Rainbows, locals bemoan Forest Service presence

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GIFFORD PINCHOT NATIONAL FOREST, Wash. (AP) — Lights flash in the dusk as police cars surround a blue school bus painted with colorful hearts and flowers. Several youthful hippies watch while officers search their bags and a police dog sniffs for drugs.

They were pulled over for failing to use a turn signal on a remote forest road. Minutes later, two pose for mug shots after the search turns up marijuana.

It’s a scene likely to be played out again this week as thousands descend on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in southwest Washington for the 40th annual gathering of the Rainbow Family of Living Light, a group of peace activists borne out of the ’60s counterculture movement.

Brought in to keep their own peace: 30 U.S. Forest service law enforcement, working 24-7 on three rotating shifts.