
back into the woods, away from the fray, make your
call and then disappear, coming around again to
another place in the circle. Dont stand beside the
nearest cop and call.

Other than the horrendous hike in, the altitude
sickness, the missing locals, and the difficulty
in finding a vegetarian meal at times, there is an
awesome Gathering happening. You should come home.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Minimal Information

I am going to attempt to write this post with no
apostrophes or quotes as my last post here on
Karins blog included a lot of odd characters in
place of the apostrophes.

I received a voice mail on my cell phone from Jai
(Just Say Hi). Karin seemed to have written some
notes down for Jai to read to me over the phone
for inclusion here on her blog. I hate to admit,
though, with some static and difficulty with
translation, I feel strongly that some of what
Karin wanted to say did not come through. For
instance, I got some email addresses from her but
was not clear what it was that I was supposed to
send to these addresses.

Here is what I did surmise...

* The hike into the Gathering site at Big Sandy is
pretty darn strenuous. Even without a pack, from
Parking Lot to Main meadow it is about 1.5 to 2
hours of hiking because it is UP HILL. Be

* Apparently, the folks onsite have been informed
that if they ever shout Shanti Sena (our call for
help) that the person calling may be arrested for
inciting a riot. Apparently, they are not aware
that the call is used to gather many people who
will surround the situation with a circle of calm,
peaceful council members intent on defuseing the
situation and come to a peaceful resolution.

* The road to or possibly into (or near) Snider
Basin (the other site) is apparently terrible. Not
sure which road this is exactly. Sorry.

* There currently is no proper plan in place to
evacuate severely injured or sick people from the
Big Sandy site.

* Jai was busted for having a string of beads
hanging from his rear-view mirror while driving
in. Please have your vehicle registered with no
violations. Wear your seat belts, go the speed
limit. Of course, that is good advice driving into
ANY gathering.

That is about it. I wish I had been there to take
the call instead of having it go to voice mail. I
could have asked a lot of questions and made this
report more clear.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

On-Site Report from Karin

Hello! This is The Other Karen. You might know me
from the Info Booth at the Gathering, but I am not
able to go to Wyoming this year. I did, however,
get a phone call this morning (June 21) from Karin
Zirk (the one and only). She was able to reach me
on her cell phone from the back entrance to the
site, on the hill. (She was using Creedo which she
thinks is through Sprint’s service. There was a
good deal of static, but I was able to pretty
easily converse with her.)

*At the town hall meeting with the Forest Service,
the situation regarding the Boy Scouts and their
planned work on the land (at the site where we are
gathering) was discussed. It seems that the Boy
Scouts did not plan to arrive until the 26th of
July, well into our clean-up process. It is
unclear as to whether they will cancel their
rehabilitation. Karin said there is a “slim
chance” they will go ahead with it.

*The Forest Service asked us to move to another
site. The Rainbows at the meeting agreed to go
back to the land and call a council about the
matter. They did. About a hundred people were at
the council (coming and going) and in the end, the
council was unable to come to consensus about
whether to stay or go. Because of this, the old
consensus still stands (reached by Spring Council)
to gather at the current site.

*There is some disagreement on the land… some
folks, including Garrick and Summer Breeze, feel
the Gathering should move to the 1994 Wyoming site
at Snyder Basin. Some folks plan to move there.
Lots of people are definitely staying where they

*Mark Rey, (the Under Secretary of Natural
Resources and Environment, US Dept. of
Agriculture) said that their will be no
repercussions whether we stay on site or move to
another. They would prefer that we move, but are
not forcing the issue and are being, according to
Karin, “nice and accommodating”.

Karin’s two cents is that the site will either
be where it currently is, or that it will be a
split gathering, but that it will most likely not
be moving completely. Also, she says, “If in
order the maintain the spirit of cooperation with
the Forest Service, we have to abandon our
consensus process, then what is the point?”

Last night (Friday the 20th), there were 180
people at dinner circle, the Magic Hat was passed
for the first time, and 5 kitchens served at
circle. A good time was had by all!

It is estimated that there are 1000+ people
currently on the land (July 21st, ’08).

SLEEPING BAGS AND TENTS!!! Many folks came
unprepared for the cold night whether and there
are kids with not enough bedding. Please help.



