Federal Government Relations

Burning Man’s five-year Special Recreation Permit from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) expired in 2010.  Black Rock City LLC applied for a new five-year permit for 2011-2015 in late 2010.  Unfortunately the application process, which includes doing a new Environmental Assessment, has taken BLM longer than one year to process.  The result was a one-year extension of the 2006-2010 permit for 2011 while the Environmental Assessment for 2012-2016 began.

Based on the outdated parameters of the 2006-2010 Environmental Assessment, the 2011 permit limited Burning Man’s population growth to fewer participants than those who wanted to attend.  The result—Burning Man sold out for the first time in history.  See the Ticket Process AfterBurn for more details.

2011 also marked the first event cycle for new BLM Black Rock Field Manager, Rolando Mendez.  Overall, the permitting process for 2011 and the Environmental Assessment for 2012-2016 have gone very smooothly.  For the first time in Burning Man’s history the Environmental Assessment is being handled by a third-party contractor as the process has become too large for the BLM Winnemucca District Office to handle in-house.  After interviewing four very qualified applicants, BRC chose Aspen Environmental Group.  Largely driven by public comments, the Environmental Assessment is focusing on air quality, “night skies,” i.e., light pollution, and economic impact.  The Proposed Action that BRC is requesting is for Burning Man to grow organically up to 70,000 participants by the year 2016.  The project began in Spring 2011 and is scheduled for completion in Spring 2012.

Other Agency Relations

The list of government agencies cooperating with the Burning Man event has grown, so it’s worth mentioning and thanking them all for their support in creating a safe Burning Man event: Bureau of Land Management, Pershing County, Pershing County Sheriff’s Office, Washoe County, Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, Nevada Highway Patrol, Department of of Public Service Investigative Division, Nevada Department of Transportation, Freeway Service Patrol, Nevada State Health Division, Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribal Reservation, Humboldt General Hospital, CareFlight, Federal Communications Commission, Federal Aviation Administration and Nevada State Manufactured Housing Division.  Agency relations were extremely cooperative in 2011.  Highlights include working with new Pershing County Sheriff Richard Machado and new medical provider Humboldt General Hospital.

External Relations Team

Thanks to the help of dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers and staff, the Burning Man External Relations Team (XRT) hosted numerous tours of Black Rock City’s culture and infrastructure for visiting dignitaries from federal, state and local governments, as well as leaders from the Northern Nevada community.  XRT was able to accomplish and further our goals of extending our welcome to those beyond Black Rock City who directly or indirectly influence the success and impact of Burning Man beyond the trash fence, and providing them an educational on-playa experience they will never forget.

2011 guests included a delegation from the San Francisco Mayor’s office; Pershing County Library, Northern Nevada Chamber of Commerce, Nevada State Assembly, Lovelock Business owners, Pyramid Lake Tribal Reservation, Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce, Truckee Meadow Regional Planning Commission, Economic Development Authority, Union Pacific Railroad, Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority, Pershing General Hospital, Reno Green Team, Reno Mavericks, TrashPro’s, City of Reno and the Kiwanis Bike Program.  We also welcomed senior citizens groups from Gerlach, as well as first-timer senior groups from Lovelock and the Pyramid Lake Tribal Reservation.  We’re happy to report positive experiences from all guests, and hope to have many return in 2012.

The BRAT Pack

New for 2011 was the role of XRT Logistics Manager, which made the entire process run much more smoothly!  For the second year in a row “Time of Your Life Camp,” based out of Reno, graciously let XRT use the Black Rock Area Transit (BRAT) for tours.  It was wonderful to have such a reliable and amazing vehicle with such flexible and willing participants supporting our team.

The Rocket Bus, another of the XRT’s transportation vehicles also provided great support for our tours this year, and became a new team mascot (see above logo).  When it was not shooting across playa with guests new to Burning Man staring in awe out of its silver windows, XRT was happy to lend it to the ARTery to use for art tours.

Submitted by,
Ray Allen & Rosalie Barnes