webmaster's note: This is the initial index to the documentation
between Garrick Beck and the Forest Service concerning the 2003 Utah
Gathering. OCR'ing these documents is a huge task, and they will be
following as they get done.
Index of Documents - Utah 2003
This is a complete listing of all the paperwork that passed
between myself and the U.S. Forest Service from March 31, 2003 to the
Descriptions of what I found to be particularly controversial or
problematic are also included. These remarks are offered as solely as
an expression of my own personal observations and are not intended for
any other purpose.
Given the nature of Family politics I have left out
anybody's and everybody's names. There are so many unsung heroes and
sheroes who did all the real tasks and met all the real logistics, did
the incredible work of the cleanup, and who often worked with and
spoke with healh, resource, and law enforcement officers to make all
this work out. These people are the heart and soul of how this really
At least in the discussions that may follow, there will be a
clear and complete record of the existing documents. I hope this
opening up of all the record for public review will prove beneficial
and encourage wise choices in the future.
1. March 31 2003. NOTIFICATION OF INTENT TO APPLY
This letter to Forest Service Region Four (Utah, Nevada, parts of Colorado,
Idaho and Wyoming) and Forest Service Region Five (California) sets
in motion this whole series of back-and-forth exchanges. In it there
are four important steps defined: One: I waived my right to
confidentiality, (thereby setting some precedence for how this can be
done in the open); two: A Map Meeting be held to discuss together
potential sites; three:
A resource team be assigned to work with participants; and four: a
Cleanup Letter be delivered to the cleanup crew at the conclusion of
2. April 3, 2003. REGION 4 RESPONSE
3. April 4, 2003. REGION 5 RESPONSE
4. May 5, 2003 MEETING PREPARATION LETTER
Having made arrangements by phone for a meeting near where scouts
would be looking at that time, I prepared a packet of past Cleanup
Letters and Operating Plans for each of the U.S.F.S. people who were
planning to attend that meeting. I sent these with this cover letter
so they could have this material in advance. These packets were
not distributed to the Federal attendees as was requested.
5. May 8, 2003 MEETING ROSTER
This page lists the participants of the May 8th meeting. There is a videotape record of the whole meeting also. Discussions centered on potential sites. The F.S. presented maps and sites that districts across Region Four had sent in to them, and three sites in the nearby area. Most of the sites were not really viable, but they wanted to present all the responses to their region-wide inquiry. One site they suggested was potentially usable -- or at least was one Scouts were already considering. I - and others - showed them maps of three more sites in the vicinity that were being considered.
The Forest Service agreed that a resource team would work with
participants... There would be an Operating Plan separate from the
permit and that it would be a living, working document subject to
numerous practical changes in the field, to be worked out with
participant volunteers onsite...There would be a much lower level of
Law Enforcement presence...And the cleanup crew would receive a
Cleanup Letter at the finish.
It is important to note that the Forest Service did not live up to
three of these four promises. The only one they kept was that a
resource team worked together with participants.
6. May 8, 2003 CATEGORICAL EXCLUSION
In the May 8 map discussions this document was distributed by the
USFS. It explains that certain sites, because they lack certain
resource conditions are Categorically Excluded from needing large
environmental studies before any approval could be issued. These
conditions are: Threatened or Endangered Species; Wetlands or
Municipal Watersheds; Designated Wilderness; Inventoried Roadless
Areas, Research Areas, Native Religious Sites; and Archaeological
Sites. Without any of these a site would be Categorically Excluded
from needing long-range study and therefore could be used for a large
public assembly. The F.S. people at the meeting say they will respond
to our suggestions by letting us know if our suggestions are
"Categorically Excluded" or not.
7. May 8, 2003 SUMMIT COUNTY APPLICATION
Just at the end of the meeting as we were all getting up to leave (!),
we get handed copies of the Summit County Application for a State of
Utah Temporary Outdoor Mass Gathering Act Permit. By this, the Forest
Service was demanding a second permit application in addition to its
own. Thus began a long interaction with the Summit County health
officials, because this law is administered under the authority
of the State's County Health Officers. This Utah Health Law (17 pages
of stipulations) was clearly aimed at commercial fairgrounds-type
events and had no useful relation to forest-based assemblies. In the
weeks that followed the Forest Service thru its Incident Command
continued to insist that without that second Permit, any application
would be denied. Whenever paper with the words "Permit" or
"Authorization" are presented BE AWARE!
