John Day, Ore.- The U.S. Forest Service announced Friday The Rainbow Family of Living Light has chosen to hold its 2017 Annual Rainbow Gathering on the Malheur National Forest, on the Blue Mountain Ranger District.
The gathering site will be located at the Flagtail Meadow off of Forest Service Road 24 near the towns of John Day and Seneca, Oregon. The Rainbow Gathering could draw anywhere from 10,000 — 30,000 people.
Participants are already beginning to arrive and officials expect the attendance to peak the week of July 4th.
The Rainbow Family is a loose-knit group of people without leadership who participate in a national gathering once a year. Attendees come from across the country.
Since 1972, the event has taken place on a different national forest during a two-week period surrounding the Fourth of July holiday.
This year, people in the John Day area can expect significant impacts on local communities, natural resources, traffic, and visitors.
“We are working closely with the local community to raise awareness about the event and plan accordingly before the majority of participants arrive,” said Ryan Nehl, Agency Administrator and Malheur National Forest Deputy Forest Supervisor. “Ensuring public safety, minimizing impacts to local communities, and protecting natural resources will be our top priorities.”
Because of the magnitude of this event, the Forest Service has established an incident management team consisting of natural resource specialists, law enforcement officers, health and safety coordinators, and community liaisons. The incident management team is coordinating closely with county officials and law enforcement officers to provide for public safety and resource protection.