Black Rock City LLC Awarded 4-Year Event Permit

Black Rock City 2011, Photo by Luke Szczepanski
Black Rock City 2011, Photo by Luke Szczepanski

The Bureau of Land Management has issued Black Rock City, LLC a 4-year Special Recreation Permit (SRP) to host the Burning Man event on the Black Rock Desert, with a maximum population limit of 68,000 participants for the 2013 event.

Being awarded a 4-year SRP is a testament to our community’s longstanding practice of Leave No Trace, enabling us to achieve and surpass the environmental compliance requirements of our event permit’s stipulations. So thank YOU for helping make this possible.

The BLM press release reads:

BLM Approves Permit for Burning Man Event

Winnemucca, Nev.–The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Winnemucca District, Black Rock Field Office, has issued a multi-year Special Recreation Permit (SRP) to Black Rock City (BRC), LLC authorizing the annual Burning Man event through 2016, contingent upon annual reviews showing BRC’s compliance with the terms and stipulations of the permit. This year the Burning Man event will be held on the Black Rock Playa from Aug. 26 through Sept. 2.

This year, the BRC is required to keep the maximum population from exceeding 68,000 people during the event. The BLM is also requiring BRC to comply with 13 standard stipulations, which are common to all SRPs, and 48 special stipulations specific to the Burning Man event. The special stipulations relate to matters such as event set-up, signage, security, public safety, resource management, debris removal, fee calculation and payment, and event take-down and clean-up.

“Our priorities in managing this permit continue to be the protection and conservation of natural and cultural resources, as well as the safety for all participants and staffs,” said BLM’s Winnemucca District Manager, Gene Seidlitz. “I feel confident the permit addresses these priorities.”

The “Burning Man 2012-2016 Special Recreation Permit Environmental Assessment” (EA) analyzes a participant population level from 58,000 to 70,000 as well as public access, traffic control, resource management, dust abatement, fire management, event security and public safety, event setup and signage, runway and aircraft, sanitary facilities, and event take down and clean-up.

The Burning Man event has taken place on public lands on the Black Rock Desert Playa every year but one since 1990. Last year more than 53,000 people traveled to the remote desert location to participate. The operations associated with the event occupy about 4,400 acres of public land for a seven week period starting with fencing the site perimeter the second week of August and concluding in late September with the final site cleanup. The major activities are confined to several weeks in late August and early September associated with final setup, the actual event, and the initial phases of cleanup. During this period, Black Rock City becomes one of the largest cities in Nevada.

The SRP Decision and associated National Environmental Policy Act documents are available for viewing at and upon request from the BLM Winnemucca District Office, 5100 East Winnemucca Boulevard, Winnemucca, NV 89445-2921, during regular business hours 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except for federal holidays.


Oil Drip City: Protect the playa from your undercarriage!

2007's "Big Rig Jig" by Mike Ross. Photo by Tobin on Flickr.
2007’s “Big Rig Jig” by Mike Ross. Photo by Tobin on Flickr.

Hey! Are you hitchhiking to Black Rock City this year, then sleeping in a tent with no cookstove?


If you’re bringing any type of liquid to the playa this year (even cooler water, but especially motor oil), you need to be aware of how spills affect the desert. Matter Out of Place isn’t limited to wood chips and cigarette butts. It encompasses anything that doesn’t occur naturally on the playa surface. Spills and drips are everyone’s responsibility:

  • Your car, RV, mutant vehicle or motorcycle can leak oil and fluids.
  • Your kitchen and shower can leak cooking fuel and gray water.
  • Your black water tank (ew) can (ew) all over the (ew).
A Restoration worker prepares to dig up an oil spill. Photo by Vertumnus.
A Restoration worker prepares to dig up an oil spill. Photo by Vertumnus.

If you spill or drip, you must clean it up! Here’s why, and how.


Meeting the right person

by HoneyBee

It was 2004 and my second Burn. The year had been difficult. Going through a messy divorce from an unfaithful bully had forced me to send my son to live with his father, find new homes for my dogs and close the private school I had opened only 4 years before. The ex had maxed out my credit cards and emptied my bank account, leaving me with little more than my flight and ticket to that year’s much needed Burn.

