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Sunday, June 19, 2016

On Parking and Shuttles

Updated 6/20/16 2:30 PM Cali time

Since so many people have questions about shuttles and parking, I thought I would take the time to provide some basic information.

First off, I'm not on the land so I don't know what the parking/shuttle/handicapped parking scene is like today, but I've been to enough gatherings to know a few things about how this works.

Expect a dynamic situation. Especially in these early days, the situation is probably changing daily if not every few days.  Even when I get info, by the time you read it, things may have changed.

A key concept to understand is there are two forces at work here:
  • United States Forest Service (USFS) which controls where parking is legal and where it is not legal.
  • The gathering participants who do their best to communicate the parking logistics and who drive shuttles. 
Gathering participants are not organized in any traditional sense of the word.  If you don't understand what the gathering is and how it functions, read Carla's rap or go to the Welcome Home archive & hipstory and read.  The key concept to remember is that NO ONE IS IN CHARGE.  This means that people plug into different functions when they are so inclined and for as long as they are so inclined.


  • As of today (6/19) I'm guessing the situation is still fluid.
  • Normally all 4 wheels must be off the road when you park your car - however heard a rumor that may not be the case here. Check with the parking crew on site.
  • The USFS may change the parking requirements after you have parked your car. This means the "legal" parking place you selected when you arrived is now "illegal" and you may be subject to ticketing or towing. This is especially true in the early days but should all be sorted out by June 28 or 29.  To avoid getting towed, make sure you check in with "dinner circle" once it starts happening as announcements about parking changes will be made there. Also check in with INFO once they are set up as they will have info on parking and cars that have been towed.
  • At other gatherings I have been to, there has been a drop off point where you can drop off gear and passengers and then go park your car. I expect the same is true here. Please do not drop off your gear without a trusted friend to keep an eye on it. People can accidently or purposefully take a critical piece of your gear.  
  • Listen to what the parking crew is telling you to do. Parking crew can be tired and cranky but are always trying to help you avoid any legal problems. If you stop to unload, you better be quick or someone will be yelling at you to move on. Please be tolerant. Parking is a job many people don't choose to do so the few volunteers may have been up for 24 hours straight taking care of this critical function.
  • Rumor is there is no real bus village and no parking buses on the road.   Rumor is bus parking is in the town of Mt. Tabor population < 500.
  • If you can, please help out with parking.


  • The gathering does not provide shuttles. Individual gathering participants offer to drive or use their vehicles as shuttles.
  • Driving shuttle is a tiring and stressful endeavor. Please be kind to the shuttle drivers.
  • Shuttles consume gas. Either bring a few gallons of gas to donate or a few dollars to donate.
  • Shuttles come in all shapes and sizes from vans to pickup trucks and what ever else you can imagine. Please listen to the shuttle driver as the person driving will be up to date on the shifting parking scene. (see above). As to dogs on shuttles, that is up to the shuttle driver. I imagine most folks using a pickup to drive shuttle won't mind. Other types of vehicles could vary.
  • Don't let your gear get on a different shuttle than you. Stay with your gear at all times. Things get lost or occassionally walk off with someone else. 
  • Sometimes there will be a lot of shuttles running. Other times there won't be. Shuttle drivers stop when they have had enough or start when the spirit moves them to pitch in.
  • If you are young and abled bodied without children you may want to hike it and leave the shuttles for those who really need it. But again, the situation is fluid. So if the shuttle is half empty, hop on board. If there is a single mama with 3 small kids or an elderly person, please let them go first.   Think of how you would want people to treat your immediate family and treat your Rainbow family the same.
  • If you can, please help out with shuttles.

