For The Journal North

Taos--The Rainbow Family gathering northwest of Tres Piedras has grown to about 3,000 people and the group is supposed to respond in writing to grievances presented to them them Sunday by protesters from Vallecitos, the Forest Service said.

About 19 vehicles from Vallecitos (Rio Arriba County) went to the remote site Sunday to protest the encampment, Forest Service Deputy Incident Commander Gary Schiff said.

The protest was organized by logger Antonio "Ike" DeVargas, who said last week that he was organizing the event to protest what he called a discriminatory approach by the Forest Service in allowing a gathering of this size with potential damage to natural resources.

A 1987 supreme court decision on freedom of assembly issues allows such gatherings on public lands, the Forest Service has said.

The annual Rainbow Family gathering will take place on the Carson National Forest between July 1-7, with estimates of from 10,000 to 30,000 participants at it's height.

Schiff said he understood there were so "heated words" between the two groups but nothing more. The Rainbow Family has said it will respond in writing to the protest group after discussions within it's council, Forest Service spokeswoman Raquel Romero said.

The Forest Service said the points presented to the Rainbow Family by the Vallecitos logging company La Compania Ocho were:

From an estimated 1600 people last Friday, the gathering has now grown to about 3,000, Romero said. Forest service agents identified and towed a stolen and stripped vehicle Sunday night, that had been stolen from Kentucky, said Romero. That incident is under investigation, she said.