Report From FS
Pennsylvania Regional, 1996
FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER
AUGUST 22, 1996
During the week Of Aug 21 - 25, 1996, members of the Rainbow Family began to appear at the various Ranger Stations on the Allegheny National Forest asking for directions to their "gathering. At the time Forest personnel were unaware of a Rainbow gathering on the Forest. Following several of these inquiries Resources Assistant Mark ENGMAN logged onto the internet and Visited the Rainbow homepage. On the Rainbow homepage ENGMAN discovered an announcement for a regional gathering somewhere in Pennsylvania for August 24 Sep. 2, 1996, (attachment 1). This announcement included a name and phone number to contact for specific directions. ENGMAN called the number and received recorded directions to a regional gathering off National Forest road #116 on the Allegheny National Forest in Warren County Pa.
Simultaneously to ENGMAN'S discovery on the internet a group of Allegheny National Forest managers were on a field tour with State officials and discovered early signs of a Rainbow gathering along Forest Road 116.
District Ranger John SCHULTZ, staff Officer Dale DUNSHIE, Acting Forest Supervisor Ernie ROZELLE, Assistant District Ranger Mark GOEBL, and Law Enforcement officer Steve BURD visited the site where members of the Rainbow group had begun to gather. As this group of Forest Service officials began to talk with a small group of people an individual at the site called out "Can I help you gentlemen?". This individual indicated that the Forest Service personnel should deal with him The individual introduced himself as Joseph Greenfeather (later identified as Joseph Thomas MACCRIMMON). MACCRIMMON gave the impression that he had some knowledge of the plans for the gathering but that for details they should talk to Bill BAXTER. A short time later BAXTER appeared at the site and a lengthy discussion took place in an attempt to determine what the group had planned. SCHULTZ and the other Forest Service officials present discussed the need for a non-commercial group use permit if the group was to exceed 75,persons. Both BAXTER and MACCRIMMON indicated that they were aware of the permit requirements but stated that their ''legal liaison'' had advised them that they did not need to sign any permits. The Rainbow members present stated that they felt the permit requirement was a violation of their constitutional right to free assembly and the requirement to have an individual sign the permit on behalf of the "family' was not possible because no one member could represent the entire group. SCHULTZ, BURD, and DUNSHIE reiterated several times that a permit was required and any gathering of over 75 people without a permit would be illegal. GOEBL provided MACCRIMMON and BAXTER a copy of a special use permit application and instructions on how to fill it out BAXTER, MACCRIMMON SCHULTZ, GOEBL, and ROZELLE agreed to meet the following day to discuss these same issues.
August 23, 1996
SCHULTZ, GOEBL, and ROZELLE met with BAXTER and MACCRIMMON at the gathering site The group toured the gathering site discussing various resource concerns and how they would be addressed by the Rainbow group SCHULTZ again emphasized the requirement that a signed special-use authorization was required and that any gathering of 75 or more people without that permit would be illegal.
The 'Warren Times-Observer' ran an article written by staff writer Ellen Kranick regarding the Rainbow gathering attachment 2) In the article BAXTER is paraphrased as saying that the group had no intention of complying with the Forest Service'- permit requirements, citing the groups first amendment rights to free assembly.
August 24, 1996
Forestry Technician Lenore CRIPPA and District Ranger SCHULTZ and other resource professionals visited the gathering site to again meet with Rainbow group members. SCHULTZ and CRIPPA met with BAXTER and reminded him of the need to obtain a special use permit for non-commercial group use of over 75 persons SCHULTZ provided BAXTER with an additional copy of a special use permit application and a copy of a special use permit for the gathering and requested that it be agreed to, signed and, returned to the Forest Service.(attachment 3 and 4)
Another article appeared in the Warren Time's Observer reporting Baxter's statements that the group had no intention of obtaining the required Special-use authorization from the Forest Service. ·(attachment 5)
August 25, 1996
CRIPPA and SCHULTZ visited the gathering site and met with MACCRIMMON and BAXTER. SCHULTZ provided a copy of the operating plan discussed the previous day to MACCRIMMON and BAXTER. After reviewing the document and considerable discussion BAXTER signed the agreement with the name "Thomas Jefferson' and MACCRIMMON signed as a witness with the name "Thomas Henry Edward Rainbow'.. (attachment 6)
SCHULTZ and CRIPPA again reminded BAXTER and MACCRIMMON that without the Special-use authorization that is required, their gathering was illegal.
August 26, 1996
CRIPPA and other resource specialists visited the gathering site. CRIPPA met with BAXTER and again reminded him that the group needed to obtain the required special use authorization to make their gathering legal.
August 27, 1996
CRIPPA and other Resource specialists visited the gathering site. CRIPPA met with both MACCRIMMON and BAXTER and again discussed the need to obtain a special-use permit for a non-commercial group use.
August 28, 1996
CRIPPA and Assistant District Ranger Mark GOEBL visited the gathering site. GOEBL hand delivered a letter (attachment 7) from District Ranger SCHULTZ to BAXTER and MACCRIMMON. The letter reviewed the Forest Service's efforts to that time in regard to issuing a special-use permit for a non-commercial group use of National Forest lands. The letter went on to again request that a signed application and permit be returned to the Forest Service in order to make the gathering legal.
CRIPPA and GOEBL also verbally reviewed the requirement for the group to apply for and obtain the required permit.
August 29, 1996
CRIPPA and other Resource specialists visited the gathering site. MACCRIMMON provided CRIPPA with a handwritten response to Ranger Schultz's letter of 8/27. (attachment 8) The letter basically acknowledges the receipt of SCHULTZ"S letter and state that the council. had SCHULTZ's concerns on their minds and would consider his requests regarding the Special-use permit.
At the request of Law Enforcement Officer Steve BURD, CRIPPA requested BAXTER and MACCRIMMON to meet with BURD along Forest Road #543 later in the day. They agreed to meet at 1530 furs.
At 1600 furs. MACCRIMMON met with LEO BURD. Baxter was not present. MACCRIMMON was issued a violation notice for occupying or using National Forest lands without special use authorization when such use is required. (36 CFR 261.10(J)) During the discussion regarding the violation notice MACCRIMMON stated that he did not have a regular job, but spent his time roaming across the country organizing gatherings for the Rainbow Family.
At approx. 1840 hours, Bill BAXTER was seen driving a vehicle on Heart's Content road going toward the gathering site. LEO Bob CRAWFORD observed a vehicle fitting the description of BAXTER's vehicle and stopped that vehicle on Forest Road 116. LEO BURD arrived a short time later and issued BAXTER a violation notice for occupying or using National Forest lands without special use authorization when required (36 CFR 261.10(J)).
At the time the violation notice were issued to MACRIMMON and BAXTER approx. 140 vehicles were parked in the designated gathering parking areas. The number of vehicles present made it obvious that the population of the gathering far exceeded the 75 person cut-off requiring a non-commercial group use permit.
August 30 - Sep. 2, 1996
The population of the gathering continued to grow through the weekend to an estimated high of approx. 1000 people. On Sep. 1, 1996. 261 vehicles were parked at the gathering site.