Index of Documents - Utah 2003
This is a complete listing of all the paperwork that passed between myself and the U.S. Forest Service from March 31, 2003 to the present.
Descriptions of what I found to be particularly controversial or problematic are also included. These remarks are offered solely as an expression of my own personal observations and are not intended for any other purpose.
Given the nature of Family politics I have left out anybody's and everybody's names. There are so many unsung heroes and sheroes who did all the real tasks and met all the real logistics, did the incredible work of the cleanup, and who often worked with and spoke with healh, resource, and law enforcement officers to make all this work out. These people are the heart and soul of how this really happens.
At least in the discussions that may follow, there will be a clear and complete record of the existing documents. I hope this opening up of all the record for public review will prove beneficial and encourage wise choices in the future.
1. March 31 2003. NOTIFICATION OF INTENT TO APPLY
This letter to Forest Service Region Four (Utah, Nevada, parts of Colorado, Idaho and Wyoming) and Forest Service Region Five (California) sets in motion this whole series of back-and-forth exchanges. In it there are four important steps defined: One: I waived my right to confidentiality, (thereby setting some precedence for how this can be done in the open); two: A Map Meeting be held to discuss together potential sites; three: A resource team be assigned to work with participants; and four: a Cleanup Letter be delivered to the cleanup crew at the conclusion of site restoration.
2. April 3, 2003. REGION 4 RESPONSE
3. April 4, 2003. REGION 5 RESPONSE
4. May 5, 2003 MEETING PREPARATION LETTER
Having made arrangements by phone for a meeting near where scouts would be looking at that time, I prepared a packet of past Cleanup Letters and Operating Plans for each of the U.S.F.S. people who were planning to attend that meeting. I sent these with this cover letter so they could have this material in advance. These packets were not distributed to the Federal attendees as was requested.
5. May 8, 2003 MEETING ROSTER
This page lists the participants of the May 8th meeting. There is a videotape record of the whole meeting also. Discussions centered on potential sites. The F.S. presented maps and sites that districts across Region Four had sent in to them, and three sites in the nearby area. Most of the sites were not really viable, but they wanted to present all the responses to their region-wide inquiry. One site they suggested was potentially usable -- or at least was one Scouts were already considering. I - and others - showed them maps of three more sites in the vicinity that were being considered.
The Forest Service agreed that a resource team would work with participants...There would be an Operating Plan separate from the permit and that it would be a living, working document subject to numerous practical changes in the field, to be worked out with participant volunteers onsite...There would be a much lower level of Law Enforcement presence...And the cleanup crew would receive a Cleanup Letter at the finish.
It is important to note that the Forest Service did not live up to three of these four promises. The only one they kept was that a resource team worked together with participants.
6. May 8, 2003 CATEGORICAL EXCLUSION
In the May 8 map discussions this document was distributed by the USFS. It explains that certain sites, because they lack certain resource conditions are Categorically Excluded from needing large environmental studies before any approval could be issued. These conditions are: Threatened or Endangered Species; Wetlands or Municipal Watersheds; Designated Wilderness; Inventoried Roadless Areas, Research Areas, Native Religious Sites; and Archaeological Sites. Without any of these a site would be Categorically Excluded from needing long-range study and therefore could be used for a large public assembly. The F.S. people at the meeting say they will respond to our suggestions by letting us know if our suggestions are "Categorically Excluded" or not.
7. May 8, 2003 SUMMIT COUNTY APPLICATION
Just at the end of the meeting as we were all getting up to leave (!), we get handed copies of the Summit County Application for a State of Utah Temporary Outdoor Mass Gathering Act Permit. By this, the Forest Service was demanding a second permit application in addition to its own. Thus began a long interaction with the Summit County health officials, because this law is administered under the authority of the State's County Health Officers. This Utah Health Law (17 pages of stipulations) was clearly aimed at commercial fairgrounds-type events and had no useful relation to forest-based assemblies. In the weeks that followed the Forest Service thru its Incident Command continued to insist that without that second Permit, any application would be denied. Whenever paper with the words "Permit" or "Authorization" are presented BE AWARE!
8. May 21, 2003 FS SITE RESPONSE
9. June 3, 2003 FOLLOW UP LETTER
This letter keeps up with developments around the State Health issue.