8. May 21, 2003 FS SITE RESPONSE
9. June 3, 2003 FOLLOW UP LETTER
This letter keeps up with developments around the State Health issue.
10. June 5, 2003 STATE HEALTH CALL LETTER
11. June 9, 2003 FS SITE RESPONSE #2
12. June 10, 2003 STATE HEALTH CALL LETTER RESPONSE
In which it is made clear that the Forest Service will not
facilitate a conference call between all interested persons and the
Utah State and County Health Officials. The insistence upon a Utah
Mass Gathering Permit is also clear. This letter is from the office
that oversees the Special Use Administrator.
13. June 15, 2003 PERMIT APPLICATION
13a. Marc Rey Letter
13b. May 8th Video
13c. Letter of Notification
13d. Permit Pending Note
On the morning of June 15, the council at Lyman Lake determined to go
the Little West Fork site and within an hour all 70 plus vehicles left
the lakeside and moved up onto FS road #307 and from there downward
along that four mile stretch of roadway to the valley below. I set up
my tent and tarp at an area called Green Road and began there, onsite,
to fill out an application. When the application was handwritten in
duplicate I turned on my radio and reached the "back gate."
I asked if any Forest Service officials had checked in, and asked that
when they stopped by next to let any of them know how to contact
me. The Special Use Permit Administrator arranged to come to Green
Road, along with the Incident Commander. Naturally, I put out calls
thru the radio and by runner to whoever was interested to come. There
is a videotape of the whole meeting.
At that meeting many speeches were made about how this process was
reducing our rights. Specifically, as the Permit signer, I expressed
my own sense of diminishment of Constitutional guarantees, and
how I was doing this as a lone individual. Black armbands were worn,
as explained, "mourning the loss of liberties." I gave them
a properly filled out application. I signed "as an
Included in the Application was:
13a) The Undersecretary of Agriculture's letter that defines the
meaning of the regulation to make favorable several things that I and
others lost on in Federal Court: i) That a signer does not have to an
agent or representative of anyone; ii) that the individuals involved
do not have to be a formalized group; and iii) That a signer bears no
personal liability for other's actions.
13b) The videotape of the May 8th Map Meeting. I included this because
I wanted in the file the record of the verbal positions of the
officers at that meeting.
13c) My original letter of notification (Doc. #1 above) so that the
beginning thread of some of the processes can be referenced.
13d) A short note that indicated if the County Health people were
still working to come up with some kind of assent and cooperative
relation, but hadn't yet given us a Utah Mass Gathering Act Permit,
that the F.S. could leave my application "pending" while the
process continued. The Incident Commander and the Special Use
Administrator were very clear that from the instant I handed them my
application "the clock was ticking." I had 48 hours (because
permit applications need to be approved or denied within 48 hours) to
get that other 2nd Permit (the Utah Temporary Outdoor Mass Gathering
Permit) to them or they were going to deny my application. In fact,
according to them, even at that time, the gathering was an illegal
event, and everyone there was subject to ticketing or arrest already,
even tho my application had been handed over.
One of the mistakes included with the Application was my choice of
July 28, 2003 as the date for cleanup's conclusion. Thru August 5
would have been much wiser. We were fortunate to have had cooperative
weather and an outstanding cleanup team, but had things been
otherwise, we'd have been stuck unfinished by the final date. This is
an example of the kind of problems that arise when one person makes
decisions that affect others.
14. June 17, 2003 PERMIT FOR GARRICK BECK; AND FOREST &=
nbsp; SERVICE OPERATING PLAN
At 4:20 pm on June 17th the Acting District Ranger (and a host of
other Resource, Law Enforcement and Administrative Officers) arrived
at Green Road with an approved authorization, just as the 48 hours was
expiring. The controversy over the demanded Utah Mass Gathering Permit
had been a constant over the past two days. Other folks had gone to
visit the County Health Officers. Health Officers from other States
and counties where Gatherings had previously been held contacted the
Summit County Health officials. The Health Officers made a thorough
visit onsite. The Forest Service Incident Command and the
U.S. Attorney wanted the Utah Mass Gathering Act enforced. The
Agriculture Department (which oversees the Forest Service) wanted the
Forest Service to accept working with the local Health Officers as
sufficient for approval - and not demand the second Permit. The
U.S. Attorney and the Incident Commander went to the U.S. Attorney
General's office who put a conference call together with the Office of
the Secretary of Agriculture and the local officials. The local Health
Officers said they had determined the relevant law wasn't the Utah
Temporary Outdoor Mass Gathering Act but actually the Utah State
Camping Regulations, which have provisions for primitive camping and
primitive campgrounds. They'd already been onsite and made
inspections. And they were going to issue a permit. Nobody had
to sign it, or even make application. The Officer's signature is what
gives it effect.
