We Love You

Click here to find out where the gathering will be.
Click here to find out how to get into the gathering without receiving a mandatory court appearance ticket. (check the right hand side of the page)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Scouting 101

As with all things Rainbow, no experience is necessary to participate and new blood is always needed.

Fall is the perfect time to go check out those spots in the consented to areas and see what they look like on the ground. It's hard to find sites for the Annual Gathering and it's important we use our collective wisdom in site selection.  If you Facebook and want to get plugged into technical discussions on using on-line mapping tools or ask other people who have scouted if a particular site has been looked at, email me and I'll get you plugged into the FB page for scouting discussions.

If you've never been scouting, here's my short list of how to scout (based on the collective wisdom that has been shared with me and my own hands on experience).  We generally gather on lands managed by the United States Forest Service (USFS) but some areas of the country do have good land managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

We don't gather in federally designated wilderness areas, national park, or national monuments as these areas are not compatible with our needs due to one of the following reasons:  no cars, focus on protecting wild life and land, need to preserve sensitive ecosystems, and entrance fees to name but a few. If you are looking at state or county owned land, then you will also have to research regulations,  laws, and permit requirements regarding gatherings on these lands.

Here's are the basic steps:

Step 1) Pick a gathering or gatherings that you personally attended.
Step 2) Find those gathering sites on a topo map. I was taught to use 7 minute maps. Many university libraries have good collections of topo maps. Or visit topo zone maps online. There are many on-line mapping tools these days so feel free to use what works best for you.
Step 3) Once you find the topo map, correlate the parking lots, kitchens, main circle, and various camps you remember with spots on the topo map so that in your head you can see a gathering on a map.
Step 4) Pick a national forest or area under BLM management that you feel would be appropriate for a gathering - if you're planning on  scouting for the annual gathering in 2016, we're looking in the
public lands of the White and Green Mountains National Forests in the states of Vermont, Maine or New Hampshire.
Step 5) Look at the topo maps for that area. Try to find a site that has the qualities you liked about the previous gatherings you've attended. Some of my personal favorite features are a good hike in at least 1 mile, closer to 2 if it's an easy hike because I feel that the harder it is to get into a site, the more committed people are to staying and creating gathering reality. For a large gathering, having a main meadow and a couple of separate smaller meadows is a good thing, water is of course necessary. Places to hike away from the main part of the gathering for people wanting to get away. Two roads in and out to the gathering site (Front Gate/Back Gate). No roads into the gathering site proper or the cops will drive into the heart of our gathering. Places to park cars where the plants can handle it.
Step 6) Make sure the site is far away from civilization to minimize gatherer/non-gatherer conflicts and frequent runs into town.
Step 7) Go out and walk the site and see if it has what the maps showed and the above mentioned features, if it's workable and if it has the magic. In my experience, if you have done you're homework on five sites, maybe one is workable as there are always issues that don't reveal themselves until you are on the land.
Step 8) If you found a site in Step 7, research environmentally sensitive habitat in the area, endangered species, private property and water rights. Check for ranchers who may have permits for grazing during the gathering. If nothing turns up, we may have a winner. You'll want to bring all your info to discuss further with more experienced scouts. If you don't know how to plug into that effort, reach out to me (see link above) and I'll plug you in.

Thanks to all my family who are spending time and money scouting for this gathering! We Love You!

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