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Rainbow Family Ordered to Vacate Plumas National Forest Amidst Concerns


The Rainbow Family, a loosely organized group known for annual gatherings in national forests, has been instructed to leave the Plumas National Forest in northeastern California to address environmental and safety concerns. Failure to comply could result in hefty fines.

Environmental Impact

The Forest Service, which manages federal lands, expressed concerns about the Rainbow Family's presence, citing negative impacts on the fragile ecosystem. The group's encampment, typically situated on remote and undeveloped land, has been linked to water pollution, soil erosion, and disturbance of wildlife habitat.

The Plumas National Forest, a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, boasts pristine lakes, lush meadows, and towering forests. The Forest Service emphasized the responsibility of preserving this natural beauty and minimizing human impact.

Safety Hazards

Aside from environmental concerns, the Rainbow Family's gathering has raised safety issues. The group's large influx of individuals, often numbering in the thousands, can strain local resources, including law enforcement and emergency services.

The unique nature of the Rainbow Family, with its decentralized leadership and emphasis on self-governance, has made it challenging for authorities to establish clear communication and enforce regulations. This has led to concerns about potential conflicts and safety breaches.

Legal Action

After repeated attempts to negotiate with the Rainbow Family, the Forest Service has resorted to legal action. A federal court has issued an order requiring the group to vacate the Plumas National Forest by July 11, 2024.

The order specifies that any individuals remaining in the forest after this date could face fines of up to $5,000 per violation per day. The Forest Service has stated that these measures are necessary to protect the forest and ensure public safety.

Rainbow Family's Response

In response to the order, the Rainbow Family has expressed disappointment and frustration. The group maintains that it respects the environment and has a deep connection to nature. They have also pointed out that their gatherings have been peaceful and respectful of the surrounding communities.

The Rainbow Family is considering its legal options, including an appeal of the court order. They have emphasized their commitment to finding an alternative gathering location that meets the Forest Service's concerns.

Ongoing Negotiations

Despite the legal action, negotiations between the Forest Service and the Rainbow Family are ongoing. Both parties are exploring the possibility of identifying a nearby location where the group can gather without causing significant environmental or safety impacts.

However, it remains unclear whether a suitable alternative will be found that satisfies both the Forest Service's regulatory responsibilities and the Rainbow Family's desire for a meaningful gathering experience.


The evacuation order issued for the Rainbow Family in the Plumas National Forest underscores the complex challenges of balancing the rights of individuals to gather on public lands with the need to protect the environment and ensure public safety.

The ongoing negotiations and legal proceedings will determine the future of this annual event and its impact on the surrounding forest and community. As the situation unfolds, it remains to be seen whether a mutually acceptable solution can be found that respects both the interests of the Rainbow Family and the integrity of the Plumas National Forest.

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