Video: The Black Rock Desert and Caravansary

Photo by Bob Wick, BLM Natural Resource Specialist
Photo by Bob Wick, BLM Natural Resource Specialist

The Black Rock Desert is a place unlike any other – a wide expanse of possibility set in the heart of the Black Rock Desert-High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area. This area is part of nation’s prized National Conservation Lands, a special designation given by the U.S. Government to some of the most scenic, culturally rich, scientifically important and yet least known public lands in the country. We’re lucky to build Black Rock City in this beautiful location, and we should be equally committed to respecting and protecting this special place.

The relationship between Burning Man and the Bureau of Land Management hinges on our mutual care for this exquisite desert. The BLM released a very friendly video showing how they do their part in protecting the land where we build Black Rock City. The video also features the Earth Guardians, the Burners who represent our communal effort to be environmentally responsible and respectful. Check it out:

Jayson Barangan, BLM’s Public Information Officer for Burning Man 2014, wrote in about the recent signing of the Special Recreation Permit (SRP) for the event. “With a 68,000 Burner threshold, this SRP is the biggest and most complex within BLM. Burning Man is a monumental logistical undertaking and through cooperative integration with BRC and multiple agencies and jurisdictions, the world’s largest Leave No Trace (LNT) is able to occur on federal public lands. LNT is one of the founding principles for Burning Man and is in unison with the SRP’s stipulations, whose chief priority is natural and cultural resource protection, as well as public safety.”

He also pointed out how this year’s Caravansary theme fits in beautifully with the heritage of the surrounding lands, which are National Landscape Conservation Lands (NLCS) lands administered by BLM. “There is a very interesting nexus between Burning Man’s theme this year, ‘Caravansary,’ and the Black Rock High Rock Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area (NCA), Jayson writes. “One of the cultural resources contained within the NCA is the Applegate Historic Trail, which is an emigrant trail used by early pioneers. It is the longest stretch of protected and intact emigrant trail in the USA. I think this particular resource dovetails very nicely with this year’s theme. The NCA also contains several designated wilderness areas; 2014 marks the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act.” Once again, Black Rock City is about to become a temporary oasis for this year’s Caravansary, just like the caravansaries of old.

It’s for the sake of this land and its heritage that we leave no trace of Black Rock City after our caravan moves on. If you want to contribute more to this effort, check out the Earth Guardians and consider joining up.

Photo by Bob Wick, BLM Natural Resource Specialist
Photo by Bob Wick, BLM Natural Resource Specialist

About the author: Jon Mitchell

I'm the managing editor at Burning Man. I wrote this book and this record. I co-wrote a big story about spending 24 hours at the Temple of Juno in 2012, which lives at templestories.com. I've been a Burner since 2008.

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