California Is Kicking Out Hundreds Of Modern-Day Hippies Living In Its Forests
Photo by David McNew/Getty Images

California Is Kicking Out Hundreds Of Modern-Day Hippies Living In Its Forests

California wants hundreds of modern-day hippies to leave its forests. The state is threatening the Rainbow Family with both fines and jail time if they don't abandon their commune.

Rainbow Family has been camping out in the woods. Now, the US Forest Service ordered about 500 of these modern-day hippies to leave Plumas National Forest. None of them have permits, and they only have 48 hours to get out. They face a fine of up to $5,000 and/or prison time of up to six months, according to the vacate order.

Rainbow Family of Living Light carries the free-spirit of the '60s and '70s hippies into the modern day. Each year, they pick a different national forest to camp at during the first week of July. It's the first time that they've faced opposition since the group formed all the way back in 1972. However, it's possible California doesn't want 5,000 and 10,000 people gathering at the park without permits. That's the usual crowd for these camping trips.

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According to the group, they are "largest non-organization of non-members in the world." As such, they don't have any organizers to actually get permits on their behalf. However, the Plumas National Forest said 10,000 people would ruin the environment in the area and be overwhelming to normal park guests.

With early birds already setting up camp at Indian Creek Headwaters, California decided to shut down this modern-day hippie commune before it could even start. Officials are concerned and want them gone.

Hippie Festival Shut Down

"The Forest is concerned about the 500 plus individuals already dispersed camping in a concentrated area... There are existing and projected impacts on natural and cultural resources and other authorized uses," Plumas National Forest Supervisor Chris Carlton said in a statement. "Our priority is maintaining public health and safety and the appropriate stewardship of public lands and natural resources."

Likewise, locals didn't want the hippies staying in their town. Four tribes in the region — the Mountain Maidu, Paiute, Pit River, and Washoe — each wrote letters urging them to leave. Lassen County Supervisor Jason Ingram also urged the group to leave as well.

"As I've said from the beginning, my concerns with this gathering were always the illegality aspect, the increased fire risk this would have created, the environmental impact, and the blatant disrespect shown to our local tribes," Ingram said. "Events are fine, but not events that blatantly disregard the law and endanger our land and community fire safety."

He was glad to see others listened.

"I believe this is the first rainbow gathering event to be shut down, and you all had a hand in that," Ingram said.