All 6 Forest Supervisor's Orders (see below) regarding parking, campfires and camping restrictions along Forest Service Roads 87 (Flatwoods Rd.), 87-A, 87-D and 87-G and state road 421 are lifted.
A heavy thunderstorm hit the gathering area yesterday afternoon, July 5. There were no EMS requests or responses and no reported injuries related to this storm.
As of 8 a.m. on Friday July 6, 2012, attendance at the event has dropped to approximately 4,700 and vehicles have dropped 500 to 1,210. Buses remain at 28.
All Forest Visitors Must Obey Traffic Laws and Parking Regulations
All visitors to the Cherokee National Forest must obey traffic laws and parking regulations or risk being towed. Please use caution and observe all traffic signs, particularly along Forest Service Road 87, Flatwoods Road. This area is very congested due to the 2012 National Rainbow Family Gathering.
Was Your Vehicle Towed
If your vehicle is towed, please call the following towing companies to find your vehicle:
- ACP Towing 5027 Hwy. 126 Blountville, TN 37617 Ph. (423) 782-6333
- Bristol Wrecker Service, 301 Oak Rd., Bristol TN 37620 Ph. (423) 764-4016
- Carl’s East End Service Ctr. 101 Pennsylvania Ave. Bristol, TN 37620 Ph. (423) 764-2250
- Classic Towing, 2129 Volunteer Pkwy., Bristol TN 37620 Ph. (423) 750-6459
- Edgemont Wrecker Service, 1415 Shelby St., Bristol, TN 37620Ph. (423) 764-6751
- National Wrecker Service, 1101 5th St., Bristol TN 37620 Ph. (423) 968-5419
- Kingsport Towing, 2417 E. Stone Dr., Kingsport, TN 37660 Ph. (423) 782-9021
- RJ Reed Wrecker Service, 577 Piney Hill Rd., Bristol TN 37620 Ph. (423) 878-6728
To aid traffic flow, Forest Service Road 87D is open to one-way traffic only. Please use caution and observe all traffic signs.
Parking Prohibited on Paved Portion of Forest Service Road 87
Parking is prohibited on both sides of the paved portion of Forest Service Road 87 from State Road 421 to the Three Rocks Area, the entrance to Little Oak Campground. The road itself remains open. The Forest Service wants to avoid the risk of pavement being broken off by a high number of vehicles parking along the side of the road. This short-term closure will ensure long-term benefits to the local community.
Each year, a group of individuals known as the Rainbow Family of Living Light gather on a national forest. The annual gathering is advertised as being from July 1 - July 7 and can draw more than 10,000 people. Typically, thousands will be on site by late June and numerous people gathering will remain on site well after July 4. They describe themselves has having no leaders and no organization. People from all walks of life attend this annual event.
On June 10, 2012 the U.S. Forest Service learned that the 2012 Rainbow Family of Living Light would be conducting their national annual gathering on the Cherokee National Forest, Watauga Ranger District. On June 11, people began gathering off Forest Road 87 adjacent to South Holston Lake near the Little Oak Campground in Sullivan County, Tennessee.
The National Incident Management Team (NIMT) is operating under unified command.
- Incident Commanders: Scott J. McCormick (Law Enforcement and Investigations) and Terry Bowerman (Resources).
- Agency Administrator: Watauga District Ranger Don Palmer.
Six Supervisor’s Orders remain in place:
- Camping and campfires are prohibited in the area of the intersection of Forest Service Roads 87, 87A and 87D.
- Forest Service Road 87G is closed to parking and camping.
- Forest Service Road 87 is closed to parking on the lake side of South Holston Lake or in designated no parking areas on the non-lake side from US 421 to the Forest Service Boundary.
- No parking on both sides of Forest Service Road 87 D from Forest Service Road 87 to spur road 61171.
- Parking, camping and campfires are prohibited within 1000 feet of the intersection of Forest Service Road 87 (Flatwoods Road) and Forest Service Road 87G, the Three Rocks Area.
- Parking is prohibited on both sides of the paved portion of Forest Service Road 87 from State Road 421 to the Three Rocks Area, the entrance to Little Oak Campground.
Mobile Command Center
The Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office and Emergency Medical Services, as well as the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, have set up a Mobile Command Center at the Little Oak Campground, Cherokee National Forest.
Surrounding National Forest Sites
Little Oak Campground and Jacobs Creek Recreation Area remain open to the public. USFS personnel continue to encourage forest visitors to use Highway 421 to access them to avoid congestion on Forest Service Road 87, known as Flatwoods Road. For information about outdoor recreation on the Cherokee National Forest visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/cherokee/ for questions about the Watauga Ranger District call (423) 735-1500.
|Incident Type||Law Enforcement|
|Cause||2012 National Rainbow Family Of Living Light Gathering|
|Date of Origin||Monday June 11th, 2012 approx. 12:00 AM|
|Location||Watauga Ranger District, Cherokee National Forest|
|Temperature||hi 90 degrees|