Modoc County Sheriff’s Office Prepares for Potential Return of Rainbow Gathering


The Modoc County Sheriff’s Office is preparing for the possible return of the Rainbow Gathering.

The Rainbow Gathering, a group formed in the early 1970s is described as a “loose-knit group” that meets annually, usually in remote forests, to escape modern society in a spirit of unity and peace. Participants sing, dance, cook, share experiences, and attend workshops.

This year, the South Warner Mountains in Modoc County have become one of three potential locations the group is considering. A final decision is expected when the Spring Council meets in the first two weeks of June. Washington and Oregon are also on the table.

Riddled with controversy, some say the group is peaceful and resourceful, respecting the lands they occupy, while others claim they have caused destruction and damage.

One of the critics is Modoc Sheriff Tex Dowdy, who has issued a notice to the organization affirming the department’s commitment to upholding justice. Dowdy highlighted the Rainbow Gathering’s last visit in 2004, where “some members… caused serious concerns and dangers within the community, including an increase in crime, environmental damage,” and the abandonment of vehicles.

Sheriff Dowdy set the tone by stating that the Sheriff’s Office and cooperating law enforcement agencies will have a strong presence before, during, and after the proposed event. He added that there will be a zero-tolerance stance to local public concerns, and emphasized that there will be civil consequences to address any damages caused by the large group.

In past events, up to 2,000 people have attended these Rainbow Gatherings. According to the

The Modoc National Forest says they will cooperate with the Sheriff’s Office if the event takes place, announcing that a National Incident Management Team will be assembled once the location has been announced.