Thursday, September 26, 2013

Rainbow Family gathering costs U.S. Forest Service $573,000 overall

Despite making only two arrests at the Rainbow Family gathering near Jackson this summer, the U.S. Forest Service spent nearly $400,000 on law enforcement and more than $500,000 overall. Along with an expenditure of $395,540 for law enforcement, the Forest Service spent $177,821 on the administration side of managing the event. The total cost for the U.S. Forest Service relating to the Rainbow gathering was $573,361. The gathering near Saginaw Creek in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest about 10 miles southwest of Jackson drew about 10,000 people. It officially ran from June 21-July 7, but Rainbow members were in the area for about a month. About 20,000 Rainbow people had gathered at the same site in 2000. In an email to The Montana Standard, Tim Walther, assistant special agent in charge of law enforcement for the Forest Service, wrote that the size and complexity of the Rainbow gathering exceeded the capacity of local Forest Service law enforcement personnel. He said that officers had to be brought in from around the country, which increased over time, travel, and lodging expenses. He also said the Forest Service had to be prepared for a crowd much larger than the 10,000 people that came this year, based on the amount of people who attended the 2000 gathering...more

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