Thursday, June 19, 2008

Karin's Update for too early in the morning

So this morning, I'm in Salt Lake City trying to leave for the gathering with my group that rendevoused here. (it was a long hellish hot drive up the I-15).

Tonight at 11:30 PM Eastern Time there is yet another conference call with Mark Rey. Rumors I've heard is that if we don't move, the Boy Scouts project will be cancelled. These are all rumors. The number is 866-742-4928, code 6246993.

Some people on the site are rumored to be willing to move, some not.

So Mark Rey will be in Pinedale for the town meeting this evening at 6 PM.

I will try to post an update this evening based on what I find out then. If you're heading this way, check this site before you leave the highway in case there are updates.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Local Transit in the Area

Welcome to the SubLink Stage Website
For travel between Pinedale, Daniel Junction, Marbleton, Big Piney, La Barge, Kemmerer, Evanston & Salt Lake City...

Schedules & Fares
Call 307-367-7433 or 1-800-542-2632.

Gathering Site, Boy Scouts and Next Conference Call

To make a long story short, the boy scouts have been planning on using a similar area as we are using to do restoration work on the Continental Divide Trail. At this time we do not know how close their location is to ours and what the outcome of this concern will be. We are hoping to work out a cooperative solution to this issue

The USFS will provide a map of the area the Boy Scouts had reserved and additional information on their project which has been in the planning stages since 2003. When I get that information, I will post it here as well as a transcript of today's call so you can hear the issue out of the mouth of Mark Rey.

Here's some info on the boy scouts project or more information.

A brief summary of the issue: This is part of a five year thing the Scouts have been doing, and they have already applied for and received a special use authorization (permit). About 1000 of them will be coming for a week starting July 26th. Mark Rey (an undersecretary of Agriculture (the Forest Service is part of the Department of Agriculture)) told us that we was concerned about this putting time pressures on "the usually excellent job of cleanup that you guys do", as well as there being two large events in the same area in the same summer, "something we would not normally allow".

Discussion ensued about precisely where the Scouts would be relative to where we would be, and the Tom and Mark said they had to get additional information. Apparently there are several large meadows in the vicinity, and it could still be possible to use only some of them, and keep the areas the Scouts will use roped off to gatherers.

If you want to hear the issues presented by Mark Rey and the conference call that happened today, click here (thank you Marty).

Eventually it was agreed that there had to be input from people who are on the land, so Jai, who was at the time in Little America and on his way, as well as Tom, would get the word to the land and then get some of them to come to a ranger station and some phones and participate in another conference call.

Because no one from site was able to participate in today's conference call to discuss these issues, a follow up call has been scheduled for Tuesday, June 17 at 4:30 PM EASTERN TIME.

call 866-742-4928
Participant code is 6246993

We have a messenger going into the site today to make sure people on the land are notified and I hope the bulk of tomorrow's call will be composed of people who are on the land as those are the people who need to work this out with the USFS resource folks.

If you are headed towards the gathering, today or tomorrow AM please take this information with you.

If you are leaving in a few days, I will try post updates here so check that site before you head home.

Love you family!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Snow & Cold!

It's cold. Be prepared for snow. Bring extra warm blankets to share with those who didn't bring enough. Bring extra tarps and if you have an old tent you don't want anymore, bring that to get away.

Human Beings Will Answer Your Questions

If the information on this or other websites doesn't answer your questions, email and a wonderful and experienced gatherer will respond to your question or concern. Or just send them an email and say hey!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Town Meeting on Thursday, June 19

A town meeting is scheduled for Thursday, June 19th, at the Sublette County Library in Pinedale at 6:00 PM. All interested parties are encouraged and invited to attend.

The Undersecretary of Agriculture Mark Rev will be in attendance along with members of the U.S. Forest Service Incident Management Team. Representatives from the Wyoming Governor's office and Attorney General's office are expected to attend. The Wyoming Department of Health should have representatives there as well.

The purpose of the meeting is to allow members of the community to have an opportunity to ask questions of the Rainbows about the annual gathering which will be held at Big Sandy in early July.

Let's show up and meet the local community - share the love.

