Burning Man, BLM Tighten Management of BRC Entry

Black Rock City 2011, Photo by Luke Szczepanski
Black Rock City 2011, Photo by Luke Szczepanski

Burning Man and the Bureau of Land Management have begun tighter management of the entrance gate to the Burning Man event. Measures are being taken to ensure camping is occurring in designated areas and to manage overall population of the event.

The new entrance controls will likely result in increased wait times at the Main Gate, participants who are not part of existing camps will be directed to camp on the outer fringes of Black Rock City between 3 o’clock and 5 o’clock. Additional streets have been constructed (the streets of M & N, from 7:00 to 10:00) to assist in these efforts.

The changes were agreed to by Burning Man and BLM to protect the health and safety of participants.

About the author: Burning Man Project

Burning Man Project

The official voice of the Burning Man organization, managed by Burning Man Project's Communications Team.

39 Comments on “Burning Man, BLM Tighten Management of BRC Entry

  • David in SF says:

    I take it by the need to add new roads that it is due to population growth, yes?

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  • lysenko says:

    Um, wtf? Seems like a policy this specific could only have been created in response to a concern more specific than “health and safety.”

    Did you catch a bad case of “do what we tell you” from the cops, or what? Throw our collective curiosity a bone.

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  • j goelz says:

    WTF!!! And of course as usual the BORG roles over and lets the cops of whatever sort, walk all over us. Maybe it is time to find another venue on private land.

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  • j goelz says:

    WTF!!! Of course as usual the BORG roles over and lets the cops, of whatever sort, walk all over us. Maybe it is time to find another venue on private land.

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  • I guess someone should update Google Maps…

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  • Anymouse says:

    Way to release this information AFTER my friend spent seven hours waiting to get in last night. Lemme guess, the cops just made up a new rule and you’re giving them carte blanche to enforce it. It’s unsafe to have too many people in the city, right? Better make them wait half a day in a metal box in the desert to preserve health.

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  • Bacchus says:

    The BMORG has little choice in such matters. The BLM is the ultimate authority on that patch of dirt, and the permit to hold the event (publicly available) spells this out.

    “Agreed Upon” is technically a correct term, but you “agree” to pay your taxes with about as much enthusiasm. The BLM can shut the whole damn thing down and send people home if they so choose. It sounds like this was the best solution available.

    BLM controlling GATE? I’m sure that went over well.

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  • Bill Deal says:

    We quit going 3-4 years ago because there are to many rules. BM is no longer what it was, we have started out own once a year camp out still on blm land it does belong to the people … and and have no problems ,, of course there are way fewer people too.But I find for a non commercial even it cost to much and there are to many rules,cops causing way to much trouble.. Not worth it to me.

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  • Elim says:

    I agree, shut it down for 1 year and then see if the county asks for it back, the BLM can do with out BMO, NOT Gerlach though. Regional seems to be the way to go from now on… To many rules, demands and rolling over by the BMO. Bureaucracy ruins Art.

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  • Elim says:

    “The BMORG has little choice in such matters.” Seems self fulfilling, Lets hen replace the BMORG with those who DO have a choice.

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  • Elim says:

    Also Cap ticket Sales Always allow for edge parking, and QUIT SETTING UP Ticket traps at the gate!?!?!?!??!?!

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  • Cookie says:

    My biggest fear is not that this continues at BM, but that local cops steal the idea and start doing this kind of crap at regional events. As the gate coordinator for a state regional, I know every single cop that they gets turned away from our burn. In our state, cops don’t have home addresses on their drivers licenses. They have PO boxes. You can’t have a PO box on your license here unless you’re a cop or politician. I think real ID makes that national.

    A fast way to turn away an under cover pig at your regional, check their licenses at the gate or greeter station. If their address has a PO box, as they sign the waiver paper work say, “Also, could you please include your badge number and agency, you’ll notice it specifically says on the form, ‘I’m not an acting in any capacity for any law enforcement agency’ on the form. If you’re going to sign it, I’ll be needing your real legal information.”

    They hand you the form and leave. They hate it when you know more than you should.

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  • cELlery says:

    Cookie, undercover cops don’t have to disclose they’re working undercover, no matter what the forms say. They can deny badge numbers, etc., AND how do you know they’re not politicians, etc.?

    Most Burners don’t want their licenses checked at any gate; I’ve never seen this done at our SoCal regionals.

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  • Chicken John says:

    yup. go ahead, sue pershing county… what’s the worst that can happen? the “I told you so” are piling up over hear. I glean no pleasure in the BMorgs idiocy making people wait in lines who didn’t do anything wrong. when will the people throw out the current leadership and get some people in there that make sense?

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  • tyronus says:

    this is not good news, no matter which way you look at it. the population cap was increased, and more tickets sold — in part as a means to reduce scarcity, and obviously as a way to make a few more $$.

    but the event’s rapidly increasing popularity is forcing the organizers to comply ever more with the BLM and law enforcement (who seemed, in my opinion really uncool this year – and I’ve heard that a lot of the law enforcement community believe they have a moral obligation to curtail unlawful activities in BRC).

