USDA Forest Service · Resource protection and public safety issues on National Forest lands and roads. Support to county and state law enforcement agencies.
Pennsylvania State Police · Criminal violations under state law, support to Forest Service law enforcement within the National Forest, search and rescue, traffic enforcement and accident investigations on National Forest System and other public roads, unattended death investigations, support to local law enforcement agencies and communities, helicopter air support and rescue.
Pennsylvania Game Commission · Resource protection, game and fish violations, support to Forest Service and state and local law enforcement.
City and Township Police Departments · Normal jurisdictional responsibilities.
Warren County Sheriffs Department and Ridgway PD - Normal jurisdictional responsibilities and provision of federally approved federal detention facilities for federal prisoners.
Additional participating Federal law enforcement agencies included:
Federal Bureau of Investigation - liaison and assistance
U.S. Marshal's Service - federal prisoner transport and court support, fugitive information
Drug Enforcement Administration - liaison and assistance
[Deleted - 7(E)] Contact with the Pennsylvania State Police was ongoing basis since they were co-located with the Forest Service at the Incident Command Post in Sheffield..
1) Forest Service Statistical Information
(For the period of June 10 to July 9, 1999)
Type of Incident Number Misdemeanor Arrests: 5 Felony Arrests 0 Traffic Citations 300 Non-Traffic Citations 67 Warnings and Other Incident Rpts 444 Drug Possession Incidents/Citations 45 Weapon Incidents 5 Driving Under the Influence Incidents 3 Motor Vehicle Accidents 2 Medical Emergencies 1 Juveniles Recovered 6 Game and Fish Violations 1 Other Responses and 132
See Appendix 5 for Incidents by Date
Forest Service by Reported Violation or Incident Type
Violation Type Number Officer Interference, Disorderly Conduct, Assault 16 Weapons 3 FS Property and Road and Trails Damage 7 Assists to Other Officers and Agencies 28 Nudity 9 Natural Resource Damage * 10 Vehicle/Traffic/Parking 739 Drugs and Alcohol 99 Unauthorized Occupancy 10 Fire l Sanitation and Litter 27 Stolen Vehicles Recovered 2 Runaway Juveniles Recovered 6 Public Assists and Medical Referrals 18 Vehicle Accidents 2
* (General damage caused by the event was not included. only includes specific instances of damage observed by officer)
Pennsylvania State Police Statistical Information
(For the period of June 26 to July 9, 1999)
Type Number Misdemeanor Arrests 4 Felony Arrests 1 Traffic Citations 220 Non-traffic Citations 24 Warnings 927 Drug Possession Incidents/Citations 1 Weapon Incidents 1 Driving Under the Influence Incidents 11 Motor Vehicle Accidents 3 Medical Emergencies 1 Juveniles Recovered 2 Game and Fish Violations 0 Field Interviews 318 Other Responses and Public Assists 195 Stolen Vehicles Recovered 3
See Appendix 4 for Incidents by Date.
Other Cooperating Statistical Information
(For the period of June 26 to July 9, 1999)
Type Number Misdemeanor Arrests 5 Felony Arrests 4 Traffic Citations 40 Non-traffic Citations 30 Warnings 22 Drug Possession Incidents/Citations 3 Weapon Incidents 0 Driving Under the Influence Incidents 4 Motor Vehicle Accidents 10 Medical Emergencies 0 Juveniles Recovered 2 Game and Fish Violations 5 Field Interviews 43 Other Responses and Public Assists 31
Incidents of Interest or Significance Occurring at or Related to the Rainbow Family Gathering
6/14 - PSP arrested two subjects for grand theft auto in two separate recoveries of stolen vehicles.
6/18 - Ridgway PD took a report of a van stolen from a Texas gathering participant by another participant in the Ridgway area.
6/21 - Two subjects cited by FS for commercial sale of items at gathering (jewelry, sandwiches).
6/20 - Gunshots heard by LEO's coming from the area of Bus Village.
6/23 - Stolen vehicle recovered by PSP, one arrest.
6/26 - FS and PSP officers engaged in short foot pursuit of a subject resisting PSP arrest, resulting in minor injuries to PSP officer.
6/27 - FS officer forced to use OC pepper spray on aggressive dog at gathering.
PSP officer attempted traffic stop on pickup truck shuttling bed load of people in gathering area for traffic violation (Amnesty 2000 truck and driver). Driver failed to yield and continued down road. A PSP officer ahead blocked the road, however the driver did not slow and continued to approach the standing officer head-on, finally stopping immediately in front of the officer only after he drew his gun in his defense. Driver arrested for eluding an officer, aggravated assault, and reckless endangerment.
