U.S. Federal Agents Kick Out

Church Relief Agencies.

By 2 Hawks Copyright 2001

Christian Relief Agencies are seen here feeding the poor and homeless of the Ocala National Forest.


Ocala National Forest February 11, 2001

U.S. Forest Service Agencies and F.E.M.A. came in from all over the United States under the command of Malcolm Jowers as far away as Tennessee to shutdown local church relief agencies in the Ocala National Forest in an effort to stop all humanitarian aid to a gathering of hippies known as the Rainbow Family of Light.

Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) threatened and intimidated the church relief agencies with a violation that could result in 6 months in jail and a $500.00 fine for bringing blankets, water, food, clothing, hygiene and medicine to the over 2,000 homeless people who annually gather in the Ocala National Forest.

They come here to Florida in the winter to avoid the harsh weather in the north. They have nothing but the clothes on their back and they come here starting in late September and leave around late March. Often times they don't even have a toothbrush.

Church officials were told if they gave out any more humanitarian aid to help the poor and homeless in the gathering they would be in Federal violation of enabling an illegal assembly.

Federal Officers later amended that order by telling them they could not cook any food or serve any coffee but that they could give out uncooked canned goods as long as they stayed outside the Forest Road 552 perimeter. They also told the relief agencies they would have to move to another location or they would be treated as Rainbow.

Malcolm Jowers said, "It is an illegal gathering because they did not apply for the permit 72 hours in advance according to Federal Code Regulation Title 36 Section 261.10K. They can not apply for that location now because they didn't obey the 72 hour rule. They would have to apply for a different location."

The Task Force commander, Malcolm Jowers, doesn't seem to know his own regulations. Section 261.10 K says, "Use or occupancy of National Forest System land or facilities without special-use authorization when such authorization is required." It says nothing about a 72 hour prohibition or that they can NEVER apply for use in that same site. That is his interpretation to the detriment of the public health and welfare. This regulation is not a law and it is very vague. For example, if you already own a $40.00 annual pass why would you need to get a use permit. The pass is good throughout the forest especially in area were no fee is required. If someone is parked in the forest in a fee area without a pass they should get a $50.00 violation.

There is no Fee for using a Wilderness area. The gathering was in a wilderness area.

When asked if they had an alternative site in mind he said, "That would be up to the District Ranger." When asked how much the site fee could be Jowers said, "It is a free use permit but operational costs would have to be taken into consideration, like traffic control, portable toilets etc." When asked how much that could be he said, "I have no idea." The cost of importing three dozen special agents from all over the United States remains underrtermined.

Malcolm Jowers said that he had followed the Rainbow all over the country for over 20 years, he is the Task Force Commander of the Incidence Creation Team for the Forest Service and F.E.M.A. and yet he had no idea what it would cost or what the necessary facilities for minimal sanitation and health conditions would be. This does not sound like public health and welfare is a concern and it does not sound like a plan to avoid disaster. Fines and tickets were given out for latrines and gray water holes. Yet, no portable toilets were brought in. Fires were not allowed, at the same time food and water was withheld. This disregard for health or safety is all too similiar to medieval siege warfare.

Commander Jowers has decided that if he can not harass and litigate the poor out of the forest he will starve them out and make them relieve themselves openly and publicly on the already endangered environment. That is why he ordered the church relief agencies out of the area. As any good military commander does--he cut off the food supply. Since he controls the hygiene, all he had to do was not bring in the necessary toilet facilities and forbide campers from digging a sanitation hole for relief. A dangerous reckless strategy. All for a camping area that is a no fee area.

Church officials said they minister to the poor and homeless of the Ocala National Forest year round and have never been raided by local Forest personnel. They believe that this action is a direct contradiction of President's Bush's desire to help local church relief agencies meet the needs of the poor. If fact, in the past they have worked with Lt. Palmers' Office and received acknowledgement of the existence of the church relief agencies and wonderful cooperation on behalf of public safety and welfare from Jim Thorsen the District Ranger. When Commander Jowers was asked if he knew about the relationship that the church relief agencies had with the local enforcement agencies he said, "You may," and implied but what does it matter?

