Police/Forest Service Presence at Rainbow Gatherings?

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#1
Hey! It's been a bit since I've posted on here.

So I've heard about rainbow gatherings in the past, seen many people talk about them, and then heard a lot about them while spending some time at The Garden in TN. I've also just recently finished reading People Of The Rainbow: A Nomadic Utopia which seemed to give an incredibly academic and fact-sought study of what Rainbow Gatherings are like, but mainly from the 90s and such. There were some epilogues at the end that gave some information about what challenges current-day gatherings face, but even then it only dates back to 2010 at the latest. A lot can change over the years.

After hearing so much about them, reading into what they're about and what the roots are, and getting all sorts of opinions and stories out of people's experiences, I think I'm going to try and go to the national one this year in the southeast.

The book was describing how much government bodies, namely police agencies and the US Forest Service, fuck with attendees in this day and age - setting up roadblocks, doing all sorts of supposedly illegal vehicle/person searches, giving people citations for petty crimes...apparently there were Forest Service officials that were shooting people in Kid Village back in 2008? Fucked up shit like that.

I'm just wondering, for those who have participated in gatherings in more recent times, what the police/forest service presence is like. I'm not necessarily deterred from attending the gathering if it's whack, but I would like to know what it is I should prepare for in those regards.

Any advice as to what to expect at the gathering as well might be useful. That book I read plus all sorts of other's first-hand experiences really helps give me some clue as to what to prepare for and bring in the case of the gathering as a whole, but I bet there are still specific things I'm not considering because the idea hasn't been introduced to me yet.

Much Love, Many Thanks!
 
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Dameon

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#2
The 2008 experience was pepper balls (I was there for that one, cops were checking people for bruises from the pepper balls on the way out) - people started throwing rocks at the cops when they chased some idiot that ran into kiddie village. The cops in the whole area tend to get riled up when nationals are in town, and a whole herd of LEOs show up and set up their own camp right outside the gathering every year. They like to patrol the forest looking for such dangerous crimes as people smoking weed, "drinking in public", and having their dogs off leash.

As for the gathering, it's mostly about 50,000 weekend hippies showing up, trashing the forest, and getting ridiculously high. If you like camping, but have always wanted it to be like a city, and love the smell of human shit, and are okay with not being able to sleep at night because of idiots stumbling all over your camp looking for a place to shit, it's for you. Be sure to bring at least a week's worth of food for yourself and plenty of your own drugs; otherwise you'll be one of thousands of people going from camp to camp looking for free food and drugs. Have a water filter, or be prepared to get dysentery because of the idiots shitting upstream of you. Don't forget toilet paper. If you don't have a vehicle, you'll have a lot of fun at the end joining the giant camp of people trying to get a ride out and watching the endless stream of yuppies with empty vehicles ignore you even though they were just calling you "brother" the other day. Sometimes somebody takes too much ketamine and dies. Usually somebody manages to set the forest on fire.

My advice would be to skip it and go to regionals instead. It's seriously not what it's made out to be.
 

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#3
The first one I went to was in 2004 I think. It was a World Gathering in Costa Rica. I happened upon it by chance....got a ride on a school bus full of hippies heading there. Smoked weed out of a sea shell for the first time. We all had to pile out of the bus at one point going up this steep dirt road through the mountains because there was too much weight in the rig. Stopped in some little mountain village along the way and all these school kids came out and surrounded all of us in curiosity and awe. I don't think they'd ever seen hippies before in their life. There were local tico cops that came in to the gathering on horseback checking for peoples' passports. As it's a pretty conservative/religious country, you could tell some of the officers were visibly embarrassed at the sight of so many nude bodies. Lol

Second and last one I went to was the national in Arkansas back in 2007 I believe. Had a much different feel than the World Gathering I'd been to before. Lots more oogles just there to get as high as possible.

I'm not real interested in going anymore....I'm just not a fan of big crowds or the "welcome home, we love you brother" fake love crap. If you go, bring your own TP and dishes/silverware. Chocolate/candy is always good thing to bring and highly sought after. Bring stuff to trade at the trading circles. Don't be a complete mooch. If you are getting free food from the kitchens, help out in some way. Offer to bring firewood, dig new shitters, haul water, help do dishes or serve food. Contribute. Be careful in A-Camp.
 

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#4
Just to clear something up....please change the title of this thread. The US National Park Service has nothing to do with policing on forest/BLM lands. That would be the Forest Service. I work for the Park Service and we severely dislike this misconception.