The Authorization packet has its cover letter, a copy of my
application, and an 18 paragraph permit. Notice in paragraph 11 where
specific words are crossed out, and my crossings out are initialed by
the Acting District Ranger.
The signature and the exact words surrounding it are a very complex
piece of the machinery of this regulation. I think, looking back at
it, that there are several better alternatives to the way this was
done. For instance writing next to one's name "Self-designated
contact person, not an agent for anyone else"; or having one's
own name be the "Holder," so that the holder is named as an
individual, and not as a group; or...there are other alternatives.
Then there are Exhibits A and B.
Exhibit A is the Operating Plan. The F.S. issued it on their own, and
not as a separate document as we had discussed. Nor did the Forest
Service meet as planned with participants from the various parts and
functions of the gathering to design this in-the-field set of working
Although the Operating Plan was read out loud to everyone there and in
front of the video cameras, the process was in direct violation of the
Even though the things the Operating Plan asks for are (mostly) basic
camping health sense, resource protection sense, and traffic sense
(All things gatherings have lived with successfully over decades), it
was being attached to the Authorization in a way that differed from
all previous discussions because it was not worked thru with the
medical, parking, Shanti Sena, cleanup, etc., volunteers as the Forest
Service had agreed.
As a result, over and over the Forest Service came to me during the
event about issues that really needed to be discussed with Front Gate,
or Medical, or Kitchen people and expected me to act as an agent for
all these other folks and make decisions for them. Mostly I steered
Forest Service personnel to the others whose input and expertise is
what really counted. But I did talk with them over and over, and they
did attempt to treat me like I was in charge of everyone and
everything there. This is very dangerous ground. It is full of
pitfalls. I certainly made errors along the way just by speaking my
own views and having the F.S. treat that like an authority for
others. It is easy to think that a common sense answer is just a
common sense answer, but in this situation the Forest Service wanted
me to speak for others and make decisions for them. This is another
area to BE AWARE!
There were some specific changes in the Operating Plan text where I
put "Individuals Assembling" in the place of other
B is a section map of the site area, and a list of the technical
descriptions of those sections. I and others spent some considerable
time working out just which parts of the sections were to be
included. Because we were unsure at that early time just which far
areas would be used for overflow parking, the site description
15. June 22, 2003 PARKING AMENDMENT
It became clear that the overflow parking would be far better in one
area than in the other, so the Authorization was amended to delete one
area and to expand the other. As an additional attachment with that
came Information about The Paperwork Reduction Act, The Freedom of
Information Act, and the Privacy Act. Also issued was an "OMB
control number": 0596-0082.
16. June 24, 2003 DOG LEASHING ORDER
This controversial Forest Order was communicated to me verbally just
hours before the commencement of the foot plus snowfall that pounded
the community for the next three days. Immediately the Forest Service
LEOs began issuing warnings and then tickets for off-leash
dogs. Owners were ticketed, for example, if they set down a leash for
a moment while shouldering their backpack.
17. June 25, 2003 REQUEST FOR AMENDMENT
This handwritten document is a formal request for changes in the
permit. The idea is to use the permit as a means to negotiate
issues. The Forest Service perceives the permit as a a process of
granting permission, as from an owner to a user. The intention here is
to maintain my rights as an equal participant, with the full rights of
an equal partner in the process. The theme is continued throughout,
and may be the main benefit received from the "mere
signature." A court may review the Permit File and allow an
Applicant to impose terms and conditions upon the Forest Service based
on the record made here.
