Little opposition over plan for bigger crowd at Burning Man

RENO, Nev. — When it drew much smaller crowds in the 1990s, the Burning Man festival generated strong opposition from the Sierra Club and other groups over its impact to the northern Nevada desert.

But with a week to go for public comment on it, organizers' request to boost the event's maximum allowable crowd size by 20 percent to 70,000 is attracting only scant opposition — and none from the environmental organization.

Veteran Sierra Club activist Tina Nappe of Reno attributes the reversal of the position to Burning Man organizers' track record of cleaning up and addressing environmental concerns at the largest outdoor arts festival in North America.

Black Rock LLC, which runs the weeklong celebration of radical self-expression and self-reliance leading up to Labor Day, recognizes the desert environment has limitations and strives to minimize environmental impacts, she said.

The federal Bureau of Land Management oversees the eclectic art and music gathering because it's staged on public land in the scenic, sprawling Black Rock Desert, about 100 miles north of Reno.

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