a previous Rainbow Family Gathering
The US Forest Service unexpectedly canceled a week-long Boy Scout honor society service project planned since 2004 in favor of a suddenly “spontaneously announced” Rainbow Family “Gathering of the Tribes” at the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Western Wyoming.
The decision to pull the plug on the Boy Scouts in favor of the counterculturalists was made by Mark E. Rey, Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment in the Department of Agriculture.
The Boy Scouts’ event was part of a program of 5,000 elite boy scouts donating 250,000 hours of time for construction, repair, and reclamation work in five National Forests. The scout volunteers intended to camp out in Bridger-Teton, build a trail at Teton Pass and remove a quarter of a mile of obsolete sheep fencing as well as three miles of fenced enclosure at an altitude of 8000 feet.
WorldNetDaily reports that the Forest Service booted the scouts in favor of the hippies, rather than go to the trouble and expense of law enforcement.
The conflict arose with the Wyoming location and dates, because Rainbow Family participants announced they would meet in the same general location as the Scouting work was to take place. The Rainbow Family events are not organized, there is no official website, and the makeup of the assemblage varies. Their activities grow to a peak over the July 4th weekend and then taper off, but the cleanup from the estimated 25,000 people expected to invade Wyoming’s Sublette County, population 6,000, is expected to take the time the Scouts otherwise would have been doing repairs.
Mary Cernicek, a spokeswoman for the Bridger-Teton National Forest, told the Casper Star-Tribune federal officials will look for other work in another location to substitute for the Scouts.
“We’re heartbroken, but we’re committed to giving the Boy Scouts a good experience and providing them with the education and leadership skills they’re seeking,” she told the newspaper.
Bousman said it’s fairly simple: The Scouts applied for permission for their project, filled out forms, went through red tape, and got permission. Then came the announcement from Rainbow members they’ve chosen the same location.
Mark Rey, the federal undersecretary supervising the U.S. Forest Service, met with Rainbow Family members recently in Pinedale, and urged them to move their gathering, the Star-Tribune said. They refused.
Rey told WND he thought the decision to move the Scouts to somewhere else and leave the Rainbow Family alone was the best under the circumstances. He said the government allows the Rainbow Family to bypass its regular permit requirements in favor of an “operating plan” but the bottom line was that the government didn’t want to be arresting hundreds or thousands of people.
“They couldn’t be expelled without a fairly significant amount of law enforcement activity.”
But law enforcement activity took place anyway.
The Forest Service, for reasons it won’t divulge so far (probably drugs), made an arrest, a second individual was then arrested as well for interfering with the first arrest, and as the fedral officers led the suspects away, they were attacked with sticks and stones by a crowd of 400. Eventually more than 60 police were required to control the mob, and rubber skugs and “pepper balls,” i.e. paint balls containing pepper spray, were fired at the crowd. Ultimately five people were arrested, and the ACLU is threatening retaliation.
The Casper Star-Tribune blames the police.