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Rainbow Family gathering expected to draw 10,000 people to Routt National Forest

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 of the 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 Fourth of July holiday, according to the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), but about 1,000 people have already arrived. The forest will experience the highest concentration of visitors during the first week of July, the agency said.

Each year, the Rainbow Family, which is a loose-knit group of people from throughout the United States and other countries, gathers at a national forest. The first gathering was near Strawberry Lake on the Arapaho National Forest in 1972. This year's event is expected to draw around 10,000 visitors.

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USFS said it has mobilized a national incident management team with experience managing these types of incidents. The team works closely with the local community, including law enforcement agencies, to protect the health and safety of everyone involved, and to lessen environmental impacts on the site by providing information and enforcing laws. 

“We share your concerns regarding the incident affecting the surrounding communities and invite you to the public meeting to learn more about the gathering and how the Forest Service will be managing it,” said Russ Bacon, Forest Supervisor for the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunder Basin National Grassland. “We continue to work with our partners on minimizing effects to the 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 participants visiting stores and buying food and supplies along routes to the gathering site. Forest and county roads in the vicinity may become congested during the incident and road closures and/or traffic detours may occur, according to the agency.

The last large National Rainbow Family Gathering in the Routt National Forest was in 2006 in the Big Red Park area north of Steamboat Springs.

The forest service has compiled a list of commonly asked questions related to the gathering. You can find that here.

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