From: Mckinney, Chelsea M <>
Sent: Monday, June 7, 2021 9:42 AM
To: undisclosed recipients
Subject: Decision regarding permits and activities on Black Rock Desert playa 2021

Good Morning,

You are being contacted because you have reached out with questions or you have submitted an application for a commercial or organized group Special Recreation Permit (SRP) to come out to the Black Rock Desert playa this summer.

I am writing to inform you that the Bureau of Land Management, Winnemucca District, Black Rock Field Office (BLM), has made decisions regarding the activities mentioned above. These decisions have been made with Public Health and Safety, and Resource Protection in mind, and we hope that you all and other visitors will respect these decisions. The decisions are:

  1. No Organized Group SRPs will be authorized/issued. People are still welcome to visit the Black Rock Desert playa and camp.

  2. No Commercial/Vending SRPs will be authorized/issued. Camps must be self-sufficient. No deliveries, or services will be authorized. This includes porta-potties. Camps can get their own toilets, off of public land, and bring them out themselves, then return them. This must all be done by someone in your camp. No pumping services will be authorized.

The BLM will also be implementing Temporary Restrictions of the playa [July 1 through October 31]. These restrictions include:

  1. Commercial activities, as defined at 43 CFR 2932.5, are prohibited.

  2. Camping use is limited to the flat and un-vegetated playa surface.

  3. Building of structures is prohibited. A structure is defined as construction, placement or organization of parts, pieces, or objects that are not intended for sleeping, cooking, or protection from the elements, such as shade tents.

  4. Ignition of fires other than a campfire is prohibited, unless specified by a fire prevention order. Campfires may only be burned in containers that are sturdily elevated six (6) inches above the playa surface and in a manner that does not pose a risk of fire debris falling onto the playa surface. Plastic and nonflammable materials may not be burned in campfires. Burning of construction materials, pallets, or wood with screws or nails is prohibited.

  5. Possessing, discharging, using or allowing the use of fireworks, pyrotechnic or incendiary devices is prohibited.

  6. Possessing, shooting, or causing to burn; explosives or explosive material, to include binary explosive targets is prohibited.

  7. The discharge and dumping of grey water or black water onto the playa/ground surface is prohibited. Grey water is defined as water that has been used for cooking, washing, dishwashing, or bathing and/or contains soap, detergent, or food scraps/residue, regardless of whether such products are biodegradable or have been filtered or disinfected. Black water is defined as waste water containing feces, urine and/or flush water.

  8. Depositing human waste (liquid and/or solid) on the playa/ground surface is prohibited.

  9. Dumping or discharge of vehicle oil, petroleum products or other hazardous household, commercial or industrial refuse or waste onto the playa surface is prohibited. This applies to all recreational vehicles, trailers, motorhomes, port-a-potties, generators and other camp infrastructure.

  10. Storage of over 20 gallons of fuel must include secondary containment capable of holding and preventing leaks and spills on the playa surface. Storage of less than 20 gallons must include a spill pad or other measures to prevent leaks and spills. Secondary containment is defined as capturing the entire contents of the largest tank in the containment area in the event of a leak or spill.

  11. Unauthorized dumping or discharge of fresh water onto the playa surface in a manner that creates a hazard or nuisance is prohibited.

  12. Aircraft landing, taking off, touch and go’s, and taxiing is prohibited. Aircraft is defined in Title 18, U.S.C., section 31 (a)(1) and includes lighter-than-aircraft and ultra-light craft. However, in an emergency, fixed wing aircraft and helicopters that are providing emergency medical services are not prohibited.

  13. Possession of an open container of an alcoholic beverage by the driver or operator of any motorized vehicle, whether or not the vehicle is in motion, is prohibited. An open container is defined as any bottle, can, or other container which contains an alcoholic beverage, if that container does not have a closed top or lid for which the seal has not been broken. If the container has been opened one or more times, and the lid or top has been replaced, that container is an open container. The possession of an open container includes any open container that is physically possessed by the driver or operator or is adjacent to and reachable by that driver or operator. This includes, but is not limited, to containers in a cup holder or rack adjacent to the driver or operator, containers on a vehicle floor next to the driver or operator, and containers on a seat or console area next to a driver or operator.

