The forest will experience the highest concentration of visitors during the first week of July.
ROUTT COUNTY, Colo. — People are already arriving for the 50th anniversary Rainbow Family Gathering set to take place in the Adams Park area of the Routt National Forest early next month.
The event will coincide with the July 4 holiday, according to the US Forest Service (USFS), but around 1,000 people have already arrived. The forest will experience the highest concentration of visitors during the first week of July, the agency said.
Every year, the Rainbow Family, which is a loose group of people from across the United States and other countries, gathers in a national forest. The first gathering was held near Strawberry Lake in the Arapaho National Forest in 1972. This year’s event is expected to draw around 10,000 visitors.
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The USFS said it has mobilized a national incident management team with experience handling these types of incidents. The team works closely with the local community, including law enforcement, to protect the health and safety of everyone involved and to reduce environmental impacts on site by providing information and applying laws.
“We share your concerns about the incident affecting surrounding communities and invite you to the town hall meeting to learn more about the gathering and how the Forest Service will handle it,” said Russ Bacon, forestry supervisor for National Forests of Medicine Bow Routt. and Thunder Basin National Grassland. “We continue to work with our partners to minimize the effects on communities and the environment as much as possible.”
A gathering of this size can have significant impacts on traffic, communities, local resources, residents and visitors, the forest service said.
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Local businesses should expect to see large numbers of Rainbow Family attendees visiting stores and purchasing food and supplies along the routes to the gathering site. Nearby logging and county roads may become congested during the incident, and road closures and/or traffic diversions may occur, according to the agency.
The last major National Rainbow Family Gathering in Routt National Forest was in 2006 in the Big Red Park area north of Steamboat Springs.
The Forest Service has compiled a list of frequently asked questions about harvesting. You can find that here.
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