Where in the Appalachian Bioregion are we going?

Where in the Appalachian Bioregion are we going? The consensus was for the White Mountain National Forest (in the Northeast), or the Appalachian states of Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia. Spring Council selected a site in North Eastern Tennessee.

If you're not familiar with the gauntlet on the road into the gathering, and want to avoid a mandatory court appearance ticket click here.

For the Howdy Folks and directions to the gathering, click here. For the United States Forest Service Incident Command website with groovy maps and updates, click here.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

On Creeks and Camping

People camped too close to the creek
Bad Tent Location - Too Close to Creek
(Photo from http://www.flickr.com/photos/meganpru/5914413517/)

You broke my heart in Washington. I have never seen so many people with so little consciousness for the sensitivity of creeks.  Creeks provide water for animals in the area and spawning grounds for fish.  Creeks are the heart of the ecosystem. Some years we use creek water for drinking and cooking (after boiling or filtering of course).  When folks disrespect the creek, they disrespect the land on which we gather as well as the heart of the gathering itself.

In many places, when silt gets into the creek it covers trout and salmon eggs preventing the fish from hatching.  Now not everyone was an unconscious as a cow, but there were enough of you fuckers out there to damage the creek.  By the 4th of July, the water that had been crystal clear grew murky.  People trampled up the banks. Dogs wrestled in the creek and dug along the creek. After every rainfall with exposed dirt, more mud and silt flows into the creek further damaging those beautiful creeks. Plus what ever gets spilled on the ground can seep through the soil into the creek when we are too close.

~~~Nothing is biodegradable in water.~~~

People camped in the woods, away from the creek.
Good Tent Location - In Woods away from Creek

Soil filters and decomposes soapy water, food scraps and urine.  We always need to make sure we keep all our waste far enough back from the creek so that the wonderful micro-organisms in the soil have the chance to do their magic.  It remains to be seen if we created short term minimal damage or long term lasting damage in Skookum Meadows.  We shouldn’t have created any damage.

My deepest and heartfelt thanks go out to the shining stars who made signs asking people to not camp along the creek. Family who went around and talked to people about why we don’t camp adjacent to creeks are my heroes. 

When we gather, we are visitors to the land. The plants and animals that live there year round are depending on us to tread lightly and leave the ground upon which we drummed and danced, ate and loved, in better shape than when we arrived. This, my friends, is the Rainbow way. 

Of course every site is different. The soil drainage and the type of creek varies ecosystem to ecosystem and the down-stream features indicate how close is too close. Different areas have different animals who need access to the creek for drinking purposes. If you’re too close, you’ll scare them off. A good rule of thumb is no camping within 50 feet of any creek or other surface water. No kitchens within 150 feet and 200 feet or more for shitters. Some sites will require a greater setback. If you come home, check in with INFO to learn the site specific considerations for each the current gathering.

One of the contributing factors to people’s ignorance in Washington was the lack of a Rap 107/701 with site specific information.  The down side to distributing pieces of paper on the way in is that they often contribute to cleanup headaches.  But the positive side of distributing a small Rap 107/701 with site specific information is that everyone will be given the 411 on the way in and can set up camp accordingly.  It’s a lot less hassle for everyone if people set up their tents away from the creek to begin with instead of being asked to move later.  And don’t get me started on Kitchens.  Last year I saw a kitchen set up five feet from the creek bank.  Even after folks mentioned the issue to them, they didn’t move. Sure would have made their gathering happier if they had the information before they even unloaded their car.
Sharing Music Along the Creek
(Photo from http://ashlandplayreviews.com/

Plus if you think about it, having open space along the creek for naked massage circles and music making is better for the energy of the gathering as a whole than having one person’s personal camp. And while I’m an on rant, please don’t camp in the meadows either. We need meadow space for counciling, workshops, sunbathing, etc. In Washington, main circle was too far away from Handicamp access to allow some of the early elders to participate in council and dinner circle.  The slope in the large meadow that folks filled up with tents was the original main circle location.

