From the pages of
Pinedale Roundup
Volume 105, Number 24 - June 12, 2008
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Rainbows coming to area forest

by Jennie Oemig

For the first time since 1994, the Rainbow Family of Living Light will be returning to Wyoming soil with its annual Rainbow Gathering planned to take place on Bridger-Teton National Forest (BTNF) land July 1-7.

According to the 2008 gathering Web site, the tribe is an international loose affiliation of individuals who have a common goal of trying to achieve peace and love on Earth.

Since planning for this event began, spokespeople for the family have been in contact with BTNF officials and the location is expected to be announced very soon.

“They have spoken with our Pinedale District Ranger Tom Peters,” said Mary Cernicek, public affairs spokeswoman for the Bridger-Teton National Forest of the site selection. “They told us that they have narrowed it down to four places. Two of them are in the Pinedale district and two are on the Big Piney district.”

The sites Cernicek said are under consideration are Big Sandy and Irish Canyon in the Pinedale district and in the Big Piney district, Shell Creek and Snider Basin, which is where the gathering took place in 1994.

“Tom is providing them with information about attributes of the land and what’s good and bad about the places they’ve selected,” she said.

Cernicek said that until the site is selected and the gathering begins, there is no way to know how many people will be in attendance for the event.

“Some of the larger gatherings have been upwards of 30,000,” she noted. “When they were here in 1994, I think there were around 14,000.”

And the length of time the tribe will be here is also uncertain, Cernicek said. “After the week of July 4, quite a few of them will disband and leave, but some of them will remain for two or three weeks after that,” she said.

Regardless of how many people will be attending the event, Cernicek said an incident management team has been formed and will be servicing the forest during the gathering. They will mobilize once the site has been chosen.

Karin Zirk, who created a blog that outlines her views about the gathering, said she will be in attendance at this year’s event. “I'm going to go to the gathering and build biodegradable composting shitters, meet a bunch of wonderful people, focalize a few workshops, meditate for world peace on the 4th [of July], hug hundreds of people and cry when I leave,” she said via e-mail. “My understanding of how to create world peace will have grown and changed when I'm done.”

Zirk, who has been to many gatherings in the past, said she got involved with the family because she sees the need to improve the world and leave it better than she found it. “To me the gathering is the best place in the world for people to learn the logistics of creating the world the way you want it to be,” she said. “I am physically pained to be away from the gathering during the silent meditation for world peace and I try to be there whenever I can.”

Though the exact site has not been selected, Zirk said Spring Council, which began June 10 at Stokes Crossing Campground near Boulder Lake, is usually the time when that takes place.

“In years past it has taken from one day to over a week for people at Spring Council to complete the process …,” she said. “Once Spring Council ends it's because a site has been selected by people on the ground. People on the ground move to the site, distribute the site information freely and then seed camp starts.”

Having attended councils in the past, Zirk said it is also a time when scouts share information with people about their surroundings.

“Spring Council is when people who have been scouting present all the information on the potential gathering sites,” she said, explaining that this could include information on parking, springs, archeological concerns, rare and/or endangered species, the hike in, issues with the United States Forest Service, ingress and egress issues.

The gathering has been held in Wyoming three times since 1973, when the tribe came together in the Shoshone National Forest. The most recent gathering in the state occurred in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in 1994.

“It's great to be back in Wyoming where the people are kind and the air is clean,” Zirk said.

For more information about the Rainbow Gathering or the Family of Living Light, visit

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