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Burning Man Named Largest ‘Leave No Trace’ Event in the World

October 29, 2003 Reno, Nev. – Black Rock City LLC, the organization that hosts the Burning Man event, once again passed its annual clean-up inspection this month. The inspection is conducted by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on the Black Rock Desert in Northern Nevada, where the annual arts event is held over the Labor Day week.

Dave Cooper, Manager, Black Rock Desert, National Conservation Area, comments: “Black Rock City LLC has once again exceeded BLM’s cleanup standards and expectations. The organization not only practices good public land use ethics, it also teaches this ethic to all participants at the event each year. This makes Burning Man the largest ‘Leave No Trace’ event in the world.”

The annual inspection is one of a series of inspections conducted by the BLM to ensure that Burning Man adheres to its principle of “Leave No Trace.” Based on a random computer-generated selection process, three transects of 1000 feet by 150 feet within the plot of land where the event is held were inspected. Another inspection is scheduled for May 2004 to check the state of the playa following the winter weather.

According to Tony Perez, manager of the clean-up efforts, “We have once again witnessed the ‘magic disappearing city’ as a metropolis of more than 30,000 participants vanished without a trace. Participants in our event made this possible, taking responsibility for their own impact on the land. This year we also adopted a number of new clean-up methods to ensure that we continue to be the gold standard that the BLM uses to compare all the other groups that enjoy the use of public land.”

The Burning Man organization dedicates significant resources to event cleanup efforts. A crew ranging from fifteen to sixty have been working on the project since the event ended on September 1, including many Nevada residents from the local Gerlach area and Reno.

According to Larry Harvey, Founder and Director of the Burning Man organization, “We are very pleased to once again have exceeded the expectations of BLM and will continue to set our own high standards based on the principles of Leave No Trace. We hope that other organizations around the world will follow our example and make a commitment to educating their participants about environmental impact and responsibility.”

Burning Man Background
For thirteen years, the Black Rock Desert outside of Reno, Nevada, has been home to the increasingly popular and influential Burning Man event. The annual event, which began on a beach in San Francisco in 1986, has grown to attract more than 30,000 participants annually, from every state of the Union and twenty-two countries worldwide. Based on corporate accounting and participant survey data, the organization estimates that it contributes $10 million annually to Washoe County, including real estate taxes, vehicle and equipment rental, and the money that its participants spend on groceries, supplies and lodging on the way in and out of the event. The organization also contributed approximately $600,000 in 2003 to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for land use for the area where it stages its event.

For more information please contact Tom Clark, KPS3, 775.686.2115