President George Bush could not be aware that his Federal Officers are attacking church relief agencies. Logos Christian Fellowship and other Christian ministries have helped the Vietnam Veterans, poor, homeless and hippies in this forest for years. They have never had a problem before Commander Jowers showed up.

After a long conversation on the phone and a couple of letters with Commander Jowers I was unable to get a statement of clarity on the issue of separation of church and hippies. Commander Jowers said, "It is hard on site to identify the difference between the church relief agencies and the Rainbow." When it was pointed out to him that he had a man on his own staff that recognized several of the people as ministers that he personally knew he refused comment. Why not set up a chaplain pass similiar to prison identification systems. Commander Jowers did not recognize the church relief agencies, and still he refuses to establish any system of identification.

Church officials met with Law Enforcement Officers and showed them their $40.00 annual camping passes for each vehicle in attendance but the Law Enforcement Officers told them they had 24 hours to get out of town or face prosecution.

This is a copy of one of the Annual Permits owned by one of the church officials.

The permit number is blocked out to protect the individual.


Church officials had a campsite located near an annual gathering of poor and homeless campers known as the Rainbow Family of Light. The church group agreed to sign a group site permit as soon as their group numbers reached the required site permit number of 75 or more people. The church relief agencies only had about 30 people at the time of the raid by the U.S.Federal Officers and FEMA and did not expect their numbers to go higher.

The church relief agencies refused to sign a permit for the more than 2,000 poor and homeless named the Rainbow Family of Light. The church relief agencies are not the Rainbow people--they only minister to the needy in the National Forest and provide humanitarian aid. U.S. Federal Law Enforcement Agents tried to get them sign an illegal permit and then denied it.

Commander Jowers denied that he or any of his officers ever asked the church relief agencies to sign such a permit. I asked him to poll his officers to verify that and he ignored me. When asked if this was a sanctuary or preserve area he said, "No it is not."

Then Commander Jowers was asked,"Why is it that they need a group permit if all the cars have an annual pass and it is a NO FEE area? He answered trying to avoid the point, "Not all of the cars had a pass." "Then why don't you just ticket those cars?" He refused comment.

Every year the Rangers and the hippies play a dangerous game. The hippies are too disorganizedto get a group permit and the U.S. Forest Service takes a stand of intolerance.

Well Commander Jowers that really says it all. In order to be right, in order to be intolerant, in order to demonstrate your lack of multi-cultural training, in order to show them who's the boss, in order to vent you anger on the poor you have placed thousands of young U.S. citizens in jeopardy for a free area pass.

One person suggessted that the Feds were called in to investigate huge quantities of illegal drug trafficing. Well did you find them? You sure searched enough vehicles. How much stuff did you gather? The fact is little to none. Why? because they are poor people. Your drug dealers are livng out of limosines and expensive real estate not tents and teepees.

What happened here? What happened to separation of church and state? What happened to freedom of Religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly? Now we have to get Commander Jowers permission to preach the gospel and feed the poor.

One minister reported that the action taken by Jowers to remove the church relief agencies almost sparked a riot. The hippies wanted to come to their defense but the church ministers prevented it. It appears to some observers that Commander Jowers seems to want an incident. Are they trying to provoke a situation? We need Peace officers out here. What ever happen to "Caring for the Land and Serving the People?" We need well trained multi-cultural officers that are bent on lawful consensus and know when to bring the health and welfare of U.S. citizens to the front.

Many of the young people out there are your kids and mine. They are often times misguided and misdirected but they are U.S. citizens. Hundreds of them are high school age. Why is it that every school teacher in Florida has to take 18 to 300 hours of E.S.O.L multi-cultural training and these 'peace' officers do not?

