Rainbow Family settles on Colorado site for 50th anniversary of first peace and love gathering

Law enforcement has expressed concern over trash, drugs and the environment

The controversial Rainbow Family of Living Light’s 50th anniversary gathering will be held in the Routt National Forest near Craig in northwest Colorado, according to a recent social media post from the group.

Reports of this year’s gathering — expected to be larger than normal — had had law enforcement nervous for several months. Others, though, eagerly await the festival, which Vice described as a “weird version of burning man.”

The posting, on the Annual Rainbow Family Gathering of the Tribes’ Facebook page, offers directions to Adams Park in the Routt National Forest from either Craig or Baggs, Wyoming.

Previous reports of the group’s meeting indicated that thousands might gather from June 28 to July 28, but no specific dates appeared on Tuesday’s Facebook post. One comment, however, indicated the meeting would instead be held from July 1-7.

U.S. Forest Service officials and law enforcement in the area said in May they were aware the Rainbow Family could come to the area this summer. Their inaugural meeting in 1972 was held in the Strawberry Lake area east of Granby.

Rainbow Family gatherings often coincide with drug use and sometimes sexual assault, past reports indicate. Many members bristle at those depictions, however. Past meetings in Colorado led to an increase of illegal camping and trespassing charges. Seven members told police they took psychedelic drugs before climbing on top of Boulder Public Library’s roof.

Groups larger than 75 people require special use permits to use Forest Service land and the group consistently refuses to abide by those requirements, The Denver Post reported in March. At the same time, the group is typically cognizant of rules meant to protect water and culturally significant sites.

After word spread that the group’s 50th anniversary would be held in Colorado several members — the Rainbow Family has no designated leadership structure — met online to discuss how to minimize littering and unauthorized fires during the gathering this summer.

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