The 2004 North American Rainbow Gathering may be headed back to this area July 1-7. The Rainbow Family held its annual gathering in Modoc at Camp One in July, 1984.
This week the Rainbow Spring Council met at Dry Creek Campground to discuss the locations found by advance scouts this year. They were reportedly looking at Dismal Canyon (North Warners), Cold Springs (South Warners) and Ash Creek (Adin area) in this area and a site in the Humboldt-Toyaibe Forest in Nevada.
The Rainbow Gathering in 1984 went pretty much without any difficulty and the U.S. Forest Service said the gathering site, with about 20,000 people, was as clean or cleaner than before the gathering occurred. Local businesses also reported gains in sales and local law enforcement said there was no increase in crime reports.
From all reports and newspaper articles from 1984, the gathering was generally well accepted by the community, and in the end most people were pretty comfortable with the "hippie" invasion.
Modoc Supervisors, the Forest Service and local law enforcement had expressed serious concerns about 20,000 people coming to a week-long event in Modoc. However, none of their worst fears were realized. And they agreed the gathering left Camp One in great shape. In addition, the roads and trails leading into the camp were cleaned of trash (a lot of Modoc's empty beer cans were picked up) and the Rainbow Family's self policing efforts were very successful.
Most merchants in Alturas reported an increase in sales and few problems. Walt's Market, for instance, reported selling a record 900 pounds of watermelons that week, mostly to the Rainbow Gathering.
U.S. Forest Service personnel met with the scout council this week. The Forest Service, on a national basis is now treating the gathering as an annual major event and has a team designated to provide support for local forest personnel.
The Rainbow Family has been holding the communal gathering in different locations since 1972. It is not a classical organization and rather is a loose organization of people, with no single leader or group of leaders. On July 4, the Family has a traditional silent Circle of Peace, of about 20,000 people, and pray for world peace at the campsite. The circle starts at sunrise and ends around "Rainbow" noon.Copyright Modoc County Record.