A gathering is not a festival. Please don’t camp on the grass.  Camp in the woods, under the trees, 50 feet back from a creek.

Be the consciousness you wish to see in this world!

Have no idea who took this, but it's awesome. 


  1. This year's lack of clarification on what state the gathering in is causing lots of trouble planning. If I knew it was going to be south, I could hike there on the trail... but with the possibility of VT remaining, I can't so much as plan where I'll be until a few weeks before the gathering. It'd be nice if we could come to a consensus on the actual state ahead of time.

    1. i have heard pretty definitive word that it will be south

    2. can u tell me where that info is coming from? I live right off the trail in Hamburg, PA. I'd like to just get on the trail and walk to the gathering if possible. Anyone out there with trail experience that can help me figure out when i should leave?

    3. Brother, it will be in the south. Cosmically speaking, it will be in the south. Practically speaking it will be in the south. Also, dirty kids will be at council, and i have heard personally that they will block NH (which was in the vision council, not VT).

      Point is, it will be in the south, and i've heard from those same lovable dirt kids that it will be either TN or KY, not GA or VA.
      So walk down the trail till you hit kentucky, and try to figure it out from there.
      As for when to leave, it all depends on how fast you walk : )

      Lovin' you, see you on the other side.

  2. Dear Karin,

    I am very much hoping to make it this year after an absence since NM. But my funds will be real tight and I am in a quandry where to fly into in the States from israel. Any recommendations as to where to book myself into?

    Thanks ever so much, Peace, Moish

  3. Hey Sister
    Great rap and one which should be shared with folks doing Gatherings anywhere in the world.
    I would like your consent to post this to the new Facebook Community page: Global Rainbow Gatherings of the tribes, which you may have seen as it is widely shared, with a very broad swipe of all the colors of the Rainbow. Enjoy seeing the page if you haven't already: https://www.facebook.com/GlobalRainbowGatheringsOfTheTribes

    Once again, great rap Sis.

    Walk in Peace
    Rainbow Hawk

    1. All information on this blog is available to be freely copied and share. All I ask is you don't pass it off as your own words.

  4. P.S. You can just post the link to the Community page and I will insert it into the main body of Groups/Communities/Gatherings-Events... posted. That way people will be able to go directly to this page from that one. It is a totally open network for all open groups/communities/tribal nations... and each aspect can be accessed directly from that page.
    It does not however include any "Closed"/"Hidden"/"Secret" pages or websites as we all see Rainbow as being as open as open can be.

    I think you'll like the new page.

    Rainbow Hawk

  5. LOL I think that you'll see from the new page that acknowledges are given to every aspect of it, along with a Welcome Home of course. And the link directly to all inserted pages, so folks have to come to this page if they wish to interact directly, though they can also just post a comment below whichever links they so chose to. I'm on that page because I do admin several groups/communities and my own Extended Circle of Friends is actively involved as well. I will take credit for what I do, but I also always give credit where credit is do.

  6. Beautiful piece, Karin- thank you! mcp

  7. great now if i can get by a camp, ill have to deal with bank camping leo, i have watched rivers all my life and each time it floods its comes back a little or a lot differnt, banks will be cleaned by mother. my opn.

  8. Karin,

    While I agree with almost everything you've said here, I must respectfully disagree with this statement: "A gathering is not a festival."

    The Gathering is different for everyone involved. To some it's a meeting of the minds to help learn from one another. To others it is an opportunity to spread the word of peace and generosity. To others it is a festival. A festival of love and joy and companionship.

    This mindset that some have (I'm not calling out anyone specifically here, I've just noticed this several times in recent weeks on the internet) of "these are the rules, abide by them, growl growl growl police police police snarl snarl snarl" needs to stop. It does nothing but push away people.

    Last year I attended my first Nationals in Washington and on day 2 of being there I was upset and angry with the way some people were acting, trying to police everyone.

    I'm 35 years old. I think it's safe to assume I already know how much water to have near my fire for an emergency or to not cut down live wood (honestly no one should be using dead wood either as that also provides homes to woodland creatures, and instead should be bringing wood from home). I go to Rainbow for a festival with my wife and children. We enjoy camping and what better place to do it than with those of the same mindset. To us it is a festival. One of companionship and sensible living.

