Burning Man Expansion Moves Forward

Organizers of the annual Burning Man Festival are moving forward on a plan to increase the maximum capacity allowed for the event held in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. And, unlike previous years, there is no opposition from environmental groups.

Black Rock LLC officials have submitted the request to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the agency that oversees the desert and has the final say. The event, scheduled for Aug. 27 to Sept. 3, is scrutinized in many areas including its environmental impact before a special recreational permit is approved.

The public comment period, open until April 16, had not received any complaints at press time from the Sierra Club or similar organizations regarding increasing the capacity cap from 58,000 to 70,000 over the next five years.

“Organizers have been doing a great job of cleaning up and leaving no trace,” said BLM Black Rock Field Office’s Cory Roegner. “I think they’re also providing a lot of economic benefits to northern Nevada, which I think members of the public are responding to.”

Burners from around the world travel through cities including Reno, Empire and Gerlach and the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe reservation to get to the festival site and reportedly spend about $10 million during the week-long event.

Festival staff then spend several months after the event ends clearing the 5-square-mile section of desert of all debris down to the tiniest costume sequin as part of its “Leave No Trace” policy.

BLM officials plan to decide on the issue by early June.