An Unauthorized Hippie Gathering is Expected to Reach 10,000 People in Northern California this Week

An unauthorized noncommercial group event, known as the Rainbow Family Gathering, is taking place in the Plumas National Forest, approximately five miles north of the Antelope Lake Recreation Area. This annual gathering, which typically draws massive crowds, is expected to peak around the Fourth of July, with participants already arriving in the area.

The Rainbow Family, a loose-knit group of individuals from across the United States and other countries, has been holding these gatherings in national forests since 1972. This year’s event is anticipated to attract around 10,000 visitors.

“The Rainbow Family Gathering, known for attracting large crowds, has historically refused to complete the required permits for their event. We anticipate the arrival of 5,000–10,000 attendees by July 4th,” the sheriff’s office says in its release. “This influx will create substantial challenges, including environmental impact, and public safety issues.”

The USDA Forest Service has mobilized a national incident management team experienced in managing such large gatherings. The team is collaborating closely with local communities and law enforcement agencies to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved and to mitigate environmental impacts. Efforts include providing information to attendees and enforcing laws.

An event of this size can significantly impact traffic, local communities, resources, residents, and visitors. Local businesses should prepare for increased activity as Rainbow Family participants purchase supplies and food along their travel routes. Forest and local roads near the gathering site may become congested, and road closures or traffic detours are expected.

Due to regulation violations and the unauthorized nature of the event, the Plumas National Forest will hold a virtual public meeting on Tuesday to inform the public about the incident and upcoming closures. The Forest Service reported that the Rainbow Family established a camp within the forest on Monday, and their numbers quickly exceeded the allowable limit without a permit.

The Rainbow Family has not obtained the necessary special permit to host more than 75 people at their site, violating Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations. In response, the Forest Service has issued two closure orders for public safety and to protect natural resources:

  • Forest Order 05-11-02-24-01: Restricts traffic on Forest Road 28N15 to one-way to manage traffic flow and ensure an open roadway. It also closes Forest Roads 28N15A and 28N15B at the base of Red Peak.
  • Forest Order 05-11-02-24-02: Prohibits parking and leaving vehicles in posted areas on Forest Road 28N15 to ensure ingress and egress for public and emergency vehicles and to protect natural resources.

Violating these closure orders could result in fines exceeding $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations, imprisonment for up to six months, or both.

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