Hitchhiking is Illegal in Wyoming

The nearest public transit (Greyhound).point to the gathering is Rock Springs, Wyoming. So please, please, please if you can squeeze just one or two more people into your vehicle from Rock Springs to the gathering, let's help our family get home without getting ticketed.

If any locals know of a legal way to get from Rock Springs to Boulder without a private vehicle, please let us know.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Tips & Tidbets for Those Heading Home

Rock Springs is a good place to stock up. While the closest town is Boulder, I've heard some rumblings that the proprietor may not be that happy with gatherers. In addition to Rock Springs, there's a store, gas and a restaurant in Farson, which is between Rock Springs and the turn off to the gathering.

One person reported being unable to use an out of state credit card for purchasing gas at the pump - don't know if that's an isolated incident or not.

It's snowing a bit every day and nights are COLD! Be prepared.

Life is calm and the gathering is unfolding.

On June 19 in the afternoon or early evening, there will be a meeting with gathering participants, local towns folks, federal, state and local agencies including Mr. Mark Rey, the Undersecretary of the USDA (boss of the forest service). Details will be forth coming. Let's put our best face forward and show everyone that we are nice and loving folks.

Calling all folks from California

To come camp at Oji Camp (Northern & Southern Cali tribes). Cooking for main circle and doing the raw foods thing. Oji should be there by this weekend.

Blast from the Past (Wyoming 1994)

This from a friend and posted here with his permission

Hey Family,
After the Wyoming national in 94, I created and networked a printed circular of news about the gathering and other stuff, through a band (Whole World) I was doing at the time. Anyhow, I included quotes from locals, FS reps, LEO's, etc, that might be of some kind of minor
use in PR for this years gathering.


"Its a really well run outfit, considering we're out in the middle of the woods" - Jim Nothnagel, Wyoming Health Dept

"I haven't heard any complaints. I went up there the other day. I had fun" - Dennis Wagstaff, Big Piney firefighter

"I think it was an experience I wouldn't want to have done without. It was an interesting group of people, and it just goes to show that it takes all kinds" - Jackson Police Chief Dave Cameron

"In the beginning, I think a lot of people had reservations. Actually, it's turned out to be kind of interesting. It's been an experience, a cultural exchange" - Randy McNinch, 3rd generation resident

"It's an interesting experience. Rainbow does a great job of cleaning up after itself. You couldn't tell anyone was at the Paonia (Colorado site, 2 years prior) a year after that gathering. It would be a mistake to think that because they were different, that they were stupid. They include every kind of professional, doctors, lawyers, people from every walk of life. Don't judge them by the way they look, the way they smell, or what they have pierced" - Ron Jablonski, Forest Service spokesman

"Most of the experience has been really positive" - Rory Mack, Mini Mart owner

"Normally, we make about $500 a day. During the peak of the gathering we averaged $3,500 a day" - Judy Marx Sage Cafe owner

Love Is The Answer,

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

What to Bring With You to wyOOMMing

The basics:

WARM Sleeping Bag
Sturdy boots
Rain Poncho
Spoon & Fork
Flashlight & solar recharger
Toilet Paper
Sun Hat
Trail mix
Feminine supplies if applicable
Personal medications - (if you have special health needs please check in with CALM when you arrive so if something happens, people will already be familiar with your situation.)
I always recommend people bring two gallons of water per person so you have safe drinking water until you get settled and know where at the gathering to fill up.

If you want a bit more comforts:
Some sort of sleeping bag padding like a ThermaRest or foam
Something to sit on - (the gathering provides the ground, you provide the rest - towel, blanket, folding chair, etc.)
Be prepared for warm sunny days, cool rainy days and cold nights.
Sun shower
Water Filter (.2mu)

Remember, what ever you carry in, you will need to carry out.

Communal needs
(Organic) fruits and veggies that can take a few days without refrigeration and can stand a bit of banging around
Bubbles, face paint, acoustic instruments
Toilet Paper
(Organic) Sugar, nuts, whole wheat flour
Cash donations for the Magic Hat
Hugs & Smiles

Gathering Directions

Spring Council happened on June 10 and the consensus was to go to a site, which is south /southeast of Pinedale, Wyoming.

Directions From Southern California, take Interstate 15 north to Salt Lake City. Take Interstate 80 east to Rock Springs, Wyoming.