18. June 27, 2003 PARTIAL SUSPENSION AND ROAD CLOSURE
On the afternoon of June 25 there was an incident over the towing of
vehicles parked in delicate areas and which had already been warned to
move. This resulted in a meeting the next morning at Green Road with
Parking and Front Gate people, Shanti Sena, Info, Medical volunteers
and Utah State Patrol. Federal Marshals, Forest Service LEOs, and
Administrators, Incident Command, County Sheriffs and many interested
The Forest Service had convened three hundred enforcement officers
from throughout the area - local, state and federal. The permit signer
left the site at 4:00 am to speak with the Incident Commander at 6:00
am, who agreed to meet later that morning at Green Road. It is my
belief that without that sunrise conversation there would have been
three hundred officers storming the site, and no discussion.
Instead, there was an extensive conversation about the previous day's
incident. There was a process defined for people contacting each other
when incidents escalated, so that participants and peer group
communication could be effectively used in certain law enforcement
situations. The Summit County Sheriffs and the Colonel representing
the Utah State Police encouraged the Forest Service to utilize
communication with Shanti Sena as the best way to de-escalate tense
situations before they got out of hand. This was the accepted strategy
for future troublesome incidents.
Still the Forest Service presented a Partial Suspension and Road
Closure Order. This meant that one part of the permit was
suspended: the use of FS road #307, meaning the road was closed
effectively immediately at the Front Gate. People had to begin using
the outlying parking zones. On the one hand, the FS was suspending
part of the permit plan; on the other hand, closing the road and using
the outer parking lots was something that would have had to begin very
I explained that essential service vehicles could not be denied entry:
food supply, water cistern and water system supplies, ambulances,
handicapped vehicles, shuttles from the outer parking, etc., could not
be shut out legally. There was agreement to that.
People and officers toured the area of the previous day's conflict and
saw that it was clear of vehicles, and a safe place for the general
public, for the officers, and for participants. Then the outer parking
areas were opened, shuttles established and the Front Gate crew worked
with Forest Officers (in a mostly successful manner) at the Front Gate
to determine which vehicles had valid reasons for entry.
19. June 28, 2003 RESPONSE TO PARTIAL SUSPENSION
Their previous letter and Order of June 27 required a response
providing a "strategy" to ensure public
safety. This is that response.
20. June 28, 2003 SHUTTLE PARKING PLAN
The June 27th letter and order also required a plan for "compliance with [the order's] parking restrictions." It was becoming obvious to everyone observing the events surrounding these interactions that the Forest Service was coming to me personally for resolution of each issue, and not to the many different people who were doing the doings of the event. So here, a shuttle and parking front gate crew prepared this written version of a plan, and handed it over to the Rangers, who accepted it -- without me signing or even doing any more than watching from a distance. This plan worked well, and is an example of the improvements in process when the F.S. works with the People instead of trying to make a single signer responsible.
21. June 28, 2003 NOTICE OF NONCOMPLIANCE TO
This is the first of several of these notices. The Forest Service has
created a process for notifying a permit signer of various violations
of the permit. Their point of view is that all violations of laws and
regulations onsite are violations of the permit. Later, I will file a
similar notice (Doc.#32) about Forest Officer's violations of laws and
regulations which are also violations of the permit.
Notice in the third paragraph the references to "group
leaders" and similar phrases. I answer these references in a
future response. Also see the spreadsheet. That's a table they've
created to show the types of offenses, and the degree: Incident
Reports, Warnings, and Violation Notices (actual citations.)
22. June 29, 2003 CANCELLATION OF PARTIAL SUSPENSION
The front gate, traffic and parking were all working smoothly, and the
Forest Service canceled their Partial Suspension that had closed the
road (Documnt # 18, June 27, 2003, Partial Suspension.) Again the
method of making these changes is to amend or add to the Permit's
23. June 29, 2003 RESPONSE TO REQUEST FOR AMENDMENT
In this letter, my requests concerning dogs and horses (Document #17 ,
June 25, 2003) are denied. The discussions concerning the kitchens
near to moving water are continued.
24. July 2, 2003 NOTIFICATION OF NONCOMPLIANCE
ACTIVITIES TO U.S. FOREST
Again, the idea is to use the permit as a bilateral document - a
two-way street - to negotiate compliance with the Forest Service. To
this end so me success was achieved. This letter initiates a very
important process. That is, how to rein in offending officials who
under color of law are committing public dis-service.
