Douglas Dupler: Give 'em a break

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The Forest Service's fuss about the Rainbow Gathering is unnecessary.

Every year, for a week or two, a group of peaceful and earth-loving people get together to celebrate the Fourth of July by praying for world peace and communing in nature. The land they temporarily camp on represents a miniscule area compared to the overall Forest Service land.

The Rainbow people show an admirable respect for the beauty and sacredness of the land, and afterward they work to restore the area to the original condition. For the rest of the year, on public lands, cows are allowed to graze, drillers can search for oil and corporations can cut the trees. Two weeks of camping by people in a small area does not make a dent, comparatively.

The Rainbows claim that it is every American's constitutional right to peacefully assemble on public land. For whatever reasons, the Forest Service opposes this and has instituted a Catch-22 regulation to stop the gathering. Given the recent show of force by the government, one could only hope that the Forest Service could be so active in other endeavors, such as reducing harmful logging, reporting on global-warming damage and protecting the last old-growth forests.

Douglas Dupler

Boulder

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