From Rock Springs, take US-191 north to WY-353 (near Boulder, Wyoming). Go EAST on WY-353 for 18 MILES to the end of pavement where it turns into County Road 118.
KEEP GOING on CR-118 (dirt road) for another 10 MILES (towards "Farson"). This will take you across the river at Buckskin Crossing, then watch for a junction with CR-132 where a sign points left to "Big Sandy Campground 15". Turn LEFT (east) on CR-132 (Lander Cut) and then FOLLOW the SIGNS to "DUTCH JOE G.S." -- After 7 MILES, there will be another LEFT, then go 2 MILES -- WELCOME HOME!!!

[Note: The site is NOT at "big sandy campground"-- it IS near "Dutch Joe GS" on the Big Sandy River]

For a map, click here.

For printer friendly directions in PDF, click here.

WARNING! There is snow on the road today and the road in is a bit messy. Be prepared or wait a few days as it's supposed to warm up this weekend.

If you're riding Greyhound - you want to get off at Rock Spring Wyoming. If you're flying or doing Amtrak, it's Salt Lake City, Utah - you can catch Greyhould from SLD to Rock Springs.

If you want to Map Quest your travels, make your destination Boulder, Wyoming and that should give you an estimate. Gatherings tend to be located many miles from the nearest Interstate and paved road. When planning your drive, realize that the last 50 to 100 miles may be traveled at 20 MPH and plan accordingly.

Always plan to arrive early in the morning. The roads into the gathering are generally in poor shape and it's easy to get lost at 1 AM in the dark when you've been driving for 12 hours. Kick it at a camp site for the night, get up at dawn and come on home.

It can take 4 to 8 hours from the time you park your car until you've gotten to your campsite and pitched your tent. If this is your first gathering, I'd plan on 8 so you can figure out what's happening and where you want to camp.

~ Welcome Home Everyone ~

~ Be the Peace You Want to See in this World ~

~ Ignore all rumors of cancellation or organization! ~

A Site Has Been Found

Spring council yesterday reached consensus on a site. Directions to follow. FYI it was snowing at the site last night and they were expecting a foot of snow.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Rap on Kids

For people with kids, if you've never been to a gathering plug in with Kiddie Village - a kid friendly space with lots of parents willing to share how to sanely and safely parent at a gathering. If you've never camped with kids before, read up an that to make sure you're prepared. Read the rap on kids at Gatherings to be prepared.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Rap on Access

For people with special needs, ask for Handicamp - a space for people with mobility and other related disabilities with lots of folks willing to help you make the most of your gathering experience. While the trails can be tough and conditions vary from site to site, there's usually a couple of friendly folks just waiting to assist with the rough spots. Sometimes we have cool things like rickshaws to assist people in getting around. Bring your own personal supplies (catheter, wraps, chair, medical supplies, diapers, cleanup, etc.). Bring own attendent if you need assistance with personal care (bowel programs, skin, transfer, catheterizations, wounds, etc) or supervision issues or other issues (mobility, access, safety) as needed. Please, ask for help when you need it and give another gatherer a chance to be of service.

USFS Follow Up from Conference Call on June 6

One of the areas of concern expressed by participants in the conference call with the USFS on June 6 was the USFS's policy on use of tasers specifically and use of force in general. I've attached three PDF documents, which is what I received today in various formats. The email from Amanda is the cover email to the other two documents. The only thing I removed from the email was the "to" and "cc" email addresses plus Tim Lynn's phone number.

Amanda's Email

FSM 5387 - Non Lethal Defensive Equipment Policy

FSH 5309.11_54 Use of Force Policy - Non Lethal Defensive Equipment

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Workshop Leaders Needed

A great Rainbow Gathering is full of great workshops. Great workshops are led by you. There's no one in charge of workshops at a Rainbow Gathering. If you want to do one, you do it. Many people make announcements at Dinner Circle for workshops happening that evening or the next day. There's usually a workshop board at Information. And you can make cool signs and hang them around the gathering.

Where do workshops happen? Anywhere you desire. If you're camped at a kitchen, ask the crew if you can use their bliss pit for a workshop. If it's a yoga or meditation workshop - Main Meadow or Yoga Healing Arts are great places to hold a workshop. If it's a workshop for kids and their parents, talk to the folks at Kid Village and see where would be a good place. If it's a workshop on accupressure, Reiki or other healing modalities, talk to the folks at CALM and see if they have space for a workshop.

