The BLM’s demands to Burning Man

The Black Rock Desert may soon be the home of a new $1 million four-star resort so that government guests and employees can enjoy the luxuries of the playa later this summer.

Before granting Burning Man a permit to hold this year’s event, the Bureau of Land Management demanded organizers make life quite enjoyable for the feds during the annual festival’s duration. BLM Special Agent Don Love of Salt Lake City is behind these requests, which are ludicrous and show federal elitism.

Burning Man, a week-long annual event that coincides with the Labor Day weekend, is — according to several websites — an experiment in community, art, radical self-expression and radical self-reliance capped with the ritual burning of a large wooden effigy.

BLM, which oversees the festival’s security and safety, asked the Burners to furnish the agency with a ritzy desert resort to include air conditioning, couches, vanity mirrors, flushing toilets, washers and dryers and 24-hour access to ice cream and yogurt. Additionally, the BLM seeks the finest “bare minimum” in cuisine for the 15-20 government employees expected to monitor Burning Man. Among the culinary delights savored by BLM include Choco Tacos, sirloin and ribeye steaks and chilled 100 percent fruit juice.

So, this years Burning Man permit hinges on a government agency gone unchecked. What else is new, especially when the feds want a Waldorf Astoria Hotel in the middle of the Black RocK?

A former BLM director now working as a consultant for Burning Man called the request “BS” and we agree. If the feds are able to succeed in their demands with the Burners, which event comes next?

The wilderness gives people an opportunity to experience life with the restrictions imposed on them in a city. For several decades now, Burning Man has given thousands of attendees an opportunity to express themselves through a plethora of activities.

In order to meet the demands of serving the public at Burning Man, we are offering the BLM a better plan to save the festival organizers from wasting money and for the BLM to enjoy the pristine Nevada desert.

• Rent fifth-wheel trailers — perhaps three or four — to accommodate the government personnel and VIPs. Nothing is more team building than to have tight, yet comfortable quarters. Government medium-sized tents, the same accommodations many of our troops used in Afghanistan, would also make a nice substitute.

• Purchase a tub, washboard and nylon rope for laundry. Tie the rope between the trailers to allow the wind to dry clothes for free, thus giving them a natural smell and feel.

• Invest in Meals Ready to Eat or MREs, the self-contained packages of nourishment given a thumbs up by troops from around the world. Among the 24 entrees featured in MREs are Mediterranean chicken, beef roast, tuna and lasagna. Each package comes with a side dish and dessert and toilet paper, which leads into the next point.

• Augment with nature-friendly toilet paper, the tissues found in an MRE packet will save the need for installing toilets with running water. If little blue buildings complete with two stations — one for standing, the other for sitting — are good enough for Burners, then they are good enough for the feds. Think of it as manufacturing: Food in, waste out and that equates to the gist of this latest BLM request, and also of Love’s desire to have a personal bathroom trailer.

• Solve cold yogurt and ice cream dilemma. Dry ice has been a savior for campers and hunters for decades, and a dry ice block of 10 to 20 pounds will last for a day, so stock up for the week.

• Bring fans powered by a generator to beat the heat when temperatures hover near the century mark at the end of August. For visiting VIPs, arrange the coolers containing dry ice into a rectangle and throw an air mattress and sheet on them. Don’t forget the pillow.

To his credit, Nevada Sen. Harry Reid admonished the BLM as did other politicians: “Living with the elements is part of the experience.”

While thousands of people adjust to the living conditions in Burning Man City, the conclave housing about 60,000 Burners for a week, the BLM also has the ability to adjust, and not “burn” Burning Man with its far-fetched requests. After all, this is the desert … not downtown Las Vegas.

We’re disappointed with the BLM’s requests but not surprised. It’s time for the BLM to be sensible and stop their asinine demands.

Editorials written by the LVN Editorial Board appear on Wednesdays.


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