Also:

If you like camping, but have always wanted it to be like a city, and love the smell of human shit, and are okay with not being able to sleep at night because of idiots stumbling all over your camp looking for a place to shit, it's for you.
Lmfao, that's hilarious, and what i have heard from so many people, that I am not going to attend any National Gatherings.....at least without money for drugs! ::eyepatch::
 
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#5
I was at nationals last year and at the most there were 6-10k people that showed up. It was very overwhelming and there were forest rangers pulling people over constantly and ticketing people. There was even a dog shooting by a ranger for a dog being off leash. It was...an experience. Ive also been to several regional gatherings which have ranged from 30-300 people and there is much less of a "police presence." I prefer small gatherings personally because I'm not a very social person and there is less of a chance for drama/violence/etc. when there are less people. I'm headed right now to the Cumberland gathering in Indiana which starts on the 18th.
 
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#6
Just to clear something up....please change the title of this thread. The US National Park Service has nothing to do with policing on forest/BLM lands. That would be the Forest Service. I work for the Park Service and we severely dislike this misconception.
You're totally correct, my bad! It's changed.
 

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#7
So, I went to 2015 South Dakota and 2016 Vermont.

SD I got there a week early. Didn't see a single LEA until I was there 3 days. Then it was just to make us move further back from the stream. After that they occasionally walked down main path. Seemed pleasant and kept smiles plastered on their faces. Didn't see any aggression from them after I had arrived. Heard some unconfirmed stories of people being hassled on the way in, but all second-hand. Doesn't mean at all that it didn't happen. I just didn't see it or hear first-hand accounts.

Vermont we got there on the 3rd of July near dusk and only bumped into 3 rangers directing traffic. I think one undercover LEA was possibly following us in, but I made sure to completely stop at all stop signs, use my signals, etc... No problems, no issues, not stoppage. Left late on the 5th and didn't see another LEA after we parked and left the van the first day..
 
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#8
The 2008 experience was pepper balls (I was there for that one, cops were checking people for bruises from the pepper balls on the way out) - people started throwing rocks at the cops when they chased some idiot that ran into kiddie village. The cops in the whole area tend to get riled up when nationals are in town, and a whole herd of LEOs show up and set up their own camp right outside the gathering every year. They like to patrol the forest looking for such dangerous crimes as people smoking weed, "drinking in public", and having their dogs off leash.

As for the gathering, it's mostly about 50,000 weekend hippies showing up, trashing the forest, and getting ridiculously high. If you like camping, but have always wanted it to be like a city, and love the smell of human shit, and are okay with not being able to sleep at night because of idiots stumbling all over your camp looking for a place to shit, it's for you. Be sure to bring at least a week's worth of food for yourself and plenty of your own drugs; otherwise you'll be one of thousands of people going from camp to camp looking for free food and drugs. Have a water filter, or be prepared to get dysentery because of the idiots shitting upstream of you. Don't forget toilet paper. If you don't have a vehicle, you'll have a lot of fun at the end joining the giant camp of people trying to get a ride out and watching the endless stream of yuppies with empty vehicles ignore you even though they were just calling you "brother" the other day. Sometimes somebody takes too much ketamine and dies. Usually somebody manages to set the forest on fire.

My advice would be to skip it and go to regionals instead. It's seriously not what it's made out to be.
That's just sad. Trashing the forest and weekend wannabes. Isn't this is the opposite of what rainbow stands for? I was really planning on going this summer but after seeing all the first hand experiences I'm reconsidering. I love what they try to stand for and am 100% for respecting our beautiful home Earth but if that's how it really is there I really don't wanna be apart that. Are reginonals the same way? Or not so filled with fake people?
 
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#9
That's just sad. Trashing the forest and weekend wannabes. Isn't this is the opposite of what rainbow stands for? I was really planning on going this summer but after seeing all the first hand experiences I'm reconsidering. I love what they try to stand for and am 100% for respecting our beautiful home Earth but if that's how it really is there I really don't wanna be apart that. Are reginonals the same way? Or not so filled with fake people?
That book I mentioned in my first thread actually goes into the care taking of gathering sites. The rainbow family has an excellent reputation of restoring places to their original beauty, if not making the site better and cleaner than it was before. The whole rainbow gathering has a seed camp a month or so before the official week-long gathering begins. Afterwards, there's also a cleanup camp done in the area, which takes anywhere from 1-2 weeks to 1-2+ months. Although it may take time, they get the area clean and restored. They completely respect the land.

Also, as for weekend wannabes...isn't rainbow about diversity? Doesn't rainbow want all sorts of different people contributing to this thing? This isn't just some hobo-getaway festival where it's vagabonds and travelers only. All sorts of interesting people show up to these things, whether they regularly travel or not. People since the beginning of this have been bringing their children to these gatherings for crying out loud. There are supposed to be all sorts of different views, demographics, religions, and walks of life being represented at these gatherings, making them unique - and there are! The only solidly nomadic aspect of gatherings is the fact that they change location each year. Yes, there are lots and lots of traveling-type folks who come out to gatherings, but this doesn't make them own the god damned thing. No one owns it. It's a rainbow gathering.
 

