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Rainbows and
in Cattle Country

Story and photos
by Tom Daubert
What happens when 22,000 nonconformists decide to use a public land grazing allotment as their campground? News articles predicted conflicts, serious environmental impacts, problems with rule-breaking panhandlers. The Forest Service sent an “incident management team,” with a $500,000 budget, to coordinate government response. The Governor declared an emergency, making the county eligible for state financial support, and the county imposed an extra tax to qualify for the money. Highway patrol were dispatched; anger was building in cattle country.

Tiny Jackson, Mont., and Saginaw Meadows in the hills outside the city were the destination points for the month-long 29th annual “National Gathering” of the Rainbow Family of Living Light. Find out how the community, the land, and rancher Harold Peterson were impacted by the thrngs of visitors and their 6,000 cars, and what the federal agents who came to keep the peace had to say....

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ABOVE: Tie-dyed clothing and camp banners abounded at the Rainbow Gathering 2000.
TOP:Giant Saginaw Meadows, usually a home solely to cattle and wildlife, became the center of a month-long gathering of the Rainbow Family. At dawn on the 4th of July, tens of thousands of participants held hands and solemnly and silently created a half-square-mile circle that snaked around hills and surrounded the main meadow.



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