    So maybe, finally, this is how “the man” will be able to exact change upon The Man. Oy vey – I hope the community doesn’t suffer for it.

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  • tim says:

    I just got back from the burn. Leaving friday to have zero exodus. HOWEVER entry was a complete disaster. On sunday, we were driving along smoothly until 35 miles south of gerlach. We then had bumper to bumper for 10 hours to the gate. People falling asleep while waiting for stretches of 90 minutes at a time. There was zero blm presence doing any traffic monitoring. This new “partnership” is idiotic. Will call was overflowing with no one monitoring parking, people blocking eachother in. 4000 OMG sale ticket holders trying to get tickets. They also had all six lanes of entry traffic stop at the gate to let any will call people cross all six lanes instead of splitting will call off at the beginning when its just one lane. I’ve been attending since 2001 and always arrived with a feeling of happiness to be “home”. Now everyone is arriving half asleep, paranoid of being pulled over for going 6mph, and completely pissed off. Let me tell you that is a dangerous way to start setting up camp. Safety? Health? There truly is a brain trust running this thing.

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  • Shelley says:

    Expensive, Hot, Dusty, and a drag to get in. why bother?

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  • Mateusz says:

    Soon there will be time to make alternative Burning Man Festival…

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  • Jim T. says:

    Here in Georgia, I have had a PO Box address on my license for over 10 years. Perfectly fine in this state and definitely not a cop.

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  • Bronco Bob says:

    I’m kinda thinking BM has just gotten too big. Too fat. Too cumbersome. Legs can’t support its own weight (think of the descendents in the movie “Wall-e”). I thought it was on the verge of too big when it hit around 40k Burners. I can’t even contemplate trying to go at 60k attendees. (That said, a few friends from different points of the country and I were going to go last year but the ticket sales thing was such a disaster, we couldn’t plan for it so skipped it.)

    If the road to BRC from I-80 were 4 lanes with a wide shoulder, sure. Or the existing two lanes with a full lane-width shoulder, maybe. But it’s just insane now, IMO.

    I think everyone–all constituents including the BM Org, BLM, Pershing County, et al–would be better served if the event were restricted to, say, 40,000. Period. First come, first serve for ticket sales (aside from Theme Camps and their support peeps).

    I think it would be wise for the management of BM to hit the PAUSE button, rethink things, scale back the size of the event, and just accept that there is a threshold where things can’t be controlled, organized, done well. And I think that tipping point was back when the event went past 40,000.

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  • Ken Pace says:

    I am 100% in favor of a new site on private land.

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  • JohnnyBitchin says:

    Just left the Playa this morning….with all the “extra” people is was in my opinion a cluster fuck………..I was camping at “K” Kowtow and 3:45….people in cars just driving around like they were staying at a KOA Camp ground….lots of wantabe Burners..I left this morning because I KNEW it is going to be a big mess on Exodus…by the way I heard on BRC Radio when I was splitting that the new number was if you can believe 70,000…..wow…

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  • ed says:

    I am a friend of smiley. Only cj will get that. Most of you bitch and complain yet you keep talking about “the event”. The only way to change things is vote with your feet. If you do not like the beast that it has become, then starve the monster. Don’t go. Stay home, make art for >YOUR< community . The playa is just land.

    p.s. chick, you are going to make an outstanding father, much like j.l.

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  • Edwierd says:

    they wasted a lot of time trying to make a case. everyone I talked to didn’t fall for there ploys. what an amazing time!

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  • Daniel says:

    What are the details? When was this policy put in place? When I was waiting at the gate, BLM claimed that burning man oversold the tickets (e.g. you oversell a flight because you don’t expect everyone to fly.) Is there truth to that or is it a rumor?

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  • Donna says:

    “participants who are not part of existing camps will be directed to camp on the outer fringes of Black Rock City between 3 o’clock and 5 o’clock.”

    Seriously? Non-theme camp burners are going to be segregated and restricted on where they can camp? So if you’re not with a theme camp you have to go to the back of the bus? How radically exclusive.

    What determines a theme camp? Can one person be their own theme camp? Who determines whether or not you’re a theme camp and worthy of camping outside the 3-5 location. Sounds like a whole lot of judgement which makes me really sad. Black Rock City is the one last place where everyone is equal.

    Telling people that they have to camp in a restricted area because they are not part of a theme camp is telling them they are different and that they are not as important as the rest of the citizens of BRC.

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  • Brook says:

    Donna,,I TOTALLY agree with you, and I will no longer pay to enter,,in other words, I am voting with my feet. I am not going any more.

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  • Brook says:

    Oh, one more thing, now that I think of it,,how many of you are interested in paying this kind of entry fee to be classified/categorized and in the event you are not a theme camp member,,into the back sticks you go,,wanna b’s was a term that was used in one of the prior posts,,this event, has clearly grown into a traditional community. In my opinion.

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  • Best says:

    ““participants who are not part of existing camps will be directed to camp on the outer fringes of Black Rock City between 3 o’clock and 5 o’clock.”

    Seriously? Non-theme camp burners are going to be segregated and restricted on where they can camp? So if you’re not with a theme camp you have to go to the back of the bus? How radically exclusive.”

