Thousands of people gather once a year in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert to create Black Rock City. The event, called Burning Man, describes itself as “a vibrant participatory metropolis” and celebrates ten principles: radical inclusion, gifting, decommodification, radical self-reliance, radical self-expression, communal effort, civic responsibility, leaving no trace, participation and immediacy.
Photo by Victoria Benmussa; Black Rock Desert, Nevada, USA
We’re kicking off the weekend with a photo collection from last week’s Burning Man event in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert – the largest Leave No Trace event in the world, authorized under the most complex special recreation permit issued by the BLM. All photos were taken by BLM employees assisting with event safety, logistics and more.
This alien looking geyser on the edge of Black Rock Desert is actually man made. Man made by accident, that is.
The first of the two geysers on Fly Ranch was created nearly 100 years ago as part of an effort to make a part of the desert usable for farming. A well was drilled and geothermal boiling water (200 degrees) was hit. Obviously not suitable for irrigation water, this geyser was left alone and a 10 to 12 foot calcium carbonate cone formed.
In 1964 a geothermic energy company drilled a test well at the same site. The water they struck was that same 200 degrees - hot, but not hot enough for their purposes. The well was supposedly re-sealed, but apparently it did not hold. The new geyser, a few hundred feet north of the original, robbed the first of its water pressure and the cone now lays dry.
This second geyser, known as Fly Geyser, has grown substantially in the last 40 years as minerals from the geothermal water pocket deposit on the desert surface. Because there are multiple geyser spouts, this geyser has not created a cone as large as the first, but an ever growing alien looking mound. The geyser is covered with thermophilic algae, which flourishes in moist, hot environments, resulting in the multiple hues of green and red that add to its out-of-this-world appearance.
Did you know that the popular arts festival Burning Man occurs on BLM public lands in Northwest Nevada? Each year, tens of thousands of people travel to the Black Rock Desert Playa to participate in this unique community event. Burning Man takes place on approximately 4,400 acres of public land for a nine-day period – making “Black Rock City” one of the largest cities in Nevada.
The BLM works with event organizers to ensure measures are implemented that provide for a safe environment where participants can enjoy the event while respecting fellow “burners” and protecting the fragile desert ecosystem. Burning Man is authorized under the largest, most complex special recreation permit (SRP) issued by the BLM. Under this permit, the event organizers agree to follow stipulations related to event set-up and signage, public access, traffic control, resource management, fire management, dust abatement, security and public safety and sanitation in addition to practicing leave-no-trace principles and practices. The outcome of this team effort is the establishment of a mid-sized city in the desert for an amazing event, followed by its complete removal, leaving this special area of public lands, the Black Rock-High Rock-Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area, in its remote unspoiled condition.
Nationally, the BLM utilizes SRPs to manage specified recreational uses of the public lands and related waters. They are issued as a means to manage visitor use, protect natural and cultural resources, and provide a mechanism to accommodate commercial recreational uses.
This year, Burning Man will take place from August 24 through September 1, marking its 14th year on “the playa” and the largest leave-no-trace event in the world. Photos by BLMer Bob Wick from the 2012 Burning Man event.
CLICK HERE for more information about SRPs and this year’s Burning Man event.