The Notification Letter has two main parts. The first is a response to
their reference to "group leaders." (Document #21, June 28,
The second part concerns a particular Forest Service Special Agent,
who -- putting it in the kindliest terms -- had been over-zealous in
issuing citations. In fact this officer's actions were so unreasonable
that enormous social discord surrounded him again and again as he
choose to ticket people for the most unreasonable matters.
What's that called? Harassment. What's that called? Legalized
Injustice, if you ask me. But to the officer, it was just his way.
25. July 2, 2003 NOTIFICATION OF NONCOMPLIANCE TO
INDIVIDUALS ASSEMBLING #2.
This is a continuance and expansion of the Forest Service's
spreadsheet of minor violations (Document #21, June 28, 2003).
26. July 4, 2003 RESPONSE TO NOTIFICATION OF
Although dated the Fourth of July, this was actually given to me on
July 5, 2003. In it the Forest Service completely denies any
wrongdoing by the officer mentioned extensively in Document # 24.
At the same time the Incident Commander, and Special Agent In charge
agreed to "walk" the offending agent "with a superior
officer for instructional purposes," and to monitor his actions
and keep him out of trouble with the participants. The offending
agent's ticket writing campaign all but ceased. It's a case of police
bureaucracy defending their own, but correcting a problem.
27. July 9, 2003 NOTIFICATION OF NONCOMPLIANCE TO
INDIVIDUALS ASSEMBLING #3
This is the third and last of these spreadsheets summarizing the
participants' minor violations.
28. July 9, 2003 REHABILITATION PLAN
On the Ninth of July participants who were volunteering to work on the
Cleanup Crew met with the District Ranger and his resource
staff. There was a long friendly discussion about priorities and
processes. Several plans were set in motion at that meeting, and the
Forest Service handed out their version of a Rehabilitation Plan. This
was not addressed to me. There was an amended change made at the time
to Paragraph 18.
There are so many people who put out so much to make the cleanup work
so well. They are the ones who should get the credit... Forget the
paperhandlers. It's the tool handlers who really make it happen.
29. July 9, 2003 GARBAGE VEHICLE LETTER
At the cleanup meeting on July 9, 2003 there was discussion and
agreement about allowing entry and use of FS road #80804 for garbage
hauling. This letter was delivered that afternoon, to prevent
ticketing of that activity.
Again, it's hats off to those who bagged and carried the garbage, who
sorted the recycling, who loaded and unloaded the trucks. That's who
gets the honors.
30. August 26, 2003 CLEANUP LETTER REQUEST
The site was successfully cleaned up completely by June 28,
2003. There had been an Initial Walk-thru with resource personnel from
the Forest Service and then a Preliminary Walk-thru, and a Final
Walk-thru to observe progress and needs. The entire process of cleanup
went so smoothly. Everyone who helped deserves many thanks. Still the
Forest Service did not deliver the Cleanup Letter that had been a part
of the agreements since the very first letter in this whole chain of
events, and which was confirmed on videotape as part of our agreement
both at the May 8th Map Meeting, and at the Authorization signing. So
I wrote this formal letter requesting that they fulfill this important
part of the bargain. After all that work to restore the site so
beautifully -- and with agreements galore about this letter -- the
Forest Service is still finding some delays to deliver this thank you
to the Cleanup Crew.
31. August 26, 2003 CONTINUED RESPONSE TO REQUEST FOR
Continuing the effort to maintain an equal footing with the F.S. here
is a response to the Forest Service denial of my requests concerning
dogs and horses (Document#17, June 25, 2003 and Document # 23, June
32. SEPTEMBER 9, 2003 NOTICE OF NONCOMPLIANCE TO
U.S. FOREST SERVICE
Here I summarize numerous complaints brought to me by participants and
these are presented to the Forest Service as part of their permanent
record of the event. This matches in style the Notices of Violation
they issued to me. have divided the violations on the part of the
Forest Service into three categories: Constitutional Violations;
Statutory and Regulatory Violations and Violations of Professional
Public officers charged with administering expressive events must
abide by the laws of the land just as must participants in the
33. SEPTEMBER X?Y, 2003 CLEANUP LETTER
34. SEPTEMBER Q?Z, 2003 THANK YOU LETTER