    I agree with almost everything you've said here, but the mentality that some are developing (once again not calling out anyone specifically, just speaking in general) of "how" the gathering should be, or the asinine "rules" reek of Babylonian thought process.

    I came across one website (which I'll leave nameless), that instructs people how to specifically go about building there fires, boiling or filtering their water, what types of food to bring, ect. ect. This website doesn't do this with the thought in mind of "here are some good ideas". No, this website instructs people more along the lines of "this is how it's done". And to me, that's wrong.

    Rainbow Gathering means different things to everyone. And the sharing of different ideas helps us learn and grow. The elitist attitude of "do it this way because I say so" I can find anywhere else in Babylon. I certainly don't need to seek it out at our family gathering.

    As I said, I'm not calling you out (as I agree with you, especially on the river camping thing) or anyone else out specifically. Just saying we all need to practice a little more of "live and let live" and a lot less of "live how so and so instructs you to."

    Lovin you.

    (p.s. I've developed a blog at www.truestorybytruth.blogspot.com specifically about green living, camping tips, and gardening tips. I hope you'll check it out.)

    1. I think the reason there are "rules" is because not everyone is at all familiar with how to be safe ~ it might be their first time in the woods, period, or maybe its more like helpful advice to anyone who might not have every camped so far from their car for an extended period of time. It's less babylonian thought process and more like advice on how to have a safe and comfortable time...

  9. I believe a big issue in washington was the snow... people got there early and some of the only places to set tents were in the meadows, close to the streams. I know that the kitchen i was a part of made sure to be way back into the woods, and we suffered for it greatly. Our whole camp was surrounded by snow, under the canopy, it was freezing as all hell, and wet everywhere. Water runs were bitchingly hard, carrying seven gallons half a mile into the woods uphill. That being said, it was absolutely worth it to gather in harmony with mother earth. But i understand why some people took the easy way out. And many people didn't know any better.
    I think the key is early scouting. Making sure those on the land early know the raps, and set up properly so they can educate all those who arrive after. Once one person sets up by a creek, it's hard to stop anyone from doing so. In washington we had kitchens set up in the meadows, right next to the creeks. If a kitchen is near a creak, people will be near a creek. It is very very, very crucial not to camp near water. People don't go more than ten feet from their tent to piss in the mornings. We need to be ahead of the game. Do everything the right way before anyone has a chance to do it wrong.

    As always, loving all family, can't wait to make sweet campfire music down home.

  10. I forgot about NC. Might be in NC, but either way, definitely in the south.

  11. Thank you for the wonderful post Karin. It is my deep hope and prayer that the rainbow family be receptive to Karin's message of mutual responsibility. The learning curve for how to care for oneself, others, and the land can be truly challenging at a National Gathering (especially when there's snow). I'm beginning to understandable that different people will understandably have varying expectations of what is best. The question I'm struggling with is this: what can we do when others' visions of what a gathering is fall short of what we're morally comfortable with? I agree with "Craig &..." that bossiness and pushiness can make for bad time. However, when the water, the land, and sometimes peoples' dignity is being disrespected or damaged, how are we to react? I respect the right of others to act as they see fit. And I've had my heart broken as well: trying to "teach" family how to respect the land/water, only to be told that my input is not welcome. I do think that advance education is a powerful way to set the right tone early on in the gathering. Yet my real prayer is that as a family, we can open ourselves to the diversity and depth of our collective wisdom, and recognize when our actions are out of alignment with the earth. Om Ah Hung

  12. What a great makeover. I love all the little vintage touches. It looks like a miniature antique cottage!do you also know "We are using LED Lights from last 1 year and we are happy with its results and really it save much energy".

  13. Camping is one of the most inexpensive things to do with your family, yet it is more rewarding than other vacations.

    Camping Guide