Burning Man Just Bought a Permanent Outpost in the Nevada Desert

By Alissa Walker on at

For the past few years the future of the most famous temporary city on Earth has been in limbo. The annual Burning Man festival has grown larger than its site can feasibly accommodate from an environmental perspective, causing some Burners to break off and start their own events. Now, the acquisition of property nearby might signal that Burning Man is about to put down some roots.

A post on the Burning Man Journal confirms that the nonprofit which manages the festival has purchased Fly Ranch, not far from the Black Rock City site that hosts up to 70,000 people each year. The ranch has 3,800 acres of desert, wetlands, and natural springs, including a geyser.

Although the festival has been held on Bureau of Land Management land, over the last few years, the festival has been at odds with the state of Nevada about use. Attendance was capped at 50,000 in 2011 by the then, after an environmental review, a new cap was set at 70,000 through 2016.

From the announcement, it sounds like this will be the nonprofit’s first of several land purchases, perhaps some of which will eventually serve as the new site of the festival or maybe a type of year-round conference centre. Although Burning Man organisers are still being a little coy about what might actually happen there:

You may be asking yourself, “What does this mean for us? What can we do with this? How will this benefit the community?” The answers will unfold slowly, over a period of time. We’re a long way from defining exactly what will happen at Fly Ranch, but it’s not too early to begin dreaming of the potential. We’re inspired by this milestone and hope you are too. At this stage there are simply more questions than answers.

Indeed. [Burning Man Journal]