10. June 5, 2003 STATE HEALTH CALL LETTER
11. June 9, 2003 FS SITE RESPONSE #2
12. June 10, 2003 STATE HEALTH CALL LETTER RESPONSE
In which it is made clear that the Forest Service will not facilitate a conference call between all interested persons and the Utah State and County Health Officials. The insistence upon a Utah Mass Gathering Permit is also clear. This letter is from the office that oversees the Special Use Administrator.
13. June 15, 2003 PERMIT APPLICATION
13a. Marc Rey Letter
13b. May 8th Video
13c. Letter of Notification
13d. Permit Pending Note
On the morning of June 15, the council at Lyman Lake determined to go the Little West Fork site and within an hour all 70 plus vehicles left the lakeside and moved up onto FS road #307 and from there downward along that four mile stretch of roadway to the valley below. I set up my tent and tarp at an area called Green Road and began there, onsite, to fill out an application. When the application was handwritten in duplicate I turned on my radio and reached the "back gate." I asked if any Forest Service officials had checked in, and asked that when they stopped by next to let any of them know how to contact me. The Special Use Permit Administrator arranged to come to Green Road, along with the Incident Commander. Naturally, I put out calls thru the radio and by runner to whoever was interested to come. There is a videotape of the whole meeting.
At that meeting many speeches were made about how this process was reducing our rights. Specifically, as the Permit signer, I expressed my own sense of diminishment of Constitutional guarantees, and how I was doing this as a lone individual. Black armbands were worn, as explained, "mourning the loss of liberties." I gave them a properly filled out application. I signed "as an individual."
Included in the Application was:
13a) The Undersecretary of Agriculture's letter that defines the meaning of the regulation to make favorable several things that I and others lost on in Federal Court: i) That a signer does not have to an agent or representative of anyone; ii) that the individuals involved do not have to be a formalized group; and iii) That a signer bears no personal liability for other's actions.
13b) The videotape of the May 8th Map Meeting. I included this because I wanted in the file the record of the verbal positions of the officers at that meeting.
13c) My original letter of notification (Doc. #1 above) so that the beginning thread of some of the processes can be referenced.
13d) A short note that indicated if the County Health people were still working to come up with some kind of assent and cooperative relation, but hadn't yet given us a Utah Mass Gathering Act Permit, that the F.S. could leave my application "pending" while the process continued. The Incident Commander and the Special Use Administrator were very clear that from the instant I handed them my application "the clock was ticking." I had 48 hours (because permit applications need to be approved or denied within 48 hours) to get that other 2nd Permit (the Utah Temporary Outdoor Mass Gathering Permit) to them or they were going to deny my application. In fact, according to them, even at that time, the gathering was an illegal event, and everyone there was subject to ticketing or arrest already, even tho my application had been handed over.
One of the mistakes included with the Application was my choice of July 28, 2003 as the date for cleanup's conclusion. Thru August 5 would have been much wiser. We were fortunate to have had cooperative weather and an outstanding cleanup team, but had things been otherwise, we'd have been stuck unfinished by the final date. This is an example of the kind of problems that arise when one person makes decisions that affect others.
14. June 17, 2003 PERMIT FOR GARRICK BECK; AND FOREST SERVICE OPERATING PLAN
At 4:20 pm on June 17th the Acting District Ranger (and a host of other Resource, Law Enforcement and Administrative Officers) arrived at Green Road with an approved authorization, just as the 48 hours was expiring. The controversy over the demanded Utah Mass Gathering Permit had been a constant over the past two days. Other folks had gone to visit the County Health Officers. Health Officers from other States and counties where Gatherings had previously been held contacted the Summit County Health officials. The Health Officers made a thorough visit onsite. The Forest Service Incident Command and the U.S. Attorney wanted the Utah Mass Gathering Act enforced. The Agriculture Department (which oversees the Forest Service) wanted the Forest Service to accept working with the local Health Officers as sufficient for approval - and not demand the second Permit. The U.S. Attorney and the Incident Commander went to the U.S. Attorney General's office who put a conference call together with the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture and the local officials. The local Health Officers said they had determined the relevant law wasn't the Utah Temporary Outdoor Mass Gathering Act but actually the Utah State Camping Regulations, which have provisions for primitive camping and primitive campgrounds. They'd already been onsite and made inspections. And they were going to issue a permit. Nobody had to sign it, or even make application. The Officer's signature is what gives it effect.