At Rainbow, workshops are informal and usually the participants contribute a lot. What kind of workshops would be appropriate?

Here's a list of some workshops that have happened at previous gatherings:
* Herb Walks
* Yoga - a lot of different types
* Drum Making
* Belly dancing
* Biodegradable composting shitters
* Meditation
* Bible study
* Elvis Healing Studies
* Torah Study
* Krishna Study
* Non-Violent Direct Action
* Tree Sitting Direct Action
* Shanti Sena (Peace keepers)
* Ocarina Making
* Edible Plants
* Art projects
* Sufi Dancing
And I'm sure there's a bunch more I'm forgetting about all together.
Let's get this knowledge circulating! Share your brain with others.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Video of 1994 Wyoming Gathering

Bumped into this today. It's a video of the last Wyoming Gathering in 1994. Click here to play video!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Calling all health care providers and healers

If you're a licensed health care provider or do healing work such as massage, reiki, spiritual work or any other modality that helps heal the body or the mind, CALM needs your help.

What is CALM?
~ Rainbow Health Care aka the Center for Alternative Healing Medicine.

For more information or to plug in, visit the CALM Website.

If you want to reach one of the CALM crew, email them.


June 6 Gathering Update

Spring Council starts Tuesday, June 10 at Stokes Crossing Campground.

From Highway 80 near Rock Springs, Wyoming, Exit Highway 191 North towards Pinedale/Boulder. Drive approximately 85 miles to Highway 353. Take Hwy 353 two miles east to Boulder Lake Road (Gravel Road). Go 7 miles north on Boulder Lake Road. Look for a sign on your left for Stokes Crossing. If you reach Boulder Lake, you passed Stokes Crossing.

This is BLM land. No potable water on site, minimal trees. Bring one gallon of water per person per day you plan on being there. Bring extra water for those less prepared.

For a map of the area

Remember to be prepared for pre-gathering conditions! It's still wet & cold in Wyoming & gas is $4/gal. -- try to be self-sufficient with food, supplies and gear for springtime mountain camping!

Forest Service Conference Call Happened Today

----Begin Forwarded Message----

Here’s Summer Breeze’s Take on it

For those who were on the call today, please add your two cents and pass this on. Please send me an amended copy every belly so I can have the completed dialogue to post back on mountainspirit. Thanks and lovin you all. On my way to Wyoming.

Today's phone conference went well, in my opinion. About twenty individuals were on the line, some identified and some not. I was on the call but did more listening than talking today. Some folks were really tuned in to what needed saying, so I felt it was better to listen to the folks with intent.

The outcome of the call included the following: Mark Rey agreed to meet folks (rainbows, individuals, town folks in Wyoming) at a town meeting- the location to be decided once spring counsel selects a site- the Wyoming Governor and Attorney General will also be in attendance. A daily meeting to walk Law Enforcement and resource folks into the gathering from the front gate was agreed upon by some who will naturally volunteer themselves to this act. A daily meeting was agreed upon to take place within the gathering, probably at Info, so watch for these meeting times and places to be posted on the gathering bulletin boards.

It was agreed that representatives from the Forest Service would make regular visits to C.A.L.M. to discuss issues of medical importance. Mark Rey agreed to issue a directive that Law Enforcement would not hinder or interfere with medical procedures in action. The Good Samaritan law was discussed along with the topic of laws governing medical practitioners being licensed in the state of Wyoming.

Tasers and their use inside the gathering was a gigantic topic of discussion. It was admitted by John Twiss and Gene Smithson that Law Enforcement will be carrying tasers as part of their regular equipment, and that the use of tasers will be according to the directives of law enforcement guidelines, whatever that means. Gene Smithson said he will not disclose those guidelines to the folks. However, Mark Rey said there is a public document available through FOIA that he would forward out to the folks which describes the laws governing tasers and their uses.