6/29 - PSP officers arrested a gathering participant located in Ridgway. Female subject was wanted on felony probation violations PSP assisted FS with recovery of runaway 15 year-old girl located in a vehicle stopped for careless driving. Girl advised she had attended the gathering and taken several doses of LSD the previous night.
6/30 - FS recovered stolen vehicle at gathering.
7/1 - FS officers patrolling the Bus Village area by vehicle are stopped as Amnesty 2000 members pull their vehicles (used at other times as gathering shuttles) across the road and park and leave them to intentionally block the officers. Despite lengthy discussion, they refuse to move the vehicles and a crowd gathered as FS officers arrest one of the drivers, requiring an emergency backup by other officers.. Man is charged and pleads guilty to interfering with federal officers and during sentencing, is prohibited from returning to the Allegheny NF until July 12.
7/2 - PSP received report from gathering participant that he had gotten ride from Utah in a van with another participant. While unloading the van, the van driver left with $2,800 of the man's musical instruments. FS received verbal report from two subjects leaving the gathering in disgust after they had property stolen from their camp, and after a participant who agreed to watch their property left with their wallets, cash and other valuables.
7/2 - PSP contacted and cited one 17 year-old girl for underage alcohol consumption and her 23 year-old companion for disorderly conduct public intoxication. PSP officers attempted to reunite two 14 year old girls present without their parent's permission at the gathering 2 girls were removed from the site after a crowd of abusive rainbows began to form.
7/3 - Amnesty 2000 member/gathering shuttle driver subject previously convicted on charges of interfering with FS officers and banned from entering the Allegheny NF until July 12 is arrested after he is observed inside the gathering on this date as a passenger in a vehicle. The driver of the vehicle is also arrested by FS for interfering with the arrest after he locks the vehicle and physically interferes with the arrest of the other subject. Both subjects are later sentenced on the charges to jail time and fines.
7/4 - PSP making traffic stop of vehicle associated with gathering arrested a NY fugitive and two others on drug possession charges after quantities of suspected diazapam, opium, marijuana and LSD are found in their car. PSP took report of wallet stolen in gathering area PSP removed sign along main road into gathering stating "Show Me Your Tits" after receiving citizen complaint.
7/5 - PSP took report from gathering participant regarding theft of $7,000 in religious artifacts from him at the gathering.
7/6 - PSP mounted officers coordinated helicopter medivac from Kiddie Village area of snakebite victim in serious condition. Victim was being treated at CALM but was not reported to EMS officials. After a confidential tip regarding his presence was received from a gathering participant, he was assessed and air evacuated. FS assists PSP officers with head-on collision on highway leaving the gathering area.
7/7 - PSP handled three car collision with minor injures caused by gathering participant attempting to leave the gathering on the highway with no brakes.
7/8 - FS officers took report from a male and female juvenile who stated they were stopped and physically assaulted in the area of A-Camp as they drove out of the gathering because they were told they were going too fast. Near midnight, an intoxicated man was found parked in a car on the main access road to the gathering with a smashed windshield and head injuries. He stated to FS and PSP officers that he had left after his car and he were assaulted by several men at A-Camp. PSP located man walking naked and in delusional state down the main access road and take him to the hospital. PSP observed and obtained medical care for juvenile observed ingesting "Gold Bond" cream.
Issues and Concerns
- A significant amount of controlled substance use continues to occur at the Rainbow Family Gatherings on National Forest System lands. Law enforcement personnel documented 45 drug-related incidents during the reporting period. However, widespread and open use of marijuana throughout the gathering, and persons under the influence of illegal substance, were observed by Forest Service and other agency officials.
- Weapons were observed in the gathering area. Five incidents involving firearms were reported, one man contacted was in possession of a dangerous spiked knife, and innumerable large knives were observed on the persons of gathering participants. This presented a serious safety concern to law enforcement personnel assigned to the incident. As a result of these reports and difficult access [Deleted - 7(E)] Subjects obviously the victim of a fight were observed in A-Camp and reports were received of several other violent incidents there.
- Many Rainbow Family members continue to exhibit aggressive and abusive behavior towards law enforcement officers. Thirteen cases of interference with Forest Service officers were reported due to their severe nature or arrest. Many other Family members expressed unhappiness and fear with this behavior and the criminal element that attended this year's gathering. Many left the gathering early for this reason. Many participants did not participate in the July 4th Prayer for World Peace ceremony at the main circle area. This aggressive behavior continues to create officer safety concerns and increases the number of officers and units required to patrol in order to provide for safety. This was especially true at this site as the main vehicle access points for the gathering were on very narrow, heavily vegetated one-lane roads which in the normal heavy traffic made access for officers and their backup a concern.
