Rainbow Gathering screenshot

The 2018 annual National Rainbow Gathering was held in the Chattahoochee National Forest in northern Georgia.

The Rainbow Family counterculture group will hold its 2020 national gathering in a location near Riggins, the U.S Forest Service announced Saturday.

After initially looking at locations in the upper Lochsa River basin, the group finally settled on an area near Forest Service Road 241 in the Race Creek drainage of the Salmon River Ranger District.

The annual Rainbow Family gathering attracts a loose-knit group of people from around the United States and other nations “to pursue social and spiritual activities and pray for world peace,” the Forest Services noted in a news release. “Crowds range from 2,000 to 10,000 forest visitors.”

“We understand there may be impacts to our community, our neighbors and other forest visitors,” Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest Supervisor Cheryl Probert said. “We’re working hard to minimize effects to our local communities and the environment. All visitors to the national forest are expected to obey federal, state and local laws and regulations, and we take the enforcement of these laws very seriously.”

The gathering is scheduled to coincide with the Fourth of July holiday, with the highest concentration of visitors during the first week in July. County and national forest roads in the Slate Creek area could see potential impacts, along with the communities of Grangeville and Riggins.

The Forest Service is mobilizing a national incident team with experience managing these types of events, which will work in conjunction with the Idaho County Sheriff’s Office, the Nez Perce Tribe and other local authorities.

Many longtime participants in the annual gatherings have vowed not to attend this year because of the coronavirus pandemic and are urging others to boycott it as well.

This article first published in the Lewiston Tribune.