LUCILE -- Idaho County officials are reporting the Rainbow Family of Living Light gathering, a counterculture community event, has settled in for its annual event, not up outside Powell as originally believed early this week but outside Lucile on Cow Creek Road.
The main event is expected to run July 1-7, with the main festivities set for July 4, according to Captain Jim Gorges, Idaho County Sheriff’s Office.
Typical events are in the 5,000 to 7,000 range for attendees, he said, “but this event could be considerably less than that, due to COVID, they’re being disorganized and fighting among themselves.”
Internal dissent between members and the group hierarchy have been split between not holding the event this year, due to COVID-19 concerns, and those going forward regardless.
The Rainbow Family is described as a loose-knit group of people without leadership or organization who gather on national forests to discuss political and environmental issues, pray for world peace, and celebrate life. Since 1972, the event has taken place on a different national forest during the Fourth of July holiday.
In a statement earlier this week from Henry Heusinkveld, public affairs officer, Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests:
“We are prepared to manage the event with a Type-III Incident Management Team (IMT) consisting of various resource and law enforcement specialists. We are communicating with local law enforcement, communities, and other agencies in communities that may be selected for the gathering to identify local concerns and needs that could be affected by a gathering of this size.”
“The Forest Service will keep affected communities informed as more information becomes available,” Heusinkveld continued. “Public safety, impacts to communities, and resource protection are our top priorities. The forest is taking into consideration the effects of COVID-19 on employees and the public.”
Agencies involved in monitoring the gathering’s activity include Idaho County, Forest Service and Idaho State Police.
Gorges said with this influx of people, the law enforcement concerns will be the use of illegal drugs, physical conflicts between participants, and potential petty theft incidents.
The Idaho County Free Press will be following this story as it develops.