|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.
|Good Tent Location - In Woods away from Creek |
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.
|Have no idea who took this, but it's awesome.|