- Officers observed the presence of gathering participants espousing white supremacist views as well as suspected members of local Patriot groups. An additional small group present self-identified itself as "Amnesty 2000". Some members of this group actively participated in parking and shuttle activities for the Family. but remained extremely abusive to law enforcement officers. One member of this group was arrested by PSP as he was driving a shuttle truck full of people after he failed to yield to the officer on a traffic stop then nearly hit a state officer attempting to block his route at gunpoint. A second member of this group was arrested after he moved one of the group's shuttle vehicles in front of a patrolling FS law enforcement vehicle and refused to move it. Observations were also made by officers of two large military-type vehicles containing many men in camouflage clothing seen driving in the A-Camp area on at least two occasions. [Deleted - 7(E)]
- Natural resources and government property continue to be impacted significantly by Rainbow Family Gatherings. Forest Service law enforcement personnel reported 55 related violations. These included timber and other forest products, FS property, occupancy and use, fire, littering, and other sanitation related violations. As Forest Service officers did not patrol the main gathering area, nor did they document individual impacts that were part of the large overall resource and occupancy violations of the gathering, the reported violations are a small portion of overall violations.
- The Rainbow Family continues to refuse to comply with federal regulations governing large noncommercial group use of National Forest System lands. They state it is their Constitutional First Amendment right to gather on National Forest System lands. Three Rainbow Family members of this gathering were issued Violation Notices by the Forest Service for failure to obtain the required special use permit. The case is pending.
- As indicated by the "Other Cooperating Agency" statistics above and some of the statistics reflected in those for the Pennsylvania State Police, local communities enroute to or in the area of the gathering continue to be significantly impacted by the Rainbow Family Gatherings. Incidents handled by law enforcement agencies include theft, panhandling, disturbances, traffic congestion and traffic violations and public nudity.
- Traffic safety, parking sad blocking of Forest Service roads was a significant problem et this years gathering. Forest Service law enforcement personnel documented 739 related violations This included careless and reckless vehicle operation, speeding, vehicle equipment violations, use of vehicles in closure areas, blocking or interfering with use of Forest Service roads and gates, and improper parking. Seventeen vehicles were towed by the Forest Service out of the gathering area after at least 24 hours notice for parking in areas closed to parking and for blocking or interfering with use of public roads. The Rainbow Family's general lack of planned suitable parking locations and personnel committed to assist with parking these vehicles contributed to this problem. An estimated 8-9000 vehicles were driven to this years gathering.
- Despite advance notice given to Family members that a large number of natural gas pipeline and well facilities were located in the area, no apparent action was taken by the Family in most cases to protect them from vehicle damage or to protect participants from gas ruptures, explosions or fires within their gathering. The Forest imposed an emergency order prohibiting camping and parking within 200' of any gas facility based on hazard assessment advice from local gas company officials Gathering participants were found camped and parked immediately adjacent to leaking pipes for which flame or spark could have resulted in fire or explosion under the right environmental conditions.
- Unaccompanied juveniles and juvenile runaways attending Rainbow Family gatherings continues to be a problem. Eight runaways were recovered and returned to their parents.
- Heavy alcohol use occurred again at this year's gathering. As observed from areas accessible by patrol vehicle, alcohol use was heaviest in the A-camp area, but occurred throughout the gathering. One beer distributor in nearby Ridgway reported that from late June through at least July 8, gathering members paying over 54,000 cash they stated was gained by "passing the Magic Hat" at the gathering, purchased a total of 96 "half barrels" kegs of beer (equivalent to 672 cases). Many contacts were made by officers with juveniles possessing or consuming alcohol, and many juveniles were seen in the A-camp area during evening "parties" where heavy and open alcohol use was occurring. After July 4, a self-described "rave" party developed near the main parking area and continued for over a week. This party had amplified music, heavy alcohol use, a large presence of minors, and reported presence of ecstacy, LSD and other drugs.
- [Deleted - 7(E)] the area was regularly patrolled by mounted patrol officers from the Pennsylvania State Police from June 26 to July 11. The mounted patrol once again proved to be extremely successful in providing a patrol presence that can cover large areas within large crowds of people safely.
- The total costs of the incident will be nearly impossible to capture because so many items were borrowed or used at no cost, and many salary costs are not directly charged to the incident.
