Coming soon to a National Forest near you:
Annual gathering of the Tribes of the Rainbow Family of Living Light
APRIL 4, 2019 — Each July 4 thousands of hippies, road-dogs, star children, Terrapins, Tennessee Jeds, and people from all walks of life gather annually to silently pray for world peace while camping on United States National Forest land. They have been creating this impromptu family reunion each year since the first gathering held in Colorado in 1972.
The Rainbow Family is a loose group of individuals who claim that no one person can speak for the group. Consensus determines every move the Rainbow Family makes. At the conclusion of last year’s gathering, held in the Chatahoochee National Forest, east of Chattanooga, Tennessee, the Rainbow Family of Living Light reached consensus and decided that once again the family will return to the Great Lakes for its July gathering.
This will be the Rainbow Family‘s first annual gathering held in the Western Great Lakes since the 2002 gathering in the Ottawa National Forest, near Bruce Crossing, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The Rainbow Family also held its 1983 annual gathering near Paynesville, Michigan in the Ottawa National Forest.
In 1990 the Rainbow Family gathering was held at Baker Lake, near Tofte, on Superior National Forest lands.
This year the gathering, it has been determined, will be held in either the Ottawa National Forest in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, or Chequamegon or Nicolet National Forests in Wisconsin or in the Superior or Chippewa National Forests in Minnesota.
Typically, the exact location of the national Rainbow Family gathering is not announced until a few days before it begins. Once the Rainbow Family winter gathering in Ocalla, Florida ends “Seed Camps” head to the National Forests around the area where the upcoming national gathering will be held and begin to scout for sites.
These groups, there will be several expected, will travel and camp across Western Great Lakes National Forest lands until consensus is reached upon a site that naturally has the resources, especially potable water, needed for a gathering of between 15,000 and 25,000 people.
The final site consensus usually comes in June as more and more people arrive in the area.
The Rainbow Family is known for adopting a zero-trace camping policy and Rainbow family members often stay on site, camping off grid, until the area of forest utilized for the gathering is spotlessly clean. Rainbows also return to previous gathering sites believing that their efforts on the land promoting world peace are positive and long lasting. Each return is an effort to promote healthy forests and clean living, Rainbow Family elders say.
Sometimes the Rainbow Family of Living Light falls short of its lofty goal of gathering and leaving no-trace. In 1990, one of the final Superior National Forest final review reports that when the gathering was over, and everyone had left, a piece of sheet plastic and part of a tarp were found discarded in the National Forest. In addition the report noted that splashes of hardened red candle wax was found upon a rock.