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North Georgia Forest Service Roads - National Rainbow Family Gathering?

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North Georgia Forest Service Roads - National Rainbow Family Gathering?

Old 06-14-18, 10:26 PM
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TimothyH
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North Georgia Forest Service Roads - National Rainbow Family Gathering?

I subscribe to National Forest email alerts and received this today.

Forest Service roads FS77 and FS83 on the Chattahoochee National Forest are temporarily closed for public safety due to traffic concerns related to the 2018 National Rainbow Family Gathering taking place in the area. FS77 is known as Winding Stair Gap Road, and FS83 leads to the Bull Mountain trailhead. Both are in the Nimblewill area of Lumpkin County. Please avoid these roads at this time.
I was thinking of riding the Southern Cross route this weekend or in the upcoming weeks but not sure now. Does anyone know what this event is and how long it lasts? More importantly, does anyone know what its impact might be and if the forest service will do a hard closure and prevent access or just gate off or barricade the road?

Maybe I'll just go to the Cohutta instead.


-Tim-
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Old 06-14-18, 10:49 PM
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See https://southappalachiangathering201...hering-be.html
According to the USFS the gathering is unauthorized and their land continues to be available to the general public. But the gathering may bring about 5000 - 10000 people to the area so there will be traffic and other impacts. Looks like the event runs from July 1st - 7th with a peak around the 4th.
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Old 06-14-18, 11:35 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
I was thinking of riding the Southern Cross route this weekend or in the upcoming weeks but not sure now. Does anyone know what this event is and how long it lasts?
It's a bunch of hippies. Plan to finish a day and camp there. At the very least, you'll almost certainly get a free meal and some people legitimately interested in your touring tales.
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Old 06-15-18, 07:54 AM
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I went to an event much like this for several years. Super fun, lots of "interesting" things to see and hear. I was rather surprised with the particular event I participated in just how clothes optional it was.
I think one of the single neatest things I saw was a micro bus setup with batteries and solar panels to supply the sound stage.
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Old 06-15-18, 08:14 AM
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Did a little research online. I'm glad they are praying for peace but they are seriously misguided on how to achieve it.

Large groups and significant use of NFS lands requires application, review and permit. Even a bike race in the national forest requires review and permit. This event was never listed on the proposed land use notices page. I'm sure the event is not allowed. 10,000 people digging trenches for latrines can't be good and my guess is that the national forest service closed the roads to discourage them.

10,000 people with a sound stage and kitchens and buses isn't why I go to the mountains anyway. I'm not going anywhere near it and will be in the Cohutta mountains.


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Last edited by TimothyH; 06-15-18 at 08:23 AM.
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Old 06-15-18, 12:08 PM
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Recieved this just now...

Rainbow Family national gathering to occur on the Chattahoochee National Forest
Forest Service and local authorities prepare to manage record crowds Gainesville, Ga. (June 15, 2018)

The Rainbow Family of Living Light has chosen a site on the Chattahoochee National Forest for its 2018 national gathering. The event will coincide with the Fourth of July holiday, and participants have already begun arriving. The forest will experience the highest concentration of visitors during the first week of July. They selected an area near Bull Mountain, just outside the community of Nimblewill, for their gathering.


The Rainbow Family is a loose-knit group of people from throughout the USA and other countries. Each summer they hold a national gathering to pursue social and spiritual activities and pray for world peace. Since 1972, the event has taken place on a different national forest each year. Crowds range from 2,000 to 10,000 forest visitors.


The USDA Forest Service manages the annual event in close coordination with state and local partners to protect the health and safety of everyone involved, and to lessen environmental impacts to the site by providing information and enforcing laws.
"We understand there may be impacts to our community, our neighbors and other forest visitors," Forest Supervisor Betty Jewett said. "We will work hard to minimize effects to our local communities and the environment. All national forest visitors are expected to obey federal, state and local laws and regulations, and we take the enforcement of these laws very seriously." The forest resource protection plan addresses concerns about health and safety, watershed protection, natural resource protection and rehabilitation of the event site before the group leaves.

The Forest Service is mobilizing a national incident management team with experience managing these types of events. The team is working in unified command with the Lumpkin County Sheriff's Office and other local authorities.
An event of this size can have significant impacts on traffic, communities, local resources, residents and visitors. Local businesses can expect to see large numbers of Rainbow Family participants visiting stores and buying food and supplies along routes to the gathering site.

Forest and county roads in the Nimblewill area are expected to become congested during the event and road closures and/or traffic detours may occur.
For more information or to sign up for email updates about the Rainbow Family national gathering, visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/conf/RainbowFamily.
Looks like the NFS is taking this seriously


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Old 06-15-18, 12:12 PM
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The one that I participated in was on private land near Cherry Hill. I think the guy that owned all the land passed on, and thus why it doesn't happen any more.
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Old 06-15-18, 03:50 PM
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Private land is one thing but this is public land.

Ten thousand or even two thousand people building a small city in the national forest for two weeks will cause significant damage, and long term too.

This can't be good.


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Old 06-18-18, 08:15 AM
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Received this Sunday, 6/17
Several temporary closures and restrictions are in place at Bull Mountain in the Nimblewill area of Lumpkin County for public safety related to the 2018 national gathering of the Rainbow Family of Living Light. This is an update to the road closure plan shared on June 15.