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#10
That's just sad. Trashing the forest and weekend wannabes. Isn't this is the opposite of what rainbow stands for? I was really planning on going this summer but after seeing all the first hand experiences I'm reconsidering. I love what they try to stand for and am 100% for respecting our beautiful home Earth but if that's how it really is there I really don't wanna be apart that. Are reginonals the same way? Or not so filled with fake people?
Regionals are completely different, and highly recommended. A regional is generally anywhere from 100-1000 people (a few bigger ones have more), and very few people who're there just to party. It tends to be a much more intimate experience.

Afterwards, there's also a cleanup camp done in the area, which takes anywhere from 1-2 weeks to 1-2+ months. Although it may take time, they get the area clean and restored. They completely respect the land.
The small crew that handles cleanup respects the land. Most of everybody else could give a fart about it. I've seen entire camps left behind, trash and all. And the cleanup doesn't really help in terms of the local plant life; there's not a whole lot to be done after a field full of delicate wildlife has been trampled by tens of thousands of people. At the last one in Washington, I saw people digging a hole in a marked field full of near-endangered plants because they decided there was a hot springs there. Having tens of thousands of people in the forest has a negative impact on the wildlife, no matter how much you clean up after it.
 

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#11
I've been going to nationals for 46 years I'm a elder in rainbow each year is special and magic forest service does not police, only specialized task force assigned to rainbow Leo law enforcement officers a voluntary assignment of officers,anyway now nationals are what you make it rainbow is considered a domestic terrorist group by the u.s.. government and policeed as such regional gather I do not attend as a habit they are smaller regional tribes as prescribed by 1982 rainbow council on which I attended and voted on the only thing you need to attend rainbow gatherings is a belly button.
 
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#12
I went to 2015 in South Dakota and 2016 in Vermont, and lots more regionals. Law enforcement usually isn't that bad. At regionals it's generally non-existent. It's not like they're cracking skulls all day every day. You'll see 'em do walk throughs, usually being led around by a smooth talking hippie interpreter. Sometimes a dog gets shot, sometimes a baby takes a face full of bear mace. This is to be expected from pigs. You have to treat them like starving, bubonic plague infected crocodiles. If you don't, you regret it. Disclaimer: I have yet to personally witnessed any negative experiences with cops at a gathering. I've heard shit, but people talk shit. They don't make it much deeper than Parking lot/A-camp/Welcome home/kiddie village, except to tour of the main trail.

I agree with Dameon's comparison of Nationals to a big city. I'm pretty introverted, so I have a hard time getting out there at nationals. Generally I'll stay at a camp with people I know & rabble the whole time, only leaving for wood, water, and sometimes food. I don't really have that much fun. It's just not my scene. I'm not big on wandering dazed & hungry & full of poops through crowds of people, YMMV.

The kitchens are all working overtime, it's hard to plug in places cos nobody wants you under their feet, there's lots of rules nazis because there's lots of goofballs trying to get everybody sick. It's not all bad, however. I met my current partner because of my first nationals. I get to catch up with old road dogs I haven't seen. It definitely brings in a unique crowd/feeling you don't find anywhere else, even at regionals. People from all over the world go. It's a temporary, decentralized, self-regulating big city of your people...with all the same problems of a big city. Just don't contribute to the shittiness. Try to stay for clean-up. Don't be one of those jerk-offs that leaves on the 5th after eating, shitting and smoking everybody else's pot for a week. Make no mistake: It's worth the experience, esp if you're a people person. Watching a city spring up in the forest and disappear is really something.

Regionals are something else all together. 'Intimate' is the word everybody uses. They have all the same amenities nationals does, on a pocket-sized scale. The shitters don't fill up so fast, and are usually cleaner. You can plug in easily and work at any kitchen that isn't run by assholes. People get up and do stuff when asked, but stuff also moves at a slower, relaxed pace. Pretty much zero drainbows; since it's so small the community can regulate itself better. It's quieter.

tl;dr Go to regionals to experience Rainbow; go to nationals for the spectacle.
 
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#13
Regionals are completely different, and highly recommended. A regional is generally anywhere from 100-1000 people (a few bigger ones have more), and very few people who're there just to party. It tends to be a much more intimate experience.


The small crew that handles cleanup respects the land. Most of everybody else could give a fart about it. I've seen entire camps left behind, trash and all. And the cleanup doesn't really help in terms of the local plant life; there's not a whole lot to be done after a field full of delicate wildlife has been trampled by tens of thousands of people. At the last one in Washington, I saw people digging a hole in a marked field full of near-endangered plants because they decided there was a hot springs there. Having tens of thousands of people in the forest has a negative impact on the wildlife, no matter how much you clean up after it.
How do you find out when the regionals are held? In WA for example? Thanks :)
 

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