Jane from C.A.L.M. put out her heart felt plea for acknowledgement by Incident Command and the Forest Service of trained, licensed medical practitioners who attend the rainbow gatherings and plead for a no interference agreement from Mark Rey. Jane also asked for proper medical attention to be given in the event that someone is tasered before being transferred to custody. A lot of these issues will be hot topics in regular counsels on the land and will be part of the "operating plan", the living document by the folks on the land made in co-operation for peace with the Forest Service, and subject to amendments continually as a "living document" according to the will and desires of the people.

This is just a quick summary. A transcript will be available sometime in the near future. An audio file will be made available on agr/alternate.gathering.rainbow on google groups.

Just because....(in honor of Papabear Rainbow who passed away last fall) I thought you might want to know. Summer Breeze

--- End forwarded message ---

Town Meeting Thursday, June 19 at a town near the gathering

There will be a town meeting with local residents, gatherers, Undersecretary of the USDA, Mark Rey, as well as the Governor of the State of Wyoming (or representatives) and the Wyoming Attorney General (or representatives) sometime between 4 PM and 6 PM on Thursday, June 19 at a town near the gathering. All are welcome to attend and make some new friends.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Idea for a Healing Circle for our Warriors

So I read this great article in YES! Magazine about healing our warriors to break the cycle of violence. Wouldn't it be cool if we had a healing circle in Wyoming to honor the sacrifices made by our brothers and sisters in this and all previous wars?

"Almost all cultures, past and present, have had warriors. They have also had complex stories and rituals to help them recover from combat and guide them through the life cycle. The occurrence of warriors is so universal that depth psychologists understand Warrior to be one of our foundational psycho-spiritual archetypes." and
"These war-healing rituals and practices serve us all. They bring home to us the need to break the cycles of war-making and violence both within the individual soldier and within the society. When we return to our veterans their silenced voices, when we accept our true responsibility as individuals and communities, we will no longer see war as an adventure or a legitimate tool of power politics. Then, perhaps, we may see that all over our country and world, we share the same legacy of war-wounding. When we join together to address those wounds wherever they appear, we will finally “study war no more.”

Quoted from the article, click here to read it.

Carbon Usage for Travel to the Gathering

Someone on the Usenet side of AGR brought up the issue of our carbon footprint in getting to the gathering. So in the spirit of reducing our carbon foot print, think about how you're getting to the gathering and try out one of the many websites that will help you calculate your footprint. Google "Carbon Footprint" and you'll find a bunch.

To the folks who are riding their bicycles to the gathering - you rock! Train is generally much lower in carbon usage pound for pound. Amtrak will get you to Salt Lake City on the California Zephyr that runs from San Francisco and Chicago to points in between.

Greyhound will get you to Rock Springs, Wyoming in the vicinity of where we are heading.

Ride sharing will reduce carbon usage and save us on parking at the gathering - for those who don't know, one of the hardest things to find in a site is adequate parking. Or try posting on your local Craigs List - they have a ride share section an many people use it.

Of course, it's not enough to only worry about your carbon impact on getting to the gathering, but it's a start and I hope you think about it every day in the purchases you make, the daily transportation you use and how you choose to live. Let's be the change we want to see in this world. Shop locally.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Scouting Update / Spring Council Info

Word from the scouts this morning is that all the sites under consideration at this point are in western Wyoming. Spring Council will happen within 50 miles of Pinedale, Wyoming and exact directions to Spring Council will be available at the end of the week. If you're flying, Salt Lake City is the airport.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

June 1 Gathering Update

Happy June Everyone!

As we’re all working on fixing our cars or working out rideshares with each other, I just wanted to take a minute to update you on a few things.

If you are offering a ride or have a ride to share, please take the time to meet with the people you’ll be traveling with ahead of time at your local coffee shop and work out the travel rules: smoking, no-smoking, who pays what, who drives, etc. Please make sure your car is 100% legal and you have a valid driver’s license, registration and insurance. The last few years there have been checkpoints coming into the gathering and people have been hassled pretty badly. Last year in Arkansas, a brother even got a mandatory court appearance ticket for a broken taillight. So cross your ‘t’s and dot your ‘i’s and you’ll come home safely. Many people seem to be using their local Craig’s list for rideshare.

The Undersecretary for the United States Department of Agriculture, Mark Rey, wrote a letter outlining the United States Forest Service guidelines for creating an “unpermitted” yet “legal” gathering. If you want a copy of the letter, visit SCROLL Wyoming Info.