- There are several management code issues. Having separate codes for LE&I and for NFS with overrides sometimes prohibits splitting costs. It would be better to have one "project'' code similar to project fires. There will be charges against the fund early in the year when it is not possible to accurately predict which National Forest will be impacted. Changing management codes several times is confusing and incurs accounting costs. Having management codes with overrides is very costly from an accounting perspective, especially when having to reconcile split pay-period salaries. Two management codes also seemed to cause some problems for the dispatch/coordination center system; in fact the incident was assigned two incident numbers.
- The treatment of AUO for law enforcement officers and of maximum pay limitations for National Forest Systems employees was addressed at the national level. The declaration of a non-natural disaster emergency by the Secretary facilitated dealing with many of these issues.
- The Secretary of Agriculture's declaration of emergency for this event allowed flexibility in granting time away from this incident this year.
Preliminary Estimates $250, 000 4266.540
To Date 6/15 N/A 56,910
To Date 6/22 76,750 107,059
To Date 6/30 143,750 160,884
To Date 7/6 208,750 200,909
To Date 7/13 244,250 238,529
Estimate 7/18 252,000 245,509
Projected Rehabilitation Costs **
Total Costs $252,000
**The Forest expects the Rainbow Family to complete rehabilitation of the impacted areas. However, there will be costs associated with rehabilitation which are unlikely to be covered by the Family. Additionally, once the Family has departed, any failures are likely to be funded by the Forest.
Planning Section Staffing
Incident Action Plans
1) identification of resource issues/concerns in the surrounding area
2) pre-incident surveys to assess the current condition of the site
3) notification of gathering participants of resource concerns and expected mitigations
4) continual monitoring of environmental effects during the event
5) development of a rehabilitation plan to return the site to near pre-gathering conditions
6) post-incident monitoring
- Water Quality: The area selected for the 1999 gathering is in the Bear Creek drainage. Bear Creek is a perennial stream which flows into the Clarion River, which eventually enters the Allegheny River. There are several smaller streams which intersect Bear Creek and include Italian Shanty Run, Shanty Run, Pole Road Run, Otter Run and Little Otter Run. There are also several springs, beaver ponds, and wet meadows within the Gathering area. The impact of up to 20,000 people and their pets on water quality in the area could be significant. Slit trenches for the disposal of human waste have been used at past gatherings. Sediment load in affected stream courses could be increased due to vehicle traffic, trail development and use, direct stream bank disturbance, and in-stream water use.
- Riparian Protection: The potential exists for stream crossings, water system development and trampling of riparian vegetation to have negative effects on Riparian areas.
- Roads: Thousands of vehicles were expected to access the gathering site. Several of the interior access routes are unsurfaced and could suffer significant damage from the large increase in traffic.. Some of these short spurs are currently closed to vehicular traffic through the use of water bars and berms. If accessed by gathering participants, equipment may be needed to re-close the roads.
- Interaction With Other Forest Visitors: Bear Creek Recreation Area is a popular destination for many local residents. These visitors could be displaced and conflicts may occur.
- Wildlife and Plant Species of Concern: Several species of concern are known to inhabit the Bear Creek Drainage. The Indiana Bat, which is classified as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, has been found in the area. The timber rattlesnake and the northern water shrew, which are sensitive Species for the Allegheny National Forest, are also known to inhabit the Bear Creek drainage Small communities of pink lady's slipper and other rare plants occur in the area. In addition, the gathering is planned during fawning season, and nesting raptors and great blue heron are known to exist in the area. Disturbance to these species by gathering attendees and dogs is likely to occur.
- Wildlife Food Plots: There are several wildlife food plots in the area that have been developed and are maintained through partnerships with outside agencies and organizations. These open areas arc likely to be severely damaged by vehicle traffic and parking.
- Heritage Resources: Historic logging camps and railroad grades exist in the Bear Creek drainage. Foot traffic and the digging of fire pits, latrines, etc. could adversely effect the condition and integrity of the sites in question.
- Litter: Man-made material (including vehicles) left behind by nearly 20,000 individuals could be a huge problem if not removed by the gathering participants.
- Field reviews by a wildlife biologist archaeologist, engineer, and soil scientist identified potential impacts to the resources in the area
- Archaeological reconnaissance was conducted to locate historic sites and flag them for protection.
- Water sampling was begun on Bear Creek before significant numbers of individuals were on site.
- Photo and video documentation of pre-existing conditions was conducted.