CLOSED TO ALL TRAFFIC:
  • FS77 (Winding Stair Gap Rd.) from FS28A to FS42
  • FS77A
  • FS877
  • FS141
  • FS141A
  • FS142
OPEN TO ALL TRAFFIC, NO PARKING ALLOWED:
  • FS28-1 from Nimblewill Church Road (126) to FS80
  • FS83 (Bull Mountain parking lot is open)
OPEN TO ALL TRAFFIC, PARKING ALLOWED ON RIGHT SIDE ONLY:
  • FS28B
  • FS77 (Winding Stair Gap Rd.) from FS28-1 to FS28A
Roadside parking along the right side of these designated parking routes must allow adequate access for through traffic. Access for emergency response is paramount. Be cautious as road shoulders may be narrow or soft. Do not block any gates. Violators will be towed. We appreciate your understanding as this situation evolves and we determine the best methods for keeping visitors, neighbors, partners and our employees safe. Please see signs posted in the area for more information, and stay tuned for further updates.
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Old 06-19-18, 08:14 AM
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@TimothyH
if you're on the Comet Saturday afternoon and see a dead-looking guy somewhere along the way, come say hi.
We have a group riding Weaver - Smyrna and back one day. I'm not doing that, but I do plan to try to make it to Dallas before turning back. I've never ridden the Rockmart-Dallas segment, so I'm going for it.
Not sure which bike I'll be on yet.

Any Dallas restaurant lunch mid-ride recommendations?

Last edited by Ex Pres; 06-19-18 at 08:19 AM.
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Old 06-19-18, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Ex Pres View Post
@TimothyH
if you're on the Comet Saturday afternoon and see a dead-looking guy somewhere along the way, come say hi.
We have a group riding Weaver - Smyrna and back one day. I'm not doing that, but I do plan to try to make it to Dallas before turning back. I've never ridden the Rockmart-Dallas segment, so I'm going for it.
Not sure which bike I'll be on yet.

Any Dallas restaurant lunch mid-ride recommendations?
Ah, I will have to miss you then. Going to confession and evening Mass so that I can ride in the Cohutta mountains on Sunday.

Rockmart to Dallas is easily the most interesting portion of the trail. Brushy Mountain Tunnel and Pumpkinvine Trestle stand out as obvious features.

Much of the area between Rockmart and Dallas is state Department of Natural Resources land, somewhat remote and there are surprisingly few services. Your last chance for water and snacks before the long stretch to Dallas is going to be the store stop at Coots Lake.

Downtown Dallas is quaint but I can't say I have eaten at any restaurants there. Your best bet is going to be the cluster of stores at the intersection of Highway 278 (Jimmy Campbell Pkwy) and Highway 61 (Villa Rica Highway). One half mile east of the Tara Drummond trailhead in Dallas is the trailhead at the Paulding Chamber of Commerce. Take the short trail east along highway 278 to the intersection for standard fast food restaurants including Zaxby's, Chick-Fil-A and Taco Bell, Quicktrip for coffee, Kroger, etc.

There is some kind of cafe near the Tara Drummond trailhead in Dallas, across Highway 278 but I don't know anything about it. There are plenty of places further east in Hiram including Olive Tree but I don't think you are going that far.

Again, surprisingly few services along the trail.


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Last edited by TimothyH; 06-19-18 at 10:42 AM.
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Old 07-08-18, 06:57 PM
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Received Friday, 7/6

Gainesville, Ga. (July 6, 2018) - Today, U.S. Forest Service officials issued a camping closure order between July 8 and July 15 for the area used by the Rainbow Family of Living Light (RFLL) for its 2018 national gathering. Trail users and other visitors may still access the area during the day. The RFLL began rehabilitating the site on the Chattahoochee National Forest, located near Bull Mountain, earlier today. Forest Service officials will evaluate the group's progress in the next few days and may extend the camping closure to allow for continued work. Trail users should exercise caution in the area until a final assessment is complete.

"Any time several thousand people concentrate in one area of the national forest, there are visible impacts to vegetation, soil and other natural resources," said District Ranger Andy Baker. "During the gathering, we worked hard to minimize effects to our local communities and the environment. Now that it is over, we are working with the participants to ensure that they pack out what they packed in and leave no trace for future visitors." Cleanup and restoration efforts include:

  • Trash removal, including abandoned camping supplies;
  • Taking apart and scattering any constructed feature like clay ovens;
  • Raking and loosening any compacted soil;
  • Rehabilitating user-created trails;
  • Removing constructed water crossings like bridges and stepping stones;
  • Eradicating any constructed dams or pools to allow streams to return to their natural flow; and
  • Covering latrines with soil and mound to account for settling over time.
Baker added, "We know the Jake and Bull trail system is very popular with visitors and is regularly maintained by dedicated volunteers. My intention is to make sure the area is left in a better condition than it was before the gathering."

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Old 07-09-18, 01:45 PM
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So long as the RFLL people are being genuine about doing the work required for rejuvenation of the area, I would (somewhat) call it an all fair.

Found some of the articles I came across elsewhere to be rather interesting/eye opening. In addition to the above referenced gear, clay stoves, bridges, etc. it appears there are also makeshift buildings, abandoned cars (which are actively being towed), and TONS of trash....900 citations, with just at 30 jailed (so far), and at least one murder so far.

Wow
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