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Calaveras Sheriff Puts Forest Freedom Group On Notice

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San Andreas, CA – A group called the “Rainbow Family Gathering” has received a stern warning from the Calaveras County Sheriff: they are not allowed to break the law.

The annual Rainbow Gatherings are described on their website as “temporary, loosely knit communities of people who congregate in remote forests around the world with the stated intention of living a shared ideology of peace, harmony, freedom, and respect.” Calaveras Sheriff Rick DiBasilio has initiated a dialogue with the organizers to address concerns about their non-sanctioned and unpermitted gathering, scheduled to take place somewhere (the exact area is not named) in the Stanislaus National Forest between July 1 and 7. He has cautioned members of the group not to break the laws, warning that they will be arrested if they do so.

In the letter, the sheriff notes that previous gatherings have led to “creating dangers within the community” and “an escalation in criminal activities, environmental degradation, and abandoned vehicles.” He cited a forest service article from last year’s event at the White Mountain National Forest in Vermont, east of Burlington, which was held without a special use permit for noncommercial group use, a common group practice.

The issue at hand is the safe usage of federal forest service lands within Calaveras County. “Public safety, in conjunction with preserving the integrity of public lands from environmental damage, is paramount,” stated Sheriff DiBasilio. He advised that federal agencies will be “bestowed with state law enforcement authority within Calaveras County.” The sheriff added, “If the situation dictates, a large presence of law enforcement personnel will be made available throughout the duration of this event.” This includes local and federal environmental laws. Sheriff DiBasilio added, “This will ensue with a zero-tolerance stance.”

The letter ends with a warning that anyone breaking the laws will face consequences, stating, “These civil consequences will be directly related to any damages caused by unlawful activities associated with this event.”

Read the sheriff’s entire letter posted by clicking here.


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