The Authorization packet has its cover letter, a copy of my application, and an 18 paragraph permit. Notice in paragraph 11 where specific words are crossed out, and my crossings out are initialed by the Acting District Ranger.
The signature and the exact words surrounding it are a very complex piece of the machinery of this regulation. I think, looking back at it, that there are several better alternatives to the way this was done. For instance writing next to one's name "Self-designated contact person, not an agent for anyone else"; or having one's own name be the "Holder," so that the holder is named as an individual, and not as a group; or...there are other alternatives.
Then there are Exhibits A and B.
Exhibit A is the Operating Plan. The F.S. issued it on their own, and not as a separate document as we had discussed. Nor did the Forest Service meet as planned with participants from the various parts and functions of the gathering to design this in-the-field set of working arrangements.
Although the Operating Plan was read out loud to everyone there and in front of the video cameras, the process was in direct violation of the previous agreement.
Even though the things the Operating Plan asks for are (mostly) basic camping health sense, resource protection sense, and traffic sense (All things gatherings have lived with successfully over decades), it was being attached to the Authorization in a way that differed from all previous discussions because it was not worked thru with the medical, parking, Shanti Sena, cleanup, etc., volunteers as the Forest Service had agreed.
As a result, over and over the Forest Service came to me during the event about issues that really needed to be discussed with Front Gate, or Medical, or Kitchen people and expected me to act as an agent for all these other folks and make decisions for them. Mostly I steered Forest Service personnel to the others whose input and expertise is what really counted. But I did talk with them over and over, and they did attempt to treat me like I was in charge of everyone and everything there. This is very dangerous ground. It is full of pitfalls. I certainly made errors along the way just by speaking my own views and having the F.S. treat that like an authority for others. It is easy to think that a common sense answer is just a common sense answer, but in this situation the Forest Service wanted me to speak for others and make decisions for them. This is another area to BE AWARE!
There were some specific changes in the Operating Plan text where I put "Individuals Assembling" in the place of other language.
B is a section map of the site area, and a list of the technical descriptions of those sections. I and others spent some considerable time working out just which parts of the sections were to be included. Because we were unsure at that early time just which far areas would be used for overflow parking, the site description includes both.
15. June 22, 2003 PARKING AMENDMENT
It became clear that the overflow parking would be far better in one area than in the other, so the Authorization was amended to delete one area and to expand the other. As an additional attachment with that came Information about The Paperwork Reduction Act, The Freedom of Information Act, and the Privacy Act. Also issued was an "OMB control number": 0596-0082.
16. June 24, 2003 DOG LEASHING ORDER
This controversial Forest Order was communicated to me verbally just hours before the commencement of the foot plus snowfall that pounded the community for the next three days. Immediately the Forest Service LEOs began issuing warnings and then tickets for off-leash dogs. Owners were ticketed, for example, if they set down a leash for a moment while shouldering their backpack.
17. June 25, 2003 REQUEST FOR AMENDMENT
This handwritten document is a formal request for changes in the permit. The idea is to use the permit as a means to negotiate issues. The Forest Service perceives the permit as a a process of granting permission, as from an owner to a user. The intention here is to maintain my rights as an equal participant, with the full rights of an equal partner in the process. The theme is continued throughout, and may be the main benefit received from the "mere signature." A court may review the Permit File and allow an Applicant to impose terms and conditions upon the Forest Service based on the record made here.
18. June 27, 2003 PARTIAL SUSPENSION AND ROAD CLOSURE ORDER
On the afternoon of June 25 there was an incident over the towing of vehicles parked in delicate areas and which had already been warned to move. This resulted in a meeting the next morning at Green Road with Parking and Front Gate people, Shanti Sena, Info, Medical volunteers and Utah State Patrol. Federal Marshals, Forest Service LEOs, and Administrators, Incident Command, County Sheriffs and many interested observers.
The Forest Service had convened three hundred enforcement officers from throughout the area - local, state and federal. The permit signer left the site at 4:00 am to speak with the Incident Commander at 6:00 am, who agreed to meet later that morning at Green Road. It is my belief that without that sunrise conversation there would have been three hundred officers storming the site, and no discussion.
