Enforcement actions surpass 450 as Rainbow Gathering reaches 10,000 people on July 4

Cars, trucks, buses and vans fill a parking lot on Monday, July 4, 2022 as the Rainbow Family of Living Light holds its annual gathering in Adams Park. The event, which is slated to run until July 7, has drawn 10,000 people, according to a U.S. Forest Service spokesperson.
John F. Russell/ Steamboat Pilot & Today

As expected, the 50th anniversary of the Rainbow Family Gathering had an estimated attendance of 10,000 people on Monday, July 4, according to Hilary Markin, public information officer for the National Rainbow Incident Management Team.

There were about 9,100 people estimated to be there the day before and Markin anticipates a sharp decline in attendance since the largest day of the Gathering was Monday. 

As of Sunday, July 3, Forest Service Law Enforcement officers reported they conducted 451 enforcement actions. 

“For reference, last year’s Gathering resulted in approximately 600 enforcement actions taken,” Markin said. 

That number includes vehicle equipment, damage to natural resources, narcotics possession and/or distribution, interference with federal officers, and assisting other cooperating law enforcement agencies.

“This year, law enforcement officers are finding large amounts of illegal drugs coming into and at the Rainbow Gathering incident,” Markin said. “Of particular concern, is the large amount of fentanyl that has been found.”

In recent days, the Forest Service and Routt County Sheriff’s deputies partnered to confiscate about 75 grams of fentanyl, according to Sheriff Garrett Wiggins.

The Forest Service is charging the cases through federal court and no additional information could be provided about the cases, though, as the investigation is active and ongoing. 

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Additionally, law enforcement officers have found LSD, heroin, methamphetamines, psychedelic mushrooms, cocaine and marijuana. While marijuana is legal in Colorado, it is not legal on federal land, including Routt National Forest.

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