The next conference call with Mr. Rey and his staff is taking place on June 6. To participate, on Friday, June 06, 2008 @1:00 PM-1:30 PM US Eastern Time. Call 866-742-4928 and then enter the code 6246993. This has been toll free call and you can be an anonymous caller.

From one of our earlier conf calls this year there was the suggestion that we come up with a list of the most offensive LEO’s - who we would like to 'be assigned duty elsewhere' during the whole of the gathering time. If you have anyone that you have found especially difficult and won’t be able to make the call, please send me the person’s name, the gathering, and a summary of their behavior that you found problematic. Or feel free to share the information on the call yourself.

A great brother has been in contact with the Governor and Attorney General for the State of Wyoming and invited them to a town hall meeting that hopefully will happen shortly after Spring Council so public relations work is happening.

There’s a small huddle of gatherers working on a media campaign – doing outreach to print and broadcast media. One of their goals is to do a daily press release from the gathering. To that end, they are looking for someone(s) who plan on spending the bulk of their gathering at the Front Gate to count the number of cops coming in every day so that this information can be included in the daily briefing. If you’re interested, let me know and I’ll hook you up.

I started a blog to share useful information with people for this year’s gathering. I’ve included most of this updates I’ve been sending out, but also many other cool things like links to some awesome videos and general chatter of interest to all. I even have a poll going, which asks the question ‘Are you going to the gathering?’ Visit the blog if you like: and would love your vote.

And in the world of Rainbow and politics, Vermin is not the only Rainbow running for public office. Election Day in California is Tuesday, June 3. If you’re in San Diego, there is actually a candidate who has been to a Rainbow Gathering and has very long dreads – and you thought San Diego was all military – At any rate, if you’re interested in checking out Eric Bidwell, visit his website at

Please share this information freely. Ignore all rumors of cancellation and organization. Be the peace you wish to see in this world.

Carla's Two Cents on Working with the USFS This Year

Carla's response was to an ongoing discussion of how to work with the forest service at the gathering in Wyoming this summer. Because she raised some really wonderful points, she's given me permission to repost this here for all ya'll.

********Begin Carla's Two Cents**************

Good points.

I would especially like to address the concept of "a daily meet at front gate." I, too, saw in Secretary Rey's letter a commitment that the USDA/FS will meet daily with gatherers, and that is a good thing--but this was not confined to front gate, nor should it be. There is a big difference between "a daily meet at front gate," and gatherers being available daily at the gate to meet and greet the ICT for an initial briefing as they walk into the site together for a sit-down in a place more accessible to the folks at the heart of the gathering.

What I heard voiced in the conference call was some folks' idea that "Shanti Sena" (not exactly sure who all that might be) should meet the ICT at the front gate every day as they arrive. While I have no problem with the idea of interface at the front gate, and see some definite reasons why it is a good idea, I would caution folks to remember that front gate is usually far away from the center of the gathering. As such, it offers limited opportunity for the wide participation that is vital for robust operational discussions.

I am absolutely opposed to "a daily meeting"-- as defined by a open discussion to resolve operational issues-- happening at front gate, as this would de facto exclude many people. I also disagree with Sailor that the ICT could use folks at the front gate to transmit information to those inside. Regardless of how inconvenient it might be for them to walk into the site, or how many other "more important" things they have to do, in my opinion it is far more important to re-start the long-gone practice of the guys in charge meeting in some sort of accessible council process with gatherers.

I would invite folks at this juncture to think into the years ahead, and to look at this gathering as the first step in creating a new dynamic between the USDA/FS and the gathering. What happens at this gathering will matter very much in terms of establishing communication patterns and practices that may endure for many years. Yes, the gathering is flexible in nature, and change is inevitable in any case. But inertia is a powerful force, as are expectations.

If something that is not well thought out gets established this year--say, for example, a practice of folks meeting at the front gate with ICT and LEOs to hash thing out--it may last for many years and be difficult to change down the line. The reason this matters--think ahead, folks--is that, regardless of the personal intentions of individual gatherers and USDA/FA personnel this year, different people will be at the front gate in years to come. If problems arise at the front gate (or the back gate, or anywhere on the periphery of the gathering) due to the nature of individual personalities--and I am sure they will--there will be little effective process in place to absorb and deal with it.

