Marienvilie Ranger Dist.
H.C. 2 Box 130
Marienville, PA 16239
Contact: Bernie J. Marocco ( Engineering Tech.)
Far: 814/927 2285
June 9, 1999
Findings from the June 5, meeting and area reconnaissance for
the Rainbow Gathering site.
After the initial meeting at Bear Creek Campground Leon Blashock'
Bill Peterson, and myself proceeded out to inspect the proposed
access routes down into the Rainbow Gathering site near the confluence
of Bear and Little Otter Creeks located in Warrant 2037 of the
Portland Mills Quad. The proposed access routes reviewed at this
time were FR 393 and FR 168. Existing conditions were also documented
with a video camera.
FR 393 Pole Run Road (gated closed, FS jurisdiction, TSL C,
Maint. Level 2 )
A. Good surfacing on FS system segment
A recent timber sale about 5 years ago left the road in good shape
with adequate pit run surfacing for a solid template.
Gate will be opened for vehicle access and parking.
We recommended they notify NFG to inquire about parking near pipelines
B. Approx. mp 0.7: proposed access route departs pit run FS
segment and heads eastward to
wards Bear Creek via a non-system native surfaced road.
This segment is native surfaced with some minor entrenchment creating
approximately 2, 25 segments with a potential for rutting.
For the most part this road runs along a ridge-top location that
provides good cross slope drainage and favorable soil types.
It was agreed to try applying pit run stone ( if available ) or
slash for cushioning in those segements with ruffing potential.
This road will be blocked with a vehicle approximately 0.3 miles
from where this non-system road intersects with FS 393.
There will also be vehicle and pedestrian access to a proposed
meeting site located in a game plot via this non-system road.
C. Approimate map location '2' on the Rainbow Gathering Topo
FR 168 Little Otter (gated closed, OGM jurisdiction, TSL D, Maint.
Level 2 )
A. Marginal surfacing
This is a seeded road with shallow pit run surfacing. It only
has supported light vehicle traffic for ogm service.
Several NFG pipelines and well facilities are located behind this
gated road. The road has no constructed turnouts.
It was agreed to keep this road gated closed and only allow foot
travel access to the lower gathering site at the confluence of
Little Otter and Bear (approximately a 1.5 mile walk ).
Temporary vehicle access to approximate mp 0.5 at the 'Foot Travel
Welcome' sign would be allowed to haul water line and other kitchen
B. Non-system and ogm rd. pedestrian access to lower Little
Otter and Bear Creeks
Two non-system roads take off from the ogm portion ( cyan colored
segment, on the Rainbow Gathering topo map) of fr 168.
We only walked down the shorter route oriented S,SE and running
directly down the hill to Little Otter Creek ( map location '1'
on the Rainbow Gathering Topo Map )
This road had grades in excess of 15%, it's entrenched, and aligned
perpendicular to the fall line which has resulted some severe
erosion which occured prior to Rainbow entry.
We noted several old lead-off ditches that could be made funtiional
with the consrtruction of a waterbar at each lead-off ditch. The
waterbar construction would be required during route rehab following
Brushing and Grading on FR 135
A. FR's 135, 136, and 145 grading as a safety measure:
FR 135, one of the main access routes into the Rainbow site from
Ridgway and FR 136 is currently scheduled for blading early this
summer. Planned grading of FR's 135,136, and 145 were moved up
to begin the week of June 14.
As a safety measure, it's hoped that grading of these roads will
remove wash-boarded conditions and provide better handling and
control to light vehicles travelling on these routes.
B. Brushing along FR 135 to improve sight distance:
Because of heavy vegetation and poor sight distance along curved
sections of FR 135, it was decided to try to do some manual brushing
along critical segments. On June 8, a prison brushing crew began
working on the most critical road segments to improve safety sight
IV. Open local pits for vehicle parking
It was agreed to open up the gated pit just west of 168 along
fr 135 to provide additonal vehicle parking.
We also provided Rainbow organizers with a detailed area map showing
other near-by pits and forest road facilities that would be available
for spill-over parking.
We also discussed using these pit sources for a little borrow
stone to help armor weaker road segments like those discussed
above in l.B.
Bernie J. Marocco (Engineering Tech.)
Rainbow Family Gathering
The Rainbow Family on the Allegheny National Forest is
"planning" to hold their annual national gathering in
the Bear Greek Drainage on the Marienville (Ridgway) Ranger District
on the A1legheny National Forest. Heritage resources on record
in the area of potential effect (APE) includes a series of historic
logging railroad grades associated with the Bear Creek Tramway
and historic logging camps. There are no known prehistoric heritage
resource sites in the area of potential effect. In addition, one
newly recorded site, an historic oil well, was identified in the
On June 5, 1999 a cultural resources phase I walkover survey
was conducted by Allegheny National Forest Heritage Resource Program
Leader Richard P. Kandare in the proposed area of potential effect.
He was part of a team of other resource specialists (William Moriarity
and Scott Reitz) who examined the area in question.
During their visit, a previously unidentified heritage
resource site was encountered and recorded. (Deleted [Ex.3]).
Using the information provided in the USDA Forest Service
Region 9 Cultual Resource Inventory Form recorded by archaeologist
Andy Myers on March 16, 1990 (Deleted [Ex 3])
Although the site location map and the location description
on the site form fit the location the sketch map enclosed with
the site form did not seem to be of this particular site and location.
In other words, the sketch map is problematic.
What was highly evident and clearly visible was a banner
on a white sheet hanging from a tree in the middle of the opening.
Verbiage indicated that it was directly related to the Rainbow
Gathering. Nearby stuck in the ground was a feather tied to a
stick. Rainbow informants questioned later on FR 168 indicated
that the banner and the other object were located in the area
where they planned to hold their events involving a "circle."
