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Feds announce Black Rock restrictions ahead of unofficial Burning Man gathering


More than 10,000 people are anticipated to be heading to the Black Rock Desert for an unofficial Burning Man gathering. The Bureau of Land Management, however, announced late last week a number of restrictions for the playa effective Aug. 18 through Oct. 31, 2021.

Restricted activities include building structures, fires other than campfires, burning structures or materials, igniting fireworks, shooting and dumping black and gray water onto the playa.

“We encourage public land users to enjoy their stay and remind them to respect the communities they pass through in route to public lands,” said Black Rock Field Office Manager Mark Hall. “We also want to stress that all visitors to the Black Rock Desert playa should be self-sufficient. There are no medical and emergency resources close to the playa and multiple emergencies may result in extended response times.”

No special recreation permits for activities on the playa are being granted.

A Facebook group for this year’s gathering — the second in a row due to Burning Man’s COVID-19 cancellations — was started to organize the unofficial events. Camps, traditional to Burning Man, are being mapped and participants said they are expecting about 10,000 people on the playa.

A “L.O.S.T. Guide” was published that identified resources for emergencies, first aid, bike repair, coffee and free massage. Volunteers are organizing the gathering. Events are planned on Saturday and Sunday this coming weekend.

The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe also issued reminders about rules on Indigenous lands. From the Tribe:

  • Visitors who wish to swim or camp around Pyramid Lake must purchase a valid tribal permit. Permits may be purchased at stores located throughout the tribal communities, or online at https://pyramidlake.us/permits or at the Ranger Station in Sutcliffe, Nev.  
  • The following areas are closed to the public: Needles area, Anaho Island, Marble Bluff Area, Beehives and the Pyramid/Stonemother.
  • The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe has adopted CDC mitigation measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including requiring masks, social distancing, and limiting the number of people within a confined area. If you are sick, stay home. 
  • There will be no trash collection services on the Reservation. Trash collection sites are reserved for visitors of Pyramid Lake. Trash and recycling locations can be found in cities and towns nearby outside of the Reservation. Please practice Leave No Trace principles.
  • Visitors must secure their loads in truck beds or trailers to prevent hazardous road debris. Secure your load with straps, rope, net and or tarps where appropriate.
  • When using safety chains with a trailer, ensure they are not dragging on the pavement to prevent wildfires.
  • The collection, excavation or vandalism of archeological artifacts is prohibited on the Reservation and public lands.
  • Speed limits will be strictly enforced. Be courteous to Tribal members as they cross the road or try to access businesses and services or their homes.
  • Please be respectful of the lake and land, as they are considered sacred and home to threatened and endangered species.

“Medical resources are very limited on the playa and reservation, so please recreate safely. All visitors to the region should be self-sufficient,” the Tribe said in a media statement.

Bob Conrad
Bob Conradhttp://thisisreno.com
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. He is also a part time instructor at UNR.