MEMORANDUM OF CONVERSATION
NATIONAL RAINBOW FAMILY GATHERING
On Wednesday July 3, 1996 at approximately 8:30 am I contacted Ellen Hornstein,
an attorney with the Office of the General Counsel in Washington D.C. I
explained to her that an issue had arisen regarding a paragraph of the preamble
to the final rule governing noncommercial group use, specifically, the last
paragraph on page 45265 that continues onto page 45266.
I asked Ms. Hornstein to clarify the intent of this paragraph which discusses
law enforcement activities at Rainbow Family gatherings, in particular, the use
of road checkpoints. I also explained what was occurring at the current
National Rainbow Family Gathering on the Mark Twain National Forest in
Missouri. I explained that a toad checkpoint had been established and Forest
Service law enforcement officials were working with the Missouri State Patrol
and County Sheriff and that we were following guidelines of the Missouri State
Patrol to address specific considerations at the gathering.
Radar detection devices were being used to check speed (the speed limit had
been set at 20 mph per a Forest Supervisor Order at the request of the Rainbow
Family members). Officers were conducting sobriety checks and were stopping
every third vehicle to conduct routine license, registration, and insurance
checks and wants/warrants checks. I further stated that we were conducting
vehicle searches only after establishing probable cause and that we were
conducting plain view searches while vehicles were stopped.
I stated that Forest Service law enforcement officers frequently use check
points in law enforcement activities,
I told Me. Hornesein there was a concern by management (non-law enforcement
management) that the checkpoint was unconstitutional.
Ms. Hornstein stated the following:
The checkpoint at the 1996 annual Rainbow Family gathering is not
unconstitutional, as long as it is implemented within constitutional
requirements and se long as related law enforcement activities are
performed within 4th amendment law and other legal requirements, e.g.
searching only with probable cause.
The paragraph in question in the preamble to the final nonconnnercial group
use rule was written in response to the 1993 annual Rainbow Family
gathering, where questions were raised concerning the legality of
implementation of a checkpoint and law enforcement activities associated
with that checkpoint. The paragraph was included to show that the Forest
Service intends to enforce laws consistently and properly at large group
The intent of the paragraph in question was not to prohibit checkpoints
that are lawfully implemented by Forest Service law enforcement personnel.
The paragraph is part of the preamble not the regulation. The paragraph
shows the intent of the government, but unlike the text of the regulation, it was not codified within the regulation and dose not have the force and effect of law.
The above information was shared with Incident Commander, Lyn Carpenter,
District Ranger Tarry Miller, Supervisory Law Enforcement Officer Jim Scott.
and Supervisory Special Agent Billy Ball on same date.
Special Agent Kim Thorsen
July 25, 1996
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