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Rainbow Family gathering in Routt, not Grand, County

Participants at a 2006 Rainbow Gathering outside of Steamboat Springs.
Sandra Salvas/Courtesy Photo

The Rainbow Family of Living Light will have their 50th annual Rainbow Family Gathering in the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest at Adams Park, northeast of Craig, Colorado, from July 1-7. The council made the decision, announced in Facebook groups, at their Spring Council meeting June 13.

Colorado Rainbow Family members told Denver 7 in April that the Gathering would happen in Colorado. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first Rainbow Gathering, which took place at Strawberry Lake northeast of Granby. 

Grand County officials suspected the Rainbow Gathering could happen in the county this year, considering the tradition started here. Officials were preparing for that possibility while waiting for official word from the Rainbow Family.



The first Rainbow Gathering caused controversy in Grand County. The Middle Park Times ran a series of stories by John Bauer called “The Strawberry Lake Affair,” reporting on the Gathering from late June to mid-July. 

Originally, the Rainbow Family planned to gather in Aspen, Colorado, in 1972, Bauer wrote. Concerns about accommodating the expected turnout in Aspen led to participants going to Table Mountain instead, but when “nearly a hundred early arrivals” showed up at the Willow Creek Campground, the National Forest Service closed it and evicted the campers.



A 46-year-old Granby resident, Paul Geisendorfer, decided to let the Rainbow Family use two plots of land that his father, Lew, and a Denver real estate agent, Lewis Henry, owned near Granby. The Gathering used the smaller plot, just west of the Granby airport, as a staging and parking area. The larger plot, near Strawberry Lake, became the campsite.

Geisendorfer’s decision made some Granby residents upset. He was kicked out of Granby businesses, had his credit stopped and received death threats.


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