Permit tribulations for Burning Man 2019

Mar 25, 2019

It seems that having difficulty obtaining consent and permits from authorities is a universal problem for Burner events, and the original is not exempt.

Burning Man details its difficulties to align with recommendations (372 page document and 11 technical reports) by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) here. This authority is responsible for issuing a new 10 year permit, so the outcome of the permit application will affect this year’s event.

Most of the proposed changes outlined in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Volume 1 and Volume 2 certainly appear at odds with the 10 Principles. They include proposed and wide reaching requirements such as for Burning Man to:

  • provide waste management
  • install kilometres of perimeter fencing
  • hire a private security company to screen all vehicles for drugs and weapons at any entrance point.

Arguably BLM’s most audacious request is for Burning Man to pay for maintenance of the main road in and out of Black Rock City, Country Road 34, which could run into the millions of dollars. These measures are not only against the spirit and foundations of Burning Man, they appear inconsistent with recommendations BLM have made elsewhere. In real terms, consequences would also mean increases in ticket prices, substantially extended waiting times and an overall impact with the presence of barriers and search and seize teams.

What can you do to help to address these concerns and encourage more appropriate measures?

Burning Man is calling on all those who care about Leave No Trace and the preservation of the Burning Man experience to submit a public commendation by 29 April via the BLM website or email Please read all relevant documentation as comments should be informed, constructive and substantive in order to be helpful.


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