Handicapped Parking & Camping

  • Parking at this gathering will be tough and handicapped parking will be limited.
  • There may not be a handicapped live in vehicle area near the gathering.
  • If you are coming to stay, trying to drop the gear and person with mobility challenges at the trail head and then have a more abled bodied person go park and come back.
  • We are hoping a handicamp space will set up close to the road and an easy walk into the gathering, but if it does, it will be tent camping only.
  • Rumor is that Forest Service Road 31 is relatively wheelchair friendly.
  • Find the "snow mobile gate"  and ask the "welcome home" crew what is going on.
  • If you can't carry your gear, ask for "sherpas."  If someone is your sherpa, please stay with her/him and your gear unless you know them very well. See comments above.
  • The closer it gets to the 4th of July, the harder the handicapped parking situation will be.
  • Placards are usefully but not golden in getting into Handicapped parking areas.
  • We are a family. If you have mobility challenges, let the strong and healthy folks help you. If you are strong and healthy, please help those that need it. When we help our family we all benefit. Interdependence is the key.

Bus Parking

"Buses may also be parked in areas designated for vehicle parking to the extent they are parked in a manner that does not interfere with ingress/egress of normal vehicle traffic flow … Overflow and bus parking (which cannot comply with the prior parking standards) is available on the baseball field in the town of Mt Tabor …"

There are no facilities or water at the ball field. There is zero shade. The driveway is not marked at all. It is behind (west of) the back stop. If you miss it and just drive onto the field, there is a big drop off from the road (read: "CLIFF"!) and your vehicle risks destruction. Be sure to only enter this field from the driveway behind the back stop. 


  1. SERIOUS WARNING to big bus and RV drivers: (important to share with others coming to Vermont Gathering)

    Come in from the West at Mt Tabor turnoff from Hwy7 about halfway between Manchester and Rutland and do not try to take your rigs up the long steep narrow winding road the 7 miles to the gathering site as there are no places left there to park for big rigs and no safe place to even turn around!

    Tow trucks have been seen going up there yesterday and today at the vehicle owners' expense.

    There is a vehicle-eating ditch hidden by grasses at the edge of the pavement and gravel road all the way up.

    Instead, park at the designated Bus Village Parking lot 100 yards from that Brooklyn Road turnoff from Hwy7 about 50 feet past the railroad tracks.

    Slow down to a crawl at the railroad crossing so you don't miss the driveway on the left across the street from the gravel pile or you will miss the driveway on the left that is marked with a sign and green cordon tape but that only entrance is obscured from view by trees until you are right there.

    If you miss that turn there is no room to turn around until about half mile up the road on the right where the driveway to the Mount Tabor Town Office is big enough to back in and turn back down the road. If you are towing a vehicle and miss the turn to this lot you are pretty much screwed and likely will need to disconnect the trailer there and reconnect it after making that 3point turn at the Town Office.

    Try to arrive here in daylight so your rig can be carefully guided to park on the edges of this flower field and sensitive wildlife habitat to preserve as much as we can for the fireflies and wild turkeys nesting there, which also means all dogs must be completely controlled at all times, and on leash without fail when walking around! You know they will hunt those turkey chicks if they get loose to romp in the Meadow !

    Please keep completely away from the center of the far right outfield of this abandoned baseball field to protect the wildlife nesting grounds.

    When we guide you to your parking spot here, that will be your home until the gathering is over, absolutely no driving in and out during that time as the rigs will be packed in tightly around the tree line with a few feet on the side so you have space outside next to the trees.

    Individuals here have chipped in to rent portapotties here at the road edge just before the driveway as you come in, another marker to find the driveway as you come in.

    If you think someone is saving you a parking space up above, you will need to park temporarily someplace nearby before this lot and get a shuttle ride up to the site to confirm before taking the very serious risk of damage by driving your rig up there to check it out.

    Please share this very important and very serious warning to anyone you want to protect from a nightmare on the way Home.

    Bring lots of water because the only source here as of this morning is the adjacent creek water that you need to filter for drinking.

    Camp Almost Home,

    Welcome Homeplate,

    Overflow Bus Village Parking Crew


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