Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests closes camping area for rehabilitation

Contact(s): Steve Bekkerus, (770) 297-3043

Map of camping area closure from Puncheon Gap south to Jake Mountain

Rainbow Family national gathering concludes as cleanup crews begin work

Gainesville, Ga. (July 6, 2018) - Today, U.S. Forest Service officials issued a
camping closure order between July 8 and July 15 for the area used by the
Rainbow Family of Living Light (RFLL) for its 2018 national gathering
. Trail
users and other visitors may still access the area during the day.

The RFLL began rehabilitating the site on the Chattahoochee National Forest,
located near Bull Mountain, earlier today. Forest Service officials will evaluate
the group's progress in the next few days and may extend the camping closure
to allow for continued work. Trail users should exercise caution in the area until
a final assessment is complete.

"Any time several thousand people concentrate in one area of the national
forest, there are visible impacts to vegetation, soil and other natural
resources," said District Ranger Andy Baker. "During the gathering, we worked
hard to minimize effects to our local communities and the environment. Now
that it is over, we are working with the participants to ensure that they pack
out what they packed in and leave no trace for future visitors."

Cleanup and restoration efforts include:

  • Trash removal, including abandoned camping supplies;
  • Taking apart and scattering any constructed feature like clay ovens;
  • Raking and loosening any compacted soil;
  • Rehabilitating user-created trails;
  • Removing constructed water crossings like bridges and stepping stones;
  • Eradicating any constructed dams or pools to allow streams to return to
  • their natural flow; and
  • Covering latrines with soil and mound to account for settling over time.

Baker added, "We know the Jake and Bull trail system is very popular with
visitors and is regularly maintained by dedicated volunteers. My intention is to
make sure the area is left in a better condition than it was before the

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