So Commander Jowers, you recklessly endangered the lives of over 2,000 United States citizens just to prove your point. Federal Regulation 261.1a states: "The Chief, each Regional Forester, each Forest Supervisor, and each District Ranger or equivalent officer (Is that You?), may issue special-use authorizations...for the promotion of public health, safety, or welfare." What about the health, safety, and welfare of all those tax payers who have children attending this free assembly? You did not supply toilets, water, or decent hygiene and you have evacuated the only agencies that could help you in the event of a disaster to over 15 miles away.



Code of Federal Regulations


Church officials stated their mission is to minister to the needs of the poor and offer them a better life in Jesus Christ. The church humanitarian relief agencies handout fliers on local temporary employment agencies, hospitals, and the State Employment Center. Their desire is to see them set free from drugs, alcohol, incarceration, Federal harassment, and unemployment. A sign out front of one of the church relief kitchens reads, "No Drugs, No Alcohol. No Violence." They were told to stop serving coffee.

Jesus Camp was told they could not serve coffee or food to the hungry and homeless. They were warned three times and given 24 hours to pack up and get out or be in violation. They were informed that they were too close to these "people" and that if they didn't move out immediately they would suffer the consequences. They relocated immediately as ordered.

Commander Jowers denied this event. He said that he never threatened or intimidated them or said that they would get a ticket. He said that he said, "they could get a ticket."

Jesus Camp reported that they were warned three times to move and if they were not out by tomorrow there would be dire consequences. So they moved to a location 15 miles away to Buck Lake.

The Christian relief agencies agreed not to break the law and bring in needed supplies of water, bread, and food until they could seek further legal assistance. "We won't break the law. We are Christians. But since when is it illegal to feed the poor and homeless?" said pastor Chris Ward. The church leadership contacted Congressmen Clifford B. Stearns.

Commander Malcolm Jowers' final comment was, "If you return to that area inside the Forest Road 552 perimeter you will be identified as Rainbow and you will get a ticket."

It is very disappointing to see Commander Jowers inability to discern the difference between church relief agencies and hippies, his lack of concern for the Constitutional rights of these American Citizens and his even less concern for their safety, health, and welfare; all because he wants to be right about site regulation protocol. A protocol he has the legal right and responsibility to modify for public safety.

Church officials are asking everyone to forgive Commander Jowers and the U.S. Forest Service and to encourage the U.S. Forest Service to amend the regulation so that non-commercial events like the gathering are NOT required to have a permit.

"We need a time of healing. There is too much pride, prejudice, and stubborness. Can't we work together in love?"


Commander Jowers

We forgive you but please be nice to the poor and the homeless.

Help us get the Regulations amended.

Jesus said, "When you did it not to the least of them these you did it not to Me."

Matthew 25:45

 The Public is watching!

Number of U.S. citizens visiting this web page in the last 7 days.


Press Release

Church Response

U.S. Forest Service Letter

Amend Now!

Please Write/E-mail/Call Everyone You Know!

Copy and Paste the following and sign it.


Federal Code Regulation Title 36 Section 261.10K

Dear President Bush, please amend Federal Code Regulation Title 36 Section 26.1.10K

to read: "No Group Permit shall be required for Non-commercial events in a wilderness or national forest area."

The war between the hippies and the Rangers has gone on long enough--25+ years. Please amend the regulations for the public health, safety and welfare.



President George W.Bush


Attorney General John Ashcroft


Governor Jeb Bush


Robert Butterworth, Florida State Attorney


Voice: 850-487-1963

Fax: 850-487-2564


William T. Hodges, U.S. District Judge



Regional Forest , Elizabeth Estill 404-347-4177


Law Enforcement R-8 Regional Special Agent in Charge...Jack Gregory 404-347-4182


Deputy Regional Forester David G. Holland 404-3474178


District Ranger Jim Thorsen 40929 SR 19 Umatilla 352-669-3153


Public Affairs Officer Denise Rains 850-942-9368


Malcome Jowers 404-347-4182


Marsha Kearney Forest Supervisor