Expect delays

Rainbow Gathering traffic is projected to increase

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— As of Saturday, there were an estimated 5,000 to 7,000 people congregating in Big Red Park for the Rainbow gathering.

"As days go on, we anticipate more people migrating to the gathering, and essentially, we are there to enforce the traffic laws that pertain to everybody," said Gilbert Mares, public information officer for the Colorado State Patrol.

Officials are expecting an increase in traffic as the Fourth of July nears, and they are warning motorists that more law enforcement officers will be present.

"The Colorado State Patrol is strictly enforcing traffic laws pertaining to all motorists, visitors and local people alike," Mares said. "Safety is paramount on these stretches of road due to the large number of activities in Routt County this weekend."

The State Patrol saw a surprising decrease in activity at the Rainbow gathering Sunday, Mares said.

"It was somewhat quieter, and the day shift wasn't all that busy," he said." It rained up there, and I feel that the weather had a lot to do with it."

Forest Service officials will continue to issue violation notices to people entering the gathering because the Rainbow event is considered illegal. A special-use permit was not issued to the group because of high fire danger.

Forest Service advisers are providing information about fire safety, low-impact camping and protecting water and other natural resources. County and state officials also are discussing health and safety issues with participants.

-- To reach Allison Plean, call 871-4204

or e-mail aplean@steamboatpilot.com

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