Instead, there was an extensive conversation about the previous day's incident. There was a process defined for people contacting each other when incidents escalated, so that participants and peer group communication could be effectively used in certain law enforcement situations. The Summit County Sheriffs and the Colonel representing the Utah State Police encouraged the Forest Service to utilize communication with Shanti Sena as the best way to de-escalate tense situations before they got out of hand. This was the accepted strategy for future troublesome incidents.
Still the Forest Service presented a Partial Suspension and Road Closure Order. This meant that one part of the permit was suspended: the use of FS road #307, meaning the road was closed effectively immediately at the Front Gate. People had to begin using the outlying parking zones. On the one hand, the FS was suspending part of the permit plan; on the other hand, closing the road and using the outer parking lots was something that would have had to begin very soon regardless.
I explained that essential service vehicles could not be denied entry: food supply, water cistern and water system supplies, ambulances, handicapped vehicles, shuttles from the outer parking, etc., could not be shut out legally. There was agreement to that.
People and officers toured the area of the previous day's conflict and saw that it was clear of vehicles, and a safe place for the general public, for the officers, and for participants. Then the outer parking areas were opened, shuttles established and the Front Gate crew worked with Forest Officers (in a mostly successful manner) at the Front Gate to determine which vehicles had valid reasons for entry.
19. June 28, 2003 RESPONSE TO PARTIAL SUSPENSION
Their previous letter and Order of June 27 required a response providing a "strategy" to ensure public safety. This is that response.
20. June 28, 2003 SHUTTLE PARKING PLAN
The June 27th letter and order also required a plan for "compliance with [the order's] parking restrictions." It was becoming obvious to everyone observing the events surrounding these interactions that the Forest Service was coming to me personally for resolution of each issue, and not to the many different people who were doing the doings of the event. So here, a shuttle and parking front gate crew prepared this written version of a plan, and handed it over to the Rangers, who accepted it -- without me signing or even doing any more than watching from a distance. This plan worked well, and is an example of the improvements in process when the F.S. works with the People instead of trying to make a single signer responsible.
21. June 28, 2003 NOTICE OF NONCOMPLIANCE TO INDIVIDUALS ASSEMBLING
This is the first of several of these notices. The Forest Service has created a process for notifying a permit signer of various violations of the permit. Their point of view is that all violations of laws and regulations onsite are violations of the permit. Later, I will file a similar notice (Doc.#32) about Forest Officer's violations of laws and regulations which are also violations of the permit.
Notice in the third paragraph the references to "group leaders" and similar phrases. I answer these references in a future response. Also see the spreadsheet. That's a table they've created to show the types of offenses, and the degree: Incident Reports, Warnings, and Violation Notices (actual citations.)
22. June 29, 2003 CANCELLATION OF PARTIAL SUSPENSION
The front gate, traffic and parking were all working smoothly, and the Forest Service canceled their Partial Suspension that had closed the road (Document # 18, June 27, 2003, Partial Suspension.) Again the method of making these changes is to amend or add to the Permit's Operating Plan.
23. June 29, 2003 RESPONSE TO REQUEST FOR AMENDMENT
In this letter, my requests concerning dogs and horses (Document #17 , June 25, 2003) are denied. The discussions concerning the kitchens near to moving water are continued.
24. July 2, 2003 NOTIFICATION OF NONCOMPLIANCE ACTIVITIES TO U.S. FOREST SERVICE
Again, the idea is to use the permit as a bilateral document - a two-way street - to negotiate compliance with the Forest Service. To this end some success was achieved. This letter initiates a very important process. That is, how to rein in offending officials who under color of law are committing public dis-service.
The Notification Letter has two main parts. The first is a response to their reference to "group leaders." (Document #21, June 28, 2003).
The second part concerns a particular Forest Service Special Agent, who -- putting it in the kindliest terms -- had been over-zealous in issuing citations. In fact this officer's actions were so unreasonable that enormous social discord surrounded him again and again as he choose to ticket people for the most unreasonable matters.
What's that called? Harassment. What's that called? Legalized Injustice, if you ask me. But to the officer, it was just his way.
25. July 2, 2003 NOTIFICATION OF NONCOMPLIANCE TO INDIVIDUALS ASSEMBLING #2.
This is a continuance and expansion of the Forest Service's spreadsheet of minor violations (Document #21, June 28, 2003).
