2013 Operating Plan

This was the plan for the 2013 Montana national gathering.

2013 Operating Plan

for the
Peaceful Assembly and Free Speech Event (Gathering) at Saginaw

USDA Forest Service
Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest

Copies of the Operating Plan will be available at the gathering information center and at other locations

This Operating Plan has been developed cooperatively by gathering participants and the Forest Service, to mitigate potential resource impacts associated with the Gathering Event on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. It is designed to follow the Standards and Guidelines of the Forest Plan and the Code of Federal Regulations applicable to National Forest System lands. Copies of existing applicable Forest-wide and local closure orders are included.

Regularly scheduled meetings between the Forest Service and those involved in the above-stated Event (gathering participants) will occur to address concerns that arise.

The primary goals of this Operating Plan are:

  • Public health and safety
  • Minimize impacts to the resources and leave site at or near pre-gathering conditions
  • Minimize impacts and disruptions to local communities


  • Individuals are responsible for their own health and safety.
  • The Forest Service and CALM (Center for Alternative Living Medicine) will be notified of any contagious outbreaks.
  • Biological hazards generated at the CALM tent or elsewhere, will be disposed of at an appropriate medical waste disposal facility. No biological waste will be buried, remain on the site, or disposed of with other trash.
  • Gathering participants will establish contacts with appropriate local or regional agencies, businesses, and organizations to arrange services (i.e. garbage, recycling, medical) and supplies as needed.
  • Gathering participants will be responsible for emergency medical coordination and evacuation with area medical facilities. A detailed plan for medical transport and emergency evacuations will be cooperatively developed, shared with EMS and law enforcement, and cooperatively implemented.


  • Parking areas have been designated by the Forest Service. Parking is prohibited on or within 5 feet of any portion of the road, including wide spots or pullouts. Follow posted instructions on the roads. Gathering participants are solely responsible to provide personnel to organize. direct and provide attendants for the parking areas. Site specific needs will be addressed on location to provide for shuttle, handicapped parking, supply, route closures, etc. Vehicles parked in areas specifically closed for parking or parked in a manner that interferes with ingress/egress of emergency vehicles will be towed at the owner’s expense. Local travel management restrictions will be adhered to and followed at all times.
  • Administrative parking areas are identified by the Forest Service. These areas will be signed and marked. If the area markings are removed, anything stored in that area will be confiscated and any vehicles parked in that area will be towed. It is the responsibility of gathering participants to insure those areas remains accessible to the Forest Service.


  • Sensitive areas (wetlands, sensitive species, archeological sites, etc.) will be noted by the Forest Service, and flagged off-limits if necessary. Gathering participants are responsible for not camping or congregating within these areas and for not removing items from these areas (plants, items over 50 years old such as bottles, cans, etc.).
  • There will be no camping within 50 feet of surface water, or where posted. Where it is not possible to meet this, camps must be on dry or hardened sites that are not creating resource damage such as mud bogs or trampling of plants, particularly in riparian zones.
  • Do not cut any green trees or boughs for use at the event. Do not cut dead branches from live trees.
  • Be aware of hazard potential, especially snags, when selecting campsites.


  • All bear attractants should be stored or attended in the area whenever possible. Attractants are all edible or odorous items, including sealed cans, alcohol, toothpaste, deodorant, pet and livestock feed, game meat, carcass parts, and partially burned or unburned garbage. It is especially important to inform and patrol remote camps, and also report any bear sightings.
  • Gray water and compost pits should be at least 150 feet from surface water (unless otherwise agreed upon by the Forest Service resource advisors) and should not be located in areas that contain riparian vegetation. Compost pits should be deep, and covered when filled to approximately 10 inches from the surface.
  • If ground water appears while digging any holes (slit trenches, gray water, compost pits, bliss pits, etc.) the site should be immediately refilled, abandoned and moved to a different location, generally uphill.
  • Gathering participants will monitor all activities to ensure that soap, disinfectants, medical waste, or any other foreign material will not be introduced into lakes, streams, or other surface waters.
  • Excavating or digging out around drinking water sources is discouraged. Work with Forest Service representatives prior to any activities. Use temporary collection techniques (such as rocks, logs, or tarps) to collect drinking water at the source.
  • Kitchen washing procedures are recommended to be a three bucket system. A hand washing station is recommended for each kitchen area.
  • Drinking water should be filtered, boiled, andlor treated.