We all know what I am talking about. Any peripheral spot, camp, or outpost can be too easily dominated by one or two personalities. If meeting daily at front gate stops at the front gate and goes no further, and that becomes the norm, think about the disastrous possibilities for the coming years.

That is why any discussion of operational, safety, or logistical issues must take place in the center somewhere. In any circle in the center, council process can happen that has many voices. Collective wisdom is shared, personal agendas and idiosyncrasies less dominant.

This does not mean such discussions cannot take place also in other areas. It makes sense for the ICT to meet with CALM at CALM, for example, to speak about emergency evacuation procedures, or at Front Gate about traffic and parking problems. But unless that information is also shared at the Co-op circle (or Main Circle, or other larger, focalizing forum by whatever name folks choose to call it), there can be serious problems. I am thinking of the last Wyoming gathering, when some CALM folks agreed--in good faith, no doubt--on certain emergency evacuation plans with the ICT and did not share that at large with other folks, largely because there was no identifiable process for doing so. They also had HAM radios, and had exclusive communication with the ICT. This led to confusion and conflict down the line. I personally was kicked in the shins by a wingnut with a HAM radio who thought she was doing the right thing by doing what the FS was telling her to do. When I asked her to consider listening also to what gatherers were saying about other options, she turned to violence. This could have been avoided by the simple sharing of information ahead of time.

I realize there is reluctance to expose the ICT to our council process, which is often chaotic and can sometimes be verbally abusive. These problems have arisen, I believe, due to the legal conflicts of recent years. Many folks did not feel they could council in the open without risk of being seen as a "leader" of some sort, being targeted for prosecution under the permit regulations, and perhaps going to prison. Unfortunately, some of our most experienced and articulate councilors/counselors stopped coming and modeling appropriate council process out of this fear. The result has been that many folks don't know what appropriate council behavior and process is.

We have a great opportunity this year to restore the functionality of our council process, especially in respect to communications with the ICT. If many people commit to being at these circles, and if participation is robust, I have every confidence that relationships will take a positive turn. Yes, there will probably be folks unclear on the process who want to yell at or argue with the ICT about wearing guns, or rehash issues from the past ad nauseum. Good facilitation and good Shanti Sena-ing can help with that.

What I have in mind is a focused, respectful process whereby it is agreed upon at initial sit-down that this is a business and not a heartsong type council, and that some sort of personal self-restraint is called for in terms of staying on focus, no one person dominating the conversation or speaking for more than 2-3 minutes at a time, and refraining from aggressive language.

I'm also thinking that agreeing upon a facilitator and an initial agenda would be an excellent way to begin. Facilitation can rotate, and agendas be changed or added to, as necessary.

I also think it would be helpful if individual folks in the circle would intervene with someone being disruptive and take them off to the side to let them vent. to explain to them what is trying to be accomplished. and to ask that they observe the flow of the circle and respect the vibe that is happening when they return to the circle.

We used to do this all the time, folks. We just need to remember how to do it, and that it can be done. We all need to take responsibility for it.

As for the ICT, I would ask that they be patient and not leave the circle if there is a bit of disruption, to wait and see how it is dealt with before deciding it is somehow "dangerous" to them. I guarantee that their safety will be assured within any council process, and that they will learn a lot about how well we deal with difficult situations when they arise--without force, and without violence.

As for the proper forum itself, I think everyone knows that I favor a Co-operations Council process. Main Council may just be too big and unwieldy at this point, and once again, many folks have lacked the modeling necessary to learn how to council effectively. Certainly, as has been traditionally done, anything that effects the whole--that is, any "agreements" such as Operating and Rehab plans--need to be taken to Main Council for discussion. Co-op Council (or, as formerly named, Operations Council) does not co-opt Main Council, but can be much more appropriate and efficient when discussing such things as where to put the parking lot or the need for additional protection of the springs.

But certainly, Operations Council (I am also in favor of a return to that term) should happen in a place where most gatherers could easily come if they wished to. Time and place need to be regularly established, and ample notification made.

So that's it for my viewpoint. Discussion welcome.