26. July 4, 2003 RESPONSE TO NOTIFICATION OF NONCOMPLIANCE
Although dated the Fourth of July, this was actually given to me on July 5, 2003. In it the Forest Service completely denies any wrongdoing by the officer mentioned extensively in Document # 24.
At the same time the Incident Commander, and Special Agent In charge agreed to "walk" the offending agent "with a superior officer for instructional purposes," and to monitor his actions and keep him out of trouble with the participants. The offending agent's ticket writing campaign all but ceased. It's a case of police bureaucracy defending their own, but correcting a problem.
27. July 9, 2003 NOTIFICATION OF NONCOMPLIANCE TO INDIVIDUALS ASSEMBLING #3
This is the third and last of these spreadsheets summarizing the participants' minor violations.
28. July 9, 2003 REHABILITATION PLAN
On the Ninth of July participants who were volunteering to work on the Cleanup Crew met with the District Ranger and his resource staff. There was a long friendly discussion about priorities and processes. Several plans were set in motion at that meeting, and the Forest Service handed out their version of a Rehabilitation Plan. This was not addressed to me. There was an amended change made at the time to Paragraph 18.
There are so many people who put out so much to make the cleanup work so well. They are the ones who should get the credit... Forget the paperhandlers. It's the tool handlers who really make it happen.
29. July 9, 2003 GARBAGE VEHICLE LETTER
At the cleanup meeting on July 9, 2003 there was discussion and agreement about allowing entry and use of FS road #80804 for garbage hauling. This letter was delivered that afternoon, to prevent ticketing of that activity.
Again, it's hats off to those who bagged and carried the garbage, who sorted the recycling, who loaded and unloaded the trucks. That's who gets the honors.
30. August 26, 2003 CLEANUP LETTER REQUEST
The site was successfully cleaned up completely by June 28, 2003. There had been an Initial Walk-thru with resource personnel from the Forest Service and then a Preliminary Walk-thru, and a Final Walk-thru to observe progress and needs. The entire process of cleanup went so smoothly. Everyone who helped deserves many thanks. Still the Forest Service did not deliver the Cleanup Letter that had been a part of the agreements since the very first letter in this whole chain of events, and which was confirmed on videotape as part of our agreement both at the May 8th Map Meeting, and at the Authorization signing. So I wrote this formal letter requesting that they fulfill this important part of the bargain. After all that work to restore the site so beautifully -- and with agreements galore about this letter -- the Forest Service is still finding some delays to deliver this thank you to the Cleanup Crew.
31. August 26, 2003 CONTINUED RESPONSE TO REQUEST FOR AMENDMENT
Continuing the effort to maintain an equal footing with the F.S. here is a response to the Forest Service denial of my requests concerning dogs and horses (Document#17, June 25, 2003 and Document # 23, June 29, 2003).
32. SEPTEMBER 9, 2003 NOTICE OF NONCOMPLIANCE TO U.S. FOREST SERVICE
Here I summarize numerous complaints brought to me by participants and these are presented to the Forest Service as part of their permanent record of the event. This matches in style the Notices of Violation they issued to me. I have divided the violations on the part of the Forest Service into three categories: Constitutional Violations; Statutory and Regulatory Violations and Violations of Professional Conduct.
Public officers charged with administering expressive events must abide by the laws of the land just as must participants in the events.
33. SEPTEMBER 19, 2003 CLEANUP LETTER
34. SEPTEMBER Q?Z, 2003 THANK YOU LETTER
Finally received this. Just astonishing that after all this, "they"
couldn't bring themselves - as they'd agreed - to write this letter
to the cleanup crew! Instead, addressing solely to me, thereby
discounting the incredible efforts of those who did the real work --
just another example of the Bureaucratic Administrator's inability to
deal directly with the public citizenry of this country!
Let the lessons of all this be learned!
Thanks to everyone who observed & let this process go forward with
the goodwill to see just how it really works.
Two final thoughts from me:
- It isn't just a simple document - as the feds & courts have
held. It's really (if it's done with half-an-eye, at least, to
respect and decency) all these documents - or even more! Hundreds &
hundreds of hours of work & careful attention & writing & responses.
That's how it is.
- The function of the signer is to protect the gathering from
the abuses of government.