BC Parks has announced they will be closing Raft Cove Provincial Park to prevent a month-long event called the “World Rainbow Gathering” from being held at the site.
In a release, the government said “the closure was prompted over specific concerns that an increase in the number of visitors unprepared for such a remote and rugged location would significantly increase the risk to public health and safety, the
protection of the natural environment and the preservation of park values.”
The park is on the far northwest end of Vancouver Island, 70 kilometres from Port Hardy, and is 670 hectares in size. Locals are concerned the event, to which more than 11,000 people are invited, and more than 1,800 have said they would attend so far, would destroy the area and leave a huge mess behind.
The event was scheduled to run from August 6 to September 6. The Rainbow Family is a loosely connected & leaderless movement that has been gathering in public forests around the world since 1972. They advocate world peace and egalitarianism.
Port McNeill councillor Gaby Wickstrom was one of many in the surrounding area who called on the provincial government to act when news of the event spread.
“We love this beach, everyone understands how sensitive this area is…We don’t anticipate it to be anything volatile, but we just want to let people know this is not the place for them,” she said earlier this week.
The group had discussed on their Facebook page about moving the Gathering to another location when the controversy began, but they have so far not responded to the government’s order.