  • Gathering participants are advised to maintain approximately one functioning latrine per 100 people.
  • Slit trenches or earth pit privies should be constructed on upland, dry sites. They should be located at least 300 feet from surface waters, kitchens and down slope from any drinking water sources unless agreed upon with Forest Service resource advisors. Trenches should be approximately 12-18 inches wide (i.e. shovel width or better) and of an adequate length for the anticipated number of people. Buckets of lime or wood ash will be available at all trenches or privy sites. Trenches or pits shall be closed (mounded) when they fill to approximately 15 inches of the surface. A hand wash station should be provided at each location.


  • All trash will be removed from the site. Only wood trash will be burned on site to reduce any bear attractants. Avoid burning trash with food residue
  • Gathering participants are cautioned that there is a possibility of bear (grizzly and/or black bear) activity in the area. Gathering participants should minimize food odors to minimize bear encounters and follow the attached “Be Bear Aware” recommendations.


  • Fires will be attended to at all times. All community fire hearths/pits will be no larger than approximately 10 feet in diameter unless agreed upon. It is recommended that a shovel and access to at least 5 gallons of water be on hand at each campfire location.
  • Fire rings will utilize rock or mud linings to prevent spread. Avoid digging out fire pits in meadows. In other areas, the immediate surface material should just be removed.
  • Only downed woody material or standing dead trees may be used for firewood. No cutting of green trees will be allowed without prior approval by Forest Service personnel’
  • Fires should not be located near any red and dead trees or areas of downed material.


  • In order to ensure wildlife safety, protect nafural resources and minimize negative impacts to public health, animals must be under leash or control at all times
  • Animal waste will be cleaned up immediately and disposed of in slit trenches, compost pits or other environmentally responsible manner.
  • Horses need to be contained/controlled at all times. Horses will not be allowed in the kitchen area.
  • All domestic animals will be removed by gathering participants upon departure from the event.


  • All parking areas, bus villages, trails, and areas of concentrated use will be rehabilitated following Forest Service resource advisor directions. Site specific rehabilitation needs will be identified at a walk through with gathering participants and the Forest Service resource advisors.
  • Slit trenches, latrines and fire/bliss pits will be filled and covered with native material from the area or native material originally removed from the pit and mounded with excess material to allow for settling. Rocks will be scattered to give a natural appearance except within fields/meadows, where they must be scattered outside of the field/meadow area.
  • All trash will be removed and disposed of at recognized sanitary landfills, transfer stations, or trash hauling companies.
  • All human made structures not previously existing at the gathering location (bridges, swings, lean-tos, ovens, “art”, etc.) will be dismantled, removed, or scattered to achieve a natural appearance.
  • Any user created trails will be obliterated
  • All water lines will be removed from the gathering site.
  • All vehicles abandoned by gathering participants will be removed from the National Forest at the owner’s expense and at no cost to the Forest Service.


  • Gathering participants will establish contact with local agencies, businesses and organizations to arrange services (i.e., garbage, recycling) and supplies as needed.
  • Nudity on public roads is not allowed.
  • Fireworks are not allowed on the National Forest. Gathering participants must abide by Beaverhead County ordinances regarding fireworks.
  • State regulations regarding fish and game will be followed.
  • Private property will be respected. Orange marked posts on fencelines indicate private property boundaries.
  • Structural improvements on public and private lands will not be used or damaged
    a. Fences
    b. Ditches
    c. Signs
  • d. Water developments – troughs, pipelines


September 16th, 2016 by John Anderson