At the time of our visit to the site, we were under the impression
that the circle was to located at the mouth of Otter Creek. This
was as a result of the meeting that we along
with Marienville District Ranger Blashock and several other resource
specialists had with the Rainbow Family Council earlier in the
day. This would have placed the area of potential effect about
I I kilometer (.8 mile) to the north With this in mind, combined
with the absence of artifacts and sensitive cultural features
on the surface, it was decided not to ribbon ("flag")
the cultural resource site for avoidance. Also with this in mind
it was decided that site ([Deleted [no exemption cited]) was located
too far south of the proposed circle location to be within the
area of potetial effect and therefore we did not undertake a field
visit to the site.
The potential effect of the Rainbow Family Gathering on
the historic logging railroad grades is estimated to be minimal.
The effect of foot traffic on the grades is expected to not have
a great impact on the grades.
There will be no potential (Deleted[no exemption cited]).
The effect to the two lumber camps are unknown at this
time. Both sites could suffer devastating impacts if they are,
in fact, "ground zero" for the Rainbow Gathering. Ground
disturbing activities such as the construction of slit trenches,
hearths, kitchen areas, etc. could adversely effect the condition
and integrity of the sites in question. Having the rainbows avoid
these sites would serve to protect the sites, but giv en the topography
in the Bear Creek drainage, there appears to be no other location
suitable for such a gathering of this size and magnitude.
It is recommended that a crew or crews of heritage resource
specialists from the ANF be dispatched to the area of potential
effect as soon as possible to conduct emegency recordation, subsurface
testing, and other investigations prior to the area being impacted
by the Rainbow Gathering and to work closely with the Rainbows
to protect and preserve any significant or potentially significant
heritage resouces identified by the heritage team on the ground
in the area of potential effect.
More specifically, it is recommended that (Deleted [no
exemptioon cited]) sites be revisited, photographed, and examined
on the ground in a systematic manner (Deleted [no exemptioon cited])
should be mapped. In consultation with the Rainbows, areas that
may be subject to ground disturbing activities should be shovel
tested. Documentation should be collected in a manner that would
allow the heritage to monitor the effect of the gathering on significant
or potentially significant heritage resources.
United States Forest Bradford Star Route 1. Box 88
Department of Service Ranger Bradford, PA 16701
Agriculture District (814) 362?1613
Reply To: 19;0
Date: June 8, 1999
Subject: 1999 National Rainbow Gathering
This letter documents the on site review conducted at the Bear
Cr. rainbow gathering site on Saturday, June 5 1999. The purpose
of my visit, was to notify members of the rainbow family of wildlife
related concerns in the Bear Cr. drainage, and to conduct a preliminary
review of the site to identify other wildlife concerns or possible
impacts to TES species. The following is a brief summary of the
We initially met at the Bear Cr. C.G. to discuss wildlife,
heritage, soil and water and road or access related concerns.
The following are wildlife related concerns discussed:
1. There have been several Timber Rattlesnake sightings
in the Bear Cr. drainage, inclucling, dispersal of up to a dozen
snakes from a den site Altilou;gh we don't expect snakes to be
concentrated at a den site at this time of year, due to the large
number or people attending the gathering, it is very likely that
some people will encounter a snake. I informed family members
present of this fact and talked briefly about precautions to take
that would reduce the likelihood of an encounter Some members
expressed concern over this and said they would kill a snake if
they saw one Both Leon and 1 informed the group that the timber
rattlesnake was protected by law and should not be harmed Although
I think most of the family member, present would not harm A snake,
if there was an encounter. I told the family that I would identify;
with pink and black striped
Flagging and rocky areas or other sited that 1 felt might
be used by snakes and that these areas should be
2. I told the family that the northern water shrew, which
is a sensitive species for the ANF had been found in the Bear
Cr. drainage I talked briefly about this species and explained
that the! could protect its habitat by keeping their stream crossings
to a minimum and by not removing any large woody debris along
a stream for firewood
3. I discussed briefly that the Indiana bat had also been
found in the Bear Cr. drainage and that they could protect possible
roosting sites for this Species, as well as other bats by not
cutting down any trees that had sloughing bark.
4. I mentioned that this was the time of year when fawns
were being born, and expressed a concern over the number of dogs
that might be brought to the site I Strongly recommended that
dogs be leashed or controlled in some way, in order to prevent
harassessment of deer, as well as other wildlife by dogs running
I got the impression that most family members were genuinely
concerned over protecting wildlife and wildlife habitat in this
area and was asked to provide flyers that would summarize our
wildlife related concerns, as well as to provide suggestions as
to what things they could do to minimize impacts to wildlife.
I agreed to do this, and would try to have flyers available for
distribution by the weekend of June l2th.
Following our meeting in the campground Bill Moriarity, Rick
Kandare and 1 looked at lands along the Bear Cr. bottom form its
confluence with Otter Cr. and Pole Road Run We looked at several
spring locations possible access and streamcrossings and three
beaver ponds and associated meadows. including their "welcome
home' site at the confluence of Pole Road Run and Bear Cr. Based
on this preliminary review and on conversations I've had with
Terry Steffan related to wildlife use and occurrence in the area
I did not identify any wildlife or 1 ES species concerns that
would preclude use of this area by the rainbow family. However
siince the family had not vet occupied the area specific sites
where erosion and disturbance are likely to occur could not be
identitfied. Considering this l recommend that once use areas
and trails are established wetland or other unique/sensitive plant
communities be inventoried and evaluated in order to better assess
potential effects to State listed plant species, or uncommon or
unique species that might be affected.
Scott L. Reitz