Thursday, May 28, 2009

Second Scout Council


Dear Family,

The second Scout Council as discussed and consensed at Thanksgiving Council '08 will take place June 3rd and 4th, 2009 at the Clear Creek primitive (unimproved) camping area. This is an easy access location with good parking and good water and no built-up facilities.

Scouts will be meeting to discuss what they have found and to announce a location for the Spring Council which is scheduled for June 10th.

Directions: Take New Mexico State Road 126 from where it tees out of US Highway 550 (Near Cuba, NM), go East approx 11 miles until you come to Clear Creek Road, which has a marker sign pointing toward the San Gregario Trail and San Pedro Parks. Go North on this road approx one-half mile and you will see the Clear Creek primitive camping area on your right.

Along State Road 126 if you come to the improved Clear Creek Campground, you have gone too far.

Peace, Love, Freedom and Safe Travels...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Tips from a Brother in Flagstaff

A good number of folks will likely be coming thru Flagstaff on I -40 heading east, I would offer the following info: As per your posts on fire conditions in SOCAL, and the Gila; its bone dry heading thru Flagstaff as well.

Avoid fires unless absolutely necessary here as well. There's lots of camping here but virtually no water available. An earlier post mentioned Sante Fe and Albuquerque as likely major provisioning points for New Mexico. For folks coming thru Flagstaff from the west, there is a brand new "New Frontiers" about 1 mile west of the trafiic light at the Butler Street exit of I-40. They have your organic everything, veges, bulk grains, juice, coffee, etc. The only downer about this place is its right next door to the cop shop and jail.

There is also a Farmers Market on 4th Street. There is a large rest area at about milepost 182-184 on I-40 eastbound between Williams and Flagstaff. Good for a pitstop with potty and water, however there's no overnights. Everyone should be aware that both sides of Flagstaff on I-40 are patrolled heavily for smugglers. I can field other questions about passing thru N. AZ. Email Star for more info.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Poem For Peace

Linda Hogan is one of our greatest living American writers. If you haven't read her work, get thee to the library and read. To help get our energy focused for New Mexico here is her amazing poem of Peace and Corn.

***Reprinted without permission***

Cornmeal and pollen are offered to the sun at dawn.
The ears of the corn are listening and waiting.
They want peace.
The stalks of the corn want clean water, sun that is in its full clean shining.
The leaves of the corn want good Earth.
The Earth wants peace.
The birds who eat the corn do not want poisons.
Nothing wants to suffer.
The wind does not want to carry stories of death.

- Linda Hogan

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Rainbow Rumor Mill

We've kicked into high gear on the Rainbow rumor mill. I myself have to remember to verify information before distributing it in order to ensure I'm sharing accurate info. I recommend you verify any rumors you hear from multiple sources so you don't drive hundreds of miles out of your way.

Scouting is on going in New Mexico. We should have directions to Spring Council (starts on June 10) towards the end of the first week of June. Scouting is happening and sounds like there is a great crew out and about doing awesome work. Thank you family!

Now would be the perfect time to fix your camping equipment, make sure your car is 100% legal and you have a licensed and insured driver. Don't ignore any detail. Last year, the Forest Service wrote mandatory court appearance tickets for beads hanging from rear view mirrors and broken turn signals. So unless you like the Forest Service Monkey Court game, get those cars in tip top shape and avoid a trip to town.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Circles Are Good

Bosnia - 2007

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Federal Recreation Access Tax (RAT) or Pay to Hike the Backcountry

Currently, both Congress and the Senate are taking steps to re-evaluate RAT and opefully repeal it. If you're not up to speed on what I'm talking about, keep reading - the explanation is at the bottom. Otherwise, I have two actions you can take now.

********#1 HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES**********************

"The U.S. House of Representatives has decided to take a serious look at the much-criticized implementation, if not over-implementation, of the Federal Lands Recreational Enhancement Act (FLREA), This is the law that has saddled us the pandemic of new and ever-increasing recreation fees to enter and use our public lands, which is why it’s called RAT, for Recreation Access Tax, by its distracters." Read the rest of the article

The public can submit written testimony for the hearing record until July 2. Send testimony as email attachments to with a cc to

********#2 SENATE**************
Senate Bill 868, the Baucus-Crapo bill is entitled, Fee Repeal and Expanded Access Act of 2007. The bill's major objectives:

* Repeal the FLREA
* Reinstate the fee authorities established by the Land and Water Conservation Act
* Reinstate the National Parks Pass system
* Cap the amount that can be charged for entrance to national parks.
For more info on the senate bill or this article.

Call or write both your senators today and ask them to support Senate Bill 868.

Contact info for all US Senators.

*************BACKGROUND INFO************************

For those of you who haven't followed the play by play on this issue, it started more than 10 years ago as a pilot project to charge people to hike on our public land -- not just developed campgrounds, but remote areas as well. Then Alaska Senator Ted Stevens traded the infamous "Road to Nowhere" for an Ohio Congressman's slight of hand that embedded legisltation making this tax permanent into the Omnibus Appropriations Bill with no congressional hearings about 5 years ago. For more info on the history of RAT, visit Western Slope No Fee Coalition or Wild Wilderness. The primary goal of RAT is for public/private partnerships to develop "enhanced recreational opportunities" on our public lands and was sponsored by the likes of Disney and Suzuki. (think golf courses and hotels)

PLEASE take the time to do this now.

