Environmental Worries Surround Rainbow Gathering

Environmental Worries Surround Rainbow Gathering

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John Hollenhorst ReportingThe annual Rainbow gathering has been denounced by many environmentalists who say it's destructive to pristine national forest. For once they are in agreement with a rancher who says the Rainbows are having a devastating affect.

The Rainbows choose a different place each year, and announce the location just a few weeks in advance forcing government agencies and everybody else to just live with it.

Rancher Carl Larson is one of the unhappy bystanders. His huge flock of sheep is supposed to be heading up to the very same meadow where the Rainbows held their prayer circle today.

Larson's family has had federal grazing rights in that meadow for more half a century. His sheep are now at least 10 days behind schedule getting to their July feed, which may cause Larson substantial money in the long run. Beyond that he says the impact of thousands of people could last for years.

The Forest Service has tried to be flexible giving the Larson's sheep extra forage in other places, but Larson doesn't believe it will make up the difference.

He has another worry too--loose dogs that could kill sheep. At previous Rainbow gatherings dozens of Rainbow pets have been lost or simply abandoned when the Rainbows moved out.

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