Flying in to Reno, however, I realized that I had no idea how I was going to get from the airport to the Playa. Hmmm. Okay, so I took a piece of paper from my notebook and made a sign that read: Ride Needed, with the Burning Man emblem. Before I even got to baggage claim, I had a ride to the Burn Hostel in Sparks. Eight of us, and all our gear, crammed into a VW bus, laughing and talking the whole way.

At the Hostel, I met a woman named Platypus. We sat and talked, sharing life stories, when two men arrived, asking if anyone was ready to head to the Playa. We both jumped up and accepted. After stopping for supplies, the four of us drove to the Playa. One of the men and I soon discovered that we were compatible in a surprising number of ways. Also suffering a difficult year and experiencing his first Burn, he and I ended up spending the entire event together, sharing our stories, walking the Playa and getting to know each other.

At the end of the event, we swapped contact information and said our good-byes. A handful of emails and letters were exchanged during the weeks right after the Burn, but that was it. I bought an RV and started traveling around the country, my 2004 Burn a fond memory but nothing more.

Five years later, I ran back into him and talked him into going to Burning Man for his second time. He met me out on the Playa and the compatibility was exactly the same. It was as though we had stayed in touch all those years. At the end of the 2009 Burn, he knelt on the Playa and asked me to be his first and only wife and I accepted.

People say that Playa relationships are tricky. The excitement, synergy and dehydration can make for bad decisions. This was a good one. Still together, still compatible and still going to Burning Man, I finally met the right person.

I’ve been doing it wrong

Maybe I should have skipped the tie.
Maybe I should have skipped the tie.

Successful theme camps, it seems go through a common life-cycle.  According to organizers from various camps I’ve spoken to:

–          They start out as an incredible idea.  “Hey, do you think we can pull this off?”

–          And then they pull it off, and it’s amazing, and more people want to get involved, and a couple of growth years go by.

–          Then there comes a point where people who have spent so much time and energy and money on this project for the last several years ask themselves … “why are we doing this again?”

–          At which point they either recommit to taking the thing to an even crazier next level of awesomeness … or they let it go and find something else to do with their time.

Individual burners seem to have a similar life-cycle.  It’s noticeable how many serious long-time Burners I know have lost all interest in “The Man,” and most interest in the Temple, and keep only a low-grade interest in the art and spectacle.

Instead they keep coming back for the people:  to see friends who are lost to them the rest of the year, or to be there when their friends dress up and go crazy like they otherwise never would.  They’re here to chill out with their people, and everything else is secondary.  Go out to the fire sculpture and dance naked under the moonlight?  Maybe, but … their friends are all right here, with deck chairs and whisky.

I’ve noticed the change in myself, and have come to the gradual conclusion that – at least for me – I’ve been doing it wrong. (more…)

My First Day in Black Rock City


by Kenny Reff


The only goal I had for my first full day at Burning Man was to get to the grass and shade camp.

According to the What Where When guide, there’s a camp on Edelweiss that gifts a sanctuary of honest-to-god damp sod under the shade. What better destination for this 105-degree day?

Burning Man Pt2 - 1

It’s my first Burning Man. Being 50+ and from the East Coast, I didn’t know a soul I could invite to join me. So I flew out here on my own and made my home in the walk-in camping area. I look one way and see Black Rock City; look the other way and all I see is the sprawling high desert and barren mountains. It’s beautiful, plus you can actually get some sleep when you want to.

It’s 10am… time to climb on my sparkling new Walmart Huffy and peddle into the city. But within minutes, I am compelled to make my first detour. Little did I know this would be the theme of the week. (more…)

The Stars’ War


by Amélie Longuet


There was once an awakening, a body outlet, a wonderful escape to the beyond. I was there, lying in the heart of the mob. My soul stretched outward with an open heart. Something within me aspired to salvation.