  14. All motor vehicles must comply with the following requirements:

    A. The operator of a motor vehicle must possess a valid driver’s license.

    B. Motor vehicles and trailers must possess evidence of valid registration.

    C. It is prohibited to ride on the top of or outside of the passenger compartment (the area intended for sitting inside a vehicle).

    D. Motor vehicles, other than a motorcycle or golf cart, must be equipped with at least two working headlamps and at least two functioning red tail lamps. Motorcycles or golf carts require only one working headlamp and one working red taillight during night hours, from a half-hour after sunset to a half-hour before sunrise. Trailers pulled by motor vehicles must be equipped with at least two functioning tail lamps and at least two functioning brake lights.

    E. Motor vehicles, including motorcycles or golf carts, must display a red, amber, or yellow light brake light visible to the rear in normal sunlight upon application of the brake.

    F. Except for the flat and un-vegetated playa surface, all vehicle use is limited to designated vehicle routes (roads and ways).

    G. Motor vehicle is defined as any device designed for and capable of travel over land and which is self-propelled by a motor.

    H. Trailer means every vehicle without motive power designed to carry property or passengers wholly on its own structure and to be drawn by a motor vehicle, this includes camp trailers, pop-up trailers, 4’x7’ or larger flatbed trailers, enclosed cargo trailers, or RV style trailers.

  15. The possession and or use of lasers is prohibited. A laser means any laser beam device or demonstration laser product that emits a single point of light amplified by the stimulated emission of radiation that is visible to the human eye.

  16. The discharge of any firearm is prohibited within the flat and un-vegetated surface of the Black Rock Desert playa. Firearm means any pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun or other device which is designed to, or may be readily converted to expel a projectile by the ignition of a propellant. Discharge means the expelling of a projectile from a firearm. Discharge of firearms outside of the flat and un-vegetated playa surface requires a safe back shooting across or towards roads and trails is prohibited.

  17. The use or discharge of flame effects is prohibited. Flame effect is defined as the combustion of solids, liquids, or gases to produce thermal, physical, visual, or audible phenomena. This includes all flames that are automated, switched, pressurized or having any other action than simply being lit on fire; as well as projects using propane or other liquid or gaseous fuels.

We also ask that everyone continue to follow Leave No Trace principles and follow all other state and local laws.

Please be respectful of the communities and services you use when coming to the Black Rock Desert playa.

Please use best judgement and know your limits. The BLM wants visitors to have a good time when visiting public land but we want you to be safe. Be aware that Emergency Services (medical, fire, law enforcement) are limited around the area.

I want to thank you all for reaching out and being responsible recreationists. I hope to see you out on the Black Rock Desert playa this summer. If you have questions please email me to schedule a time to talk. Thank you.

Chelsea McKinney

Burning Man Project Manager
Bureau of Land Management
Winnemucca District
Black Rock Field Office

5100 E. Winnemucca Blvd.
Winnemucca, NV 89445

(775) 304-8216 mobile
(775) 623-1771 office

From: Hall, Mark E <>
Sent: Thursday, July 8, 2021
Free Playa Burners of Black Rock Desert NV

Rest assured a NEPA documentation for National Environmental Policy Act compliance is in the works and a Federal Register notice will be published any day. Ms. McKinney's letter was intended to notify the public of our intent, so they could plan accordingly and not be surprised when the documents were released and the restrictions put into place.

Please realize some of the restrictions are already in place given the authorities of the Federal Land Management Policy Act, the National Conservation Act and with the decision record of the Black Rock-High Rock Resource Management Plan. Years ago, the public had their chance to comment on those restrictions. A few like the aircraft landing will be taking a Federal Register notice.

People tend to forget two things: 1) their activities are in a National Conservation Area which are covered by other federal laws regulations and resource management plans; 2) some activities people want to do out there this year require a special recreation permit (and associated liability insurance and additional NEPA documentation). That is why there is a Burning Man special recreation permit.

Best, MEH

Mark Hall, PhD
Field Manager
Bureau of Land Management
Winnemucca District
Black Rock Field Office

5100 E. Winnemucca Blvd.
Winnemucca, NV 89445

Phone: 775-623-1500
Fax: 775-623-1592