The San Francisco-based organization that runs Burning Man has asked Nevada officials to let the annual arts festival grow to 100,000 people. That's up from the more than 79,000 people at the event last year.
"The playa is our home, and we want to ensure our ability to continue gathering there together each year," the company stated in a post on its website.
Among other things, Burning Man says it's lobbying for a change in the way visitors are reported. "In the past, BLM and Burning Man have counted staff, volunteers, and public health and safety personnel separately from the rest of the population. For example, in 2017 our allowable cap for participants was 70,000. The actual peak was 69,493. But the total number of people on site including staff, volunteers and public health and safety personnel was 79,379. In future years, the population cap will combine everyone except government personnel and Black Rock City infrastructure providers (think Porta Potties and water trucks)."
Burning Man began in 1986 in the San Francisco Bay Area with a few dozen attendees, growing year over year before moving to the Black Rock Desert in 1990. The event has since grown exponentially as it became popular with coastal Californians, including celebrities from Silicon Valley and Hollywood.
Now Nevada Bureau of Land Management officials are drafting new permit conditions to govern the event for the next decade, starting in 2019. Details of the current proposal before BLM can be viewed here.