Rainbow Family Gathering in the Kilkennies Fourth of July

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peakbagger

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Probably a bad time to plan hikes up in the Kilkenny area (Mt Cabot, Horn, Unknown Pond, Rogers Ledge). Its not a discreet date, so folks will start arriving day before and then taper off.

https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/whitemountain/landmanagement/?cid=FSEPRD1114016
Not sure exactly where they will end up. Most drive to the location from all over and usually the spots selected are off of National Forest fire roads usually near areas with open spots like recently logged areas. I could guess, Bog Dam Loop road or off of Mill Brook road to the north?. The bummer is the reputation is Leave No Trace is not typically followed and with no one in charge, its usually requires a major clean up effort after the event despite some folks in the group trying to minimize the impact. As the press release indicates, the FS regards these as major incidents and one approach is to choke off access.

I do not know the last time there was one in the WMNF, I think there was one long ago at the end of Sawyer River road.
 
BTW, I found a better location for the event which is apparently off of York Pond Road on Bog Dam Loop Road. The state will probably close the gate at York Pond to control access to the Fish Hatchery and the trailheads beyond.

Edited with more info
 
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Well this ruins my vacation. It's like Woodstock meets mass and Cass. I was hoping we wouldn't see them up here ever. I was planning to spend the week before the 4th in the kilkenny/pos area and it looks like USFS will be closing the area to non participants.

Map available on the USFS site, looks like they'll be at the north end of pond of Safety road, exactly where I was planning to camp.
 
They were in Bethlehem a few years ago off Trudeau Road and were somewhat welcomed by us locals, no big impact. The holiday tourist crowd has a much worse impact, unless you own a business that benefits.

I wonder if the USFS will activate their Incident Response Team to deal with the negative impacts of holiday weekend crowds, as I suspect the negative impacts of many of this user group would be greater?
 
It is actually the south end (from a fellow directionally challenged hiker). The interesting part is the Pond of Safety inclusion, unless the fire road past the pond has been improved from its prior snowmobile path status, it was not suitable except for off road vehicles. Interesting that the purpose of the road closure is "road maintenance" If folks have to walk in I guess it will cuts down on the crowds.

The big problem in the past is that since there is no official organization, there are no official participants so how can the FS exclude or allow in anyone?.

At least you got some notice, normally the group members move in advance to stake out a claim and start setting up. The store in West Milan will appreciate the business. I think recent improvements to cell coverage to the ATV park in Jericho will improve cell quality down on the loop as it used to be a dead zone.
 
That was a regional gathering consisting of about 100-200 people. The crowd for the national one is estimated to draw 100x that.
 
It is actually the south end (from a fellow directionally challenged hiker). The interesting part is the Pond of Safety inclusion, unless the fire road past the pond has been improved from its prior snowmobile path status, it was not suitable except for off road vehicles. Interesting that the purpose of the road closure is "road maintenance" If folks have to walk in I guess it will cuts down on the crowds.

The big problem in the past is that since there is no official organization, there are no official participants so how can the FS exclude or allow in anyone?.

At least you got some notice, normally the group members move in advance to stake out a claim and start setting up. The store in West Milan will appreciate the business. I think recent improvements to cell coverage to the ATV park in Jericho will improve cell quality down on the loop as it used to be a dead zone.
The map in the USFS documents shows the site as the north end of POSR where it used to intersect KLR, but I can't get the official closure orders to load. If you can post the text here that would be appreciated. POSR is gated a ways past the pond and maintained as a mountain bike trail in the summer.

Screenshot_20230617_102926_Adobe Acrobat.jpg

Edit: got it to load. It almost seems like the road closure is unrelated. The road could definitely use the maintenance and the order is through the fall. It's the only FS road I actually air down on.
 
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Okay north end of pond of Safety south end of Bog Dam loop. I agree that PDF was a bear to download, I dont know what is slowing it down but it took forever and is slow to navigate. The map in the order is not great, looks to me that this popped up on their radar very recently and they wanted to get something on the books.

I think the whole rainbow movement has its ups and downs over the years, I think the original supporters are now aging out and various folks have attempted to keep it going.
 
I arrived at Big Sandy Opening trailhead for lake sediment coring in Temple Lake valley and rock climbing in Cirque of the Towers in the southern Wind River Range of Wyoming soon after the Rainbow Family Gathering had pulled up stakes along the gravel road on USFS land in July 1984. It appeared that the impromptu campsites extended along the road for several miles, and there was a huge arched welcome sign still standing, as clean up was barely underway. One of the USFS rangers told us that we had just missed a “real spectacle,” noting that there were over 5000 attendees.
 
Being an introvert and all, I think I'll pass on this gathering all together. The only peaks I need for now in the North are Sugarloaf (Groveton) and Maggaloway. Groups like this are smart to pick fairly remote sites, they can do their thing and be left too it. As far as that Donald Lopez, he's scarier than that whole group put together.
 
I make it a point not to go anywhere remotely popular on July 4 weekend. It’s a good time to go somewhere that is remote and uninteresting to the typical July 4th weekend outdoor partier. That eliminates pretty much all the high peaks and certainly the Presis and major notches.
 
WMUR did a short clip New Hampshire, federal officials issue warning ahead of gathering in White Mountain National Forest Interesting that it was Gorham EMS that put out a notice regarding the event. There is no way to bypass the intersection of RT 16 north and RT 2 to head north so the majority of the Rainbow folks will be heading through one intersection that usually gets backed up fourth of July week due to the various events occurring in Gorham for several days prior to the Fourth of July. Add in the ATVs that can run on main road of Gorham and all of Berlin and it will be an interesting traffic situation.

RT 2 East and West and RT 16 south do have the option of taking Pinkham B road around town but it is definitely not suitable for large trucks and semis but I and a lot of other local folks on the east of town use it to avoid the main street of Gorham. With Market Baskets imminent opening in North Conway, I expect there will be steady stream of traffic heading there from now on ;) (Walmart Gorham's grocery store is pretty bad even for a Walmart one step above a Dollar General)

Note, York Pond road also can be approached from the north from Groveton on RT 110 and RT 3 but I think most folks will come in from the south. No matter what, I expect the state and local police will be keeping a close eye on the area, although given the holiday week they are going to be dealing with issues all over. The Jericho ATV fests in the past have gotten this size but are far better organized and coordinate with the various agencies in advance. They use satellite parking lots and buses to move folks into and out of the site.
 
Thankfully most driving directions from the south that don't begin in eastern MA send people up 91 and through Stark.
 
The interesting part is the Pond of Safety inclusion, unless the fire road past the pond has been improved from its prior snowmobile path status, it was not suitable except for off road vehicles. Interesting that the purpose of the road closure is "road maintenance" If folks have to walk in I guess it will cuts down on the crowds.

I walked from Kilkenny / Bog Dam Road up to Pond of Safety a couple years ago. I wouldn't say it was suitable for anything except snowmobiles. With all the wet weather recently, good luck to any wheeled vehicle.

I just can't picture a gaggle of converted school buses trying to navigate the Loop.
 
Here are the directions as posted on their Facebook page.
 

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