    Donna, here’s another way to look at this…..before they told people who weren’t in theme camps (meaning those of us who submitted our proposals, did the lottery and got placement prior to the event) people were just showing up and trying to claim any seemingly available open piece of space. Claim-jumping and land grabbing was a pretty big issue where I was. There’s always been a difference between reserved space and open camping…this time it just so happened that more people got reserved spots.

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  • Buttercup says:

    The wait at the gate was definitely an issue. I am hoping the afterburn report will clarify and I’m sure BMORG will analyze and improve. I personally had an epic burn anyway. Volunteering is always a big part of the experience for me and I highly recommend it. If there is something you think you can help improve, stepping up to pitch in instead of bitching is a great option.

    And if you don’t like burning man anymore and think it’s a cluster, and the org sucks etc. etc., and you don’t want to help out, i hope you don’t come. Go enjoy something else. None of us out there will miss you.

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  • Angel says:

    This was the hardest year as individuals to find any good sites, we arrived (after hours starring from afar in gridlock sorry mean gerlach we got on the playa to find BLOCKS after BLOCKS of “taken” spots marked by a stick or a flag we drove down the “open camping” areas to find them all taken, once again someone with to much time on their hands trying to come up with a great idea? STOP people your making it worse each year!!!

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  • Karen says:

    As a first time solo burner, I went in early morning of 29th, took me less than an hour to get into the playa from the gate, after my dust angel and all!! =)

    Finding a spot to camp was kinda tricky, after roaming an hour or so, I finally gave up looking for closer site and resided in Laissez-faire and 7:30.
    It was kinda windy back there, putting up the monkey hut was a bit tough, but was manageable given that I only less than a hand full of camping experience.

    Was planning to leave on early Monday morning, but heard of BMIR that there might be a storm/ lockdown situation on Monday noon time, so I spend the early Sunday morning hours to tear down my monkey hut, packed everything in the van.

    Went out to watch the temple burn, and left playa around 2:30-ish am.
    I got to the entrance/ main road by 5:30/ 6 am.

    I do agree that some camping restriction is needed for those late nite arrival.
    I was almost ran over by a car in two occasions at nite while biking.

    I was expecting a hot, dusty, tough week.
    And it turns out to be an amazing experience, the art and the artist that I’ve met.
    The amazing images that I get to take.
    For sure I will go again, but this time for a full week experience.

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  • Theryl McCoy says:


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  • Noisy says:

    Capping attendence is a great idea. Everyone wants things to grow and change but saturation IS possible. When it’s not fun anymore because of ‘wannabes’ and excruciating line-ups, then perhaps that point has been reached. Everything must come to an end.
    I was there in 95. There were 10,000 people and that was twice as many as the year before. It was magical.

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  • smitten says:

    Your story is bs and in no way factual. Do some more drugs and get back to us.

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  • Curator says:

    For those of whom don’t know; there is a reason for a wait in a line & limited general camp availability

    1. If any part of the event was easy ~ it wouldn’t be the event it’s become in the last 8-10yrs: theme camps provide the experience of the event & the one perk they get for all the back breaking work & effort is a reserved plot of space for their fellow camp mates

    2. If you are sick of lines and the deal factor; then register to be a theme camp or get involved with a registered camp and offer up your skills ~ whatever they are. If you care enough to complain, then channel the energy you use to complain & put it into productive use. There would be numerous camps that would love your support. They could provide you with an EAP (early arrival pass) & you would have the ability to arrive, get thru the gate early / avoiding lines & u could be there to be a part of the productive energy that it takes to build the most amazing city & community of do’ers on the planet

    3. I Challenge You: if you have a better place to be for a Labor Day week/weekend full of entertainment — offer it up & then go.. Cause BM has to be considered the top entertainment collaborative on the planet and has a growing following of an etho that we need more of in our everyday life

    I go to a lot of fun events & places where my hassle factor & effort doesn’t even compare to the effort put forth for the burn, but I wouldn’t trade those headaches, hassles & efforts for anything or anywhere else..

    It is what it is.. & it’s worth every bit of it ~ so to all of you committed burner faithful, THANK YOU for your time & commitment — it’s because of you and your generosity of self that we can have this experience

    BURN ON…

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  • Asoftime says:

    Burning man is giving the sheep to the wolves. Wake up and see that this organization only cares about your money.

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  • 11 year Burner says:

    And after all these years Larry still haven’t paved one goddamn street ;>)

    With all the BM cash that has been generated just in the last 5 years alone, I’m kind of amazed that Larry and crew just haven’t gone down to Utah and bought a remote canyon where they’d OWN the property and reduce the amount of govt. B.S. by about 75%.

    If Bonnaroo can buy 800 acres, and Coachella can buy the Polo Grounds and surrounding properties, why doesn’t Larry do the same thing?

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  • Pebbles says:

    Ok…I was there over this period (Aug 2013). Couple hours getting in, couple hours getting out. AMAZING time (again), fun, interested cops and BLM. I really don’t get what everyone is bitching about all the time. If you don’t want to go or wait or pay or camp at the back etc, don’t. We do not all need to hear about it.

    See you in the dust is a few weeks!


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