Notification of Resource Concerns and Monitoring During the Incident
- Water Quality: Water samples from Bear Creek were taken twice weekly during the event. Sampling locations included a site above the Bear Creek Recreation Area (the control), a site within the gathering (just below the most significantly impacted area), and a site downstream of any impacted area. The samples were analyzed for fecal coliform count in parts per 100 ml. (10 to 1000/100 ml. is typical for sampling results in controls taken throughout the State). The results to date of the water sampling are displayed in Appendix 7.
- Riparian Protection: During the gathering, family members continually stressed protection of the riparian areas. These areas were flagged and signed by the family in an attempt to prevent impacts. The most serious impacts to the riparian ecosystem were: trails crossing wet areas that became compacted, suffered soil displacement and puddling, and loss of vegetation; fire pits constructed within the riparian areas; disturbance and loss of vegetation around stream crossings; swimming in streams stirred up sedimentation and may have added additional fecal coliform to the stream flow; and temporary displacement of wildlife inhabiting the riparian areas.
- Roads: Heavy traffic on the main access routes (FR 135 and 136) resulted in further loss of fines from the road surface. The last half mile of FR 393 accessing Bus Village is unsurfaced and suffered rutting and displacement. Vehicle traffic past the pre-existing road blocks was noted.
- Interaction With Other Forest Visitors: The Bear Creek Recreation Area was completely occupied with Rainbow family members early in June, which prevented use of the area by local residents. Occupancy continued through mid-July. No conflicts were noted
- Wildlife and Plant Species of Concerns: Family members reported several sightings of rattlesnakes during the gathering. One participant was bitten and transported to a local medical facility. One Family member reported that a dog had allegedly captured and killed an northern water shrew. The site has been reviewed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission. In their opinion, the "damage to the area wildlife populations was devastating and will be felt for years." "Many wildlife species were unable to complete their reproduction cycle because of human disturbance and/or nest destruction by either the people or the thousands of dogs they brought with them."
- Wildlife Food Plots: The food plots located off FR 161 have been heavily impacted by vehicular traffic and parking. Rehabilitation will be needed.
- Heritage Resources: Coordination with family members eased major impacts to the historic sites. However, some fire pits were constructed and a community shower system was installed within the site boundaries and may have affected the integrity of the site.
- Litter: Significant amounts of litter was noted from the early stages of the gathering in all areas accessible by vehicles In the main meadow, litter did not seem to be an issue throughout most of the event. Several recycling centers were located throughout the site. However, a walk-through on 7/10 noted several abandoned campsites where litter was scattered. Clean-up of the area was in progress, but significant amounts of foreign material will need to be removed. A review of "A-Camp" and Bus Village on 7/11 noted litter scattered throughout the areas.
The following post-incident monitoring activities are planned:
- Photo and video documentation will continue to obtain visual documentation of rehabilitation efforts and actual affects to the site. (See Appendix 9 for photo documentation of site condition as of July 10.)
- Resource specialists will continue to work with rehab personnel to design site-specific rehabilitation needs.
- Provision of supplemental food and liquids was addressed through a job hazard analysis which considered length of shift, remote duty location, high humidity, and high temperatures. Documentation was provided to the Allegheny NF Contracting Officer
- There was close coordination was between the team and the Forest Supervisor prior to the incident regarding ICP facility needs. Early selection of the Sheffield facility made it possible to install infrastructure and have the facility on line when the team arrived. Its central location also served cooperators well. Utilizing un-used government owned facilities saved expense.
- Dispatch information provided to the forest was efficiently transmitted through the dispatch system to the employee being requested. Both mobilization and demobilization were somewhat rough because traveling employees did not always communicate their locations and travel plans.
- Cache supply orders were placed early (May), yet some cache supply items were shipped by air freight or overnight mail creating an unnecessary expense
- An operations area was established at Owls Nest on a no charge agreement.
- The Supply Unit provided for cooperator as well as Forest Service personnel.
- Fruits and liquids were procured on a daily basis to minimize waste.
- Some office supplies were purchased through GSA, and team members brought large stocks of office supplies with them.
- Install repeaters, base stations, antennas and coax cable and provide power to this equipment (AC power, solar, battery, etc.).
- Provide secondary backup equipment in ease of failure of the primary equipment.
- Program mobiles and portables, provide spare mobiles and
portables in case of failure of the
- Issue portable radios to other agencies which need to operate on the Incident Radio System.
- Provide telephone communications at the ICP, including installing a telephone system. The minimum would be the installation of single line telephones, fax machines and modem lines.
- Install printers, computer equipment, fax machines, etc., for the Team.
Radio Systems & Equipment
Computer and other telecommunications equipment