Our community isn’t building Black Rock City this year, but we know some of you may still be itching to breathe in that dusty playa air.
In recognition of the impacts of the global health crisis we are all facing, and to help maintain positive relationships with local Nevada communities, Burning Man Project highly discourages people visiting the Black Rock Desert in the immediate future. Read on for more information.
IMPACT ON THE LOCAL COMMUNITIES
For nearly three decades, the Burning Man community has been a partner with, and had an impact on, the communities between Reno and Gerlach. We are lucky to have positive collaborations and relationships in these communities. This is a moment where we must all think beyond ourselves and understand our impact on the collective.
The rural communities in Northern Nevada often have fewer local resources and a higher distance for access to advanced health care. As a community and culture, we must do our part to help flatten the curve and not spread the coronavirus to our neighbors and friends in Nevada.
Remember too that different communities, and different individuals in those communities, may have contrasting preferences and ideas about visitors. Some may want the increased tourism, and others may not want outsiders.
For more information from these communities, be sure to consult these resources:
THE PLAYA MIGHT BE CLOSED OR IMPASSABLE
We have been advised by the Bureau of Land Management that they may close the playa during the weeks before and during the original Black Rock City 2020 dates. Be sure to check BLM’s website or the latest information. It’s critically important that we all comply with BLM restrictions and regulations. It is also possible the road into the area may have a roadblock allowing only locals with ID. Unauthorized camping on the playa can put you and our community at risk.
Eight vehicles were reported hopelessly stuck in mud over Memorial Day weekend. Don’t be one of them! Getting stuck on the wet playa drains local resources when you have to get rescued, and it damages the playa surface. Remember the desert is dangerous and vast, and wet spots are where you least expect them, no matter what time of year. You could also potentially be a day’s walk from help under hot, dry conditions.
What are the current Covid restrictions in place in Nevada? Governor Sisolak has your answers here. The Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health is also an excellent resource (and has a great Burning Man page to boot).
You may have an impact on local businesses. The businesses in Wadsworth, Nixon, Empire, and Gerlach may not be open to visitors. We all want to support the local economy, but we also don’t want to jeopardize residents’ access to the resources closest to them, and these stores may have limited supplies. The Nixon and Wadsworth stores, on tribal lands, have controls in place and a notice on the front door.
Roads may not be open. Check the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) map, website, and Twitter page for updated info on road closures and conditions. As of this writing, State Highways 445 and 446 have closures affecting non-residents and non-tribal members. Cattle-guard replacement along Highway 447 started on May 26.
How about Pyramid Lake? Pyramid Lake itself is officially closed to recreation and non-local traffic with no opening date yet set.
Please remember your choices can have ripple effects far beyond you and your group.
Check out this piece from The Sierra Nevada Ally, where Stacey Wittek, Chief Executive Officer for Friends of the Black Rock High Rock discourages rogue camping in the Black Rock Desert this season.
Please also remember that Fly Ranch is private property and is currently closed to visitors. Guided nature walks and events are canceled for the foreseeable future. Do not go to Fly Ranch! If you’re interested in visiting Fly Ranch in the future, sign up for the Fly Ranch newsletter.
We all want to be out there just as much as you do, and we hope to see you in the dust next year. Stay safe.
Top photo from Leori Gill