Please forward this information to all your lists (don't forget people who are allied with us on this issue but perhaps not other issues - like the off road vehicle community in your area).

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Health and Hand Washing

One thing that goes a long way to keeping folks at a gathering healthy and safe is washing hands - a lot. And I don't mean just rubbing your hands with sanitizer, but actual biodegradable soap (Dr. Bronner's is great) and filtered or boiled water. Some awesome Rainbow engineers have designed a hand wash station that's transportable and light weight. One goal of a Rainbow handwash station is to make it hands free, so no one picks up germs in the process of washing their hands. (A smaller setup of this same type can be used for soap dispensing). If you're not up to speed on drinking water issues, Hawker has a great website showing what he's done in the past and discussing issues in greater depth.

Here's a great drawing of what I'll explain in words below. Thanks TimBear.

"From our experience, the primer bulb check valve can fail if the water gets trash in it. The solution we found was a small piece of filter material (like the filter from a wet vac) or fine mesh screening (a couple of layers of panty hose) around the end of the water intake. The pvc pipe allows you to direct the water where you want it, even if there is no tree where you want the water." - TimBear's words, not mine.

The key is a one way syphon valve. It's made of rubber and can be squeezed by hand. Each end has a place to clamp hose onto. I usually get them at my local Marine supply store. Hook it up to some clear plastic tubing - one end to go into a bucket of filtered water. It looks like this:

The other end should be fastened somewhere (if not using TimBear's Pipe method) and hopefully have a drain system so people aren't standing around in gray water. To conserve water, get spare sun shower nozzles and put it on the end. These are $1-2 each from a camping supply store. They work great for the "faucet" end. Here is a photo of one.

Then to wash hands, all people need to do is pump the black syphon ball with their feet, and water comes out the shower nozzle. Portable hands free hand washing.

I also like to make a sink. I've been using a plastic bowl in a round tomato cage. Then drill a hole in the bottom and put in a connector so you can clamp a discharge pipe and run the waste water into a gray water pit. WARNING! HIPPIES CAN BE DUMB. Every time I use my sink setup, someone thinks we should recycle the gray water by putting it back into the fresh water container. THIS IS UNSANITARY AND IS WORSE THAN NOT WASHING YOUR HANDS AT ALL. So if you use a sink, please make a sign telling people that the drain DOES NOT go into the water source.

I'll be bringing a few extra setups to give out - but we needs lots of them. If someone(s) are looking for a great public service project for this year's gathering, here's a great one. Let's make sure we have enough hand washing stations scattered around the gathering so that people can't help but wash their hands at least twice a day.

Clean hands creates a healthy gathering.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

On Operating Plans and the USFS

There are a couple of important lessons I learned from the way the operating plan movie played out in Arkansas in 2007 and in Wyoming in 2008, so I'll share them.

In Arkansas 2007, the USFS wrote an operating plan, gave it to one gathering participant, who said it was fine. From that point on, the USFS considered it set and stone and refused to make any changes. Other gathering participants were unable to obtain copies of said operating plan for quite some time - maybe until June 27 or 28?? I don't remember exactly.

However, we did circle with the USFS daily at the cooperations space adjacent to Info and immediately following kitchen council. This arrangement worked out well for a couple of reasons. Focalizers from various kitchens came for the kitchen council and stayed for the USFS circle. They were then able to share diverse opinions on various topics, take information back to their kitchens and camps, and share it.

In Wyoming 2008, the first day of the operating plan discussion started on a bad foot. First, the date we were given by a USFS employee was the wrong date. So after people spending an entire day walking the gathering and sharing the date, time and location of the first USFS circle on this issue, the USFS weren't there that day - although we had a great turnout.

The USFS picked the location of the ongoing discussions and refused to alter it despite many discussions and requests to relocate to a spot adjacent to INFO. Unfortunately, the location picked by the USFS was at Welcome Home. The first circle with the USFS was well attended, but as time went on, fewer and fewer people were willing to hike from the gathering to welcome home. I suck at estimating mileage, but I'm guessing 1.5 miles of tough hiking to get down there from Main Meadow. So when you add in discussion time, the entire extravaganza sucked up 5 or 6 hours every time it happened.

The final version of the operating plan typed up by the USFS did not contain all the agreed to changes because the USFS employee doing the typing got busy and didn't have time to make changes. So the printed version that was circulating contained a number of items that both gathering participants and the USFS had agreed would be changed, but were not. (We probably should have taken on the typing and printing responsibilities ourselves and given copies to the USFS - perhaps we could do that this year?)

Additionally, a couple of the people (myself included) who had taken the time to make every one of these discussions were given mandatory court appearance tickets for the usual BU||$h|+ for July 1, the first day of Main Council on the land and so were in town dealing with kangaroo court. This meant that no one who had been part of the entire process brought the printed version to main council. A runner did let Main Council know copies were available at Info if they choose to deal with it.

All this being said, I think for the most part, the agreed to items (as opposed to the typed up items), were mostly in accordance with what many or most gatherers felt to be workable.

So my 2 cents on New Mexico is to make sure the operating plan is worked on in an open circle/council/counsel at a centrally located part of the gathering and hopefully adjacent to kitchen council (which seems to have been happening at 11 AM last few gatherings at least). Then we type up the changes ourselves, handle the printing and copying, and let the USFS request edits to our document.

~~Peace out family.