In the twinkling of an eye, at the location of the pineal eye, my vision went blind. These are voices that I was hearing, those of extra-terrestrial presences. When each came up to me, she carried a common message. They called me the Earth, they called me planet, they talked to me, Pachamama. The moment stretched beyond time and space, it crossed the heavens and the strata up to this place where ideas grow to infinity. I was all ears, transported to the junction of the worlds. A lunar energy was exposing me to the system. At that time, Mars was at its closest. Venus which, albeit respectfully, tends to congratulate my background and justify my cracks. I was called perfect. My heart, far too incarnate, dissolved into particles of nothingness. The blue planet filled my chakras, I became all at once. The voice of the multiple dimensions were answering, one by one, each of my existential questions. It remained a part of me, maybe ego, which was surprised and flattered. It seemed to me I was expected to have the awareness of a star.


Since I was made with a free will, I was asked to participate in consciousness. Whatever its form, it was very a matter of my seeds. My sacred qualities, bauxite and oxygen, carbon and mitochondria are called to fertilize the entire universe. I am to become an apprentice and wisely trust. They invited me to grow in the outstanding free sharing. I was fauna and flora. The universe had provided us with all his treasures. He counted on us to make good use. (more…)

Burner Express Offers Bus Service to and from Black Rock City

No, not this bus. (Photo by Brian Erzen, 2010)
No, not this bus. (Photo by Brian Erzen, 2010)

In an effort to reduce traffic and limit the environmental impact of our event, Burning Man organizers are offering the Burner Express bus service with pickups in San Francisco and the Reno airport to Black Rock City and back. This service offers early arrival, speedier entrance, ticket pick up, reserved camping and quicker departures.

Burner Express is ideal for participants flying into the event and for Burners involved in art projects and theme camps having their gear hauled in by campmates. Tickets start at $60 one way from the Reno-Tahoe International Airport and $95 one way from the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. Additional charges apply for extra luggage or for a stop at a grocery store in Reno. Departures begin from both locations Saturday, August 24 and return trips begin Friday, August 30.

Not this one either. (Photo by Scott Kentros, 2010)
Not this one either. (Photo by Scott Kentros, 2010)

Large motor coach buses will take Burners to Gerlach, where they will hop on smaller buses for the ride into Black Rock City. There will be a “bus only” lane to sidestep traffic backups at Gate and Greeters, and bus passengers will have their own Will Call station for speedier ticket pick up. (Please note: ONLY Burner Express and Green Tortoise buses are permitted in the bus lane.)

Once inside BRC, bus riders have the option of camping in a reserved camping section on the 6 o’clock access road or taking shuttles out to 3 o’clock or 9 o’clock along G Street.

For more information, see the FAQ on our Burner Express page.

To purchase tickets, visit the Burner Express website.

BRC Drone Summit for Droners & UAV Operators

Bzzzzzzzz! (photo via Wired UK)
Bzzzzzzzz! (photo via Wired UK)

[Editor’s Note: for current information about drone operation in Black Rock City, visit our Drones and Lasers page.]

You may have noticed a proliferation of drones (those zippy little helicopter gizmos) humming around the skies of Black Rock City in recent years … or you’ve enjoyed the amazing photos and video footage they’ve shot over our fair city. Well, now that there’s so many of them, let’s make sure we’re all droning safely and in a coordinated way to avoid any mishaps, shall we? Right.

So … are you a drone or UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) operator? Or are you thinking about becoming one? Are you planning to bring one (or several) to Black Rock City? Will you be using a camera mounted on a UAV to take images in BRC? Are you looking to connect with drone operators for a playa project? Are you just interested in learning more about those flying things?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are invited to join us for the first ever Black Rock City Drone Summit. This will be an opportunity to share information about your projects and to help make Black Rock City an innovative, educational and fun Drone Zone.

WHEN: July 17th, 2013 @ 6:30PM
WHERE: BMHQ and via web-conference

Can’t make it? Please send a summary of your project and ideas to and we’ll get you connected to summit notes and future discussions.