End of the Rainbow: The Final Numbers on the Family's Gathering

The Rainbow Family gathering got plenty of local and national media coverage.
The Rainbow Family gathering got plenty of local and national media coverage. Denver7 via YouTube
The fiftieth-anniversary gathering of the Rainbow Family is officially over, but the U.S. Forest Service is still working with the group to clean up and rehabilitate the Adams Park area of Routt County's Hahns Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District, where the event took place.

In advance of the gathering, the feds had created a National Rainbow Incident Management Team, with around sixty law enforcement agents and Forest Service staffers assigned to handle the event. Thousands of people attended this year's gathering, and according to Forest Service estimates, they racked up 495 law enforcement actions including incident reports, written warnings, violation notices and arrests.

"These law enforcement actions ranged from inoperable vehicle equipment, damage to natural resources, narcotics possession and/or distribution, and interference with federal officers and assisting other cooperating law enforcement agencies," says Hilary Markin, the team's public information officer.

The numbers were down from last year's gathering, which resulted in approximately 600 law enforcement actions. Even so, Markin says that officers found large amounts of illegal drugs, particularly fentanyl, as well as LSD, heroin, methamphetamines, psychedelic mushrooms, cocaine and marijuana — which is legal in Colorado, but not on federal lands.

Law enforcement is still in the area, as are dozens of Rainbow Family members who committed to staying and helping to clean the area.

According to the Rainbow Family website, organizers met on July 7, the last day of the 2022 gathering, to determine the location of next year's event; that information has not yet been posted.
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Catie Cheshire is a staff writer at Westword. After getting her undergraduate degree at Regis University, she went to Arizona State University for a master's degree. She missed everything about Denver -- from the less-intense sun to the food, the scenery and even the bus system. Now she's reunited with Denver and writing news for Westword.
Contact: Catie Cheshire