Fly Ranch Exploratory Project

The Burning Man Project has announced that they are entering the preliminary stages of a development plan for the 4000 acre Fly Ranch, a property close to Black Rock City with a natural hot springs and a beautiful geyser. The Project describe the property as one of the “Wonders of Northern Nevada”. Their intention seems to be creating a year-round community there.

fly ranch geyser 4For years, members of the Burning Man organization have championed the vision of an artistic and ecological community, founded on the Ten Principles of Burning Man, on the Fly Ranch property. Nestled on the edge of the Hualapai Valley on the northeast corner of the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, this 4,000 acre site contains an abundance of natural resources and wonders that will serve as a world class ecological heritage site and living arts community.

fly ranchThe Burning Man Project is pleased to announce the initiation of the preliminary stages of the development of the Fly Geyser property. This exploratory phase involves negotiating agreements for the rights to the property, producing a request for proposal to generate feasibility studies and geological analysis regarding the use and development of the land. Following negotiation and due diligence, and with an agreement on purchase conditions, the Project will move on to the exciting next stages.

fly geyser mapThe Fly Ranch Project Plan, still in development, will consist of several phases. The first is the current exploratory and negotiation phase. The first priority will be preservation and access—as development of infrastructure begins, the public will be able to access the geyser area for the first time in many years. Access will be coupled with preservation measures. Early evidence of Project involvement with the property will be the appearance of art in the area—the first pieces of a planned world-class art and sculpture park.

Future phases and plans could involve other avenues to promote public interaction with the high desert environment—a more fully developed art park, camping facility, conference center, and an alternative energy showcase are components of the Project’s vision for the area.

The Burning Man Project plans are for use of the area in a sustainable manner, while working to protect this ecologically unique resource. With nearly 4,000 acres of varied ecology, the Fly Springs Project will preserve the most fragile components of this ecosystem, the Fly Geyser, while providing opportunities for enhanced human interaction with the ecosystem, including artistic, ecological, and technological components.

The Fly Ranch Project presents unlimited opportunities and challenges. We seek to unlock human creativity in this remote yet inspiring setting, yet we must tread lightly on the land so that its grandeur will endure for generations to come. We are excited to be beginning what we hope will be a great journey to bring the wonders of Northern Nevada to the Burning Man community and the public at large.

They’ve been thinking about developing this property for ages, and now they’re entering into a preliminary phase to consider what to do with it. What does this actually mean? It’s hard to say, but we wish them luck with their project anyway. The geyser sure is purty.

40 comments on “Fly Ranch Exploratory Project

  1. it’s a place of special beauty, rare on our planet’s surface. please don’t place any art of development anywhere near it! just because we are artists doesn’t mean we have the right to encroach upon the ecosystem with some sense entitlement that of our art will improve the area somehow…….protect it…….it would be absurd for burning man to abuse their new gift. if you can see it – even in the distance – it should not be constructed!

    • Seriously: why do you think they bought it? Prime plots or condos will have a view, and be viewable from it.

      Ironically, the geyser was created by man’s intrusion on nature. I suppose the Borg commodification and commercialization is fitting in a sick symmetry.

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  4. Might any person view this post and converse with any Burning Man Project board members, please request of them to vote to require of the BMOrg to send the 990 form of 2014 to the U.S. government by the due date within May of 2015, and publish, upon their website, the 2014 990 form, and their consolidated financial statements of 2014, of which, it was audited within January of 2015, and the event costs and revenues ledger of 2014 of that they require to be published by all regionals. In regards of an example of financial transparency of a 501(c)3, Kaboom, whom builds playgrounds, published their 2014 990 form, and their 2014 consolidated financial statements, including of disclosure of conflicts of interests, upon their website. In adddendum, view the website of Playa del Fuego, a 501(c)3 public benefit corporation, whom has published the event costs and revenues ledger of their regionals events upon their website.

    The BMOrg is of the ability to publish these documents on their website, but, the BMOrg will solely send the 990 form of 2014 to the U.S. government within November of 2015, publish this form within January of 2016, and the BMOrg will not publish their financial statements of 2014, and they will not publish their event costs and revenues ledger. This request is purposed to provide transparency towards donors of cash, stock, art, labour, and entertainment towards their $30.5 million of ticket buyers, in the place of hiding this information from donors for as long as they might, while stating of ‘we do not have the cash to pay you in a fair manner in due of we have expenses’ in the manner of their rubbish ‘Where Does Your Ticket Money
    Go’ document.

    In addendum, might any person converse with a Burning Man Project board member, request of them to vote to direct the BMOrg to treat the awesome artists in a fair manner, with a fair contract., and direct the BMOrg to show Gratitude, by their actions, towards the awesome artist groups.

  5. Sos- Thanks for doing the math- It’s staggering and yes, their greed is appalling. We also have to add in the taxes and fees they are charging at the back gate. Kenny can give you specific figures. Last time i talked to him he said it’s not worth it the BORG is so greedy none of the vendors can make money and none of the participants can get their stuff delivered on time. I went to fly ranch one time, it was purty and the water was warm great to have a mid-burn swim i have to admit

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  7. I think the information cited in this article is dated. I’ve heard that there no negotiations being conduced for the purchase of Fly Ranch. However, reliable rumors are circulating that the Project is currently negotiating for the purchase of another local attraction, the famous Big Rock Candy Mountain.

    This unique environmental wonder is known internationally as the “Land of Milk and Honey” because of its famous geyser and is peppermint streams, and already complaints about this transaction are flooding the Internet. Critics point out that harnessing this flow of milk and honey demonstrates an utter disregard for the needs of the lactose intolerant, while others feel that it unfairly exploits the labor of millions of bees that are the source of its honey.

    Scientific testing at the site reveals that its soil consists of refined sugar, known as” killer white”, leading many to conclude that any event staged here will generate thousands of cavities, particularly among children and young people—the most vulnerable members of our community. It is also asserted that this giant lump of hard candy is highly radioactive and has been observed to glow in the night.

    Representatives of the Burning Man Project claim that this will obviate the need for glow sticks at future events and is therefore pro-environmental, but many others assert this move is generated by pure greed (and love of sweets).

  8. Wow, as a may be first timer, I kinda don’t want to go after reading this. Is it still worth the time and money? Sp since I’d be riding my bike from Alaska to get there. And if some one has worked for years on a event, should’nt they get paid? I can’t think of a festivel this large where some one didn’t get some money. I’m an artist, and I like getting some cash for my work. I’ve given lots of it a away over the years but it was my choice.

  9. The article is a few years old, not much has happened since then. If the BM LLC continues with its present pace in regards to getting what they say done, it should be about 2025 before anyone has to begin to worry about anything. Besides, those things cost $ to build and run, BM will never have the money to see it through. It’s foolish day dreaming to think that enough people would want to travel to Gerlach to talk about BM, when the majority of people go to Gerlach for the party.

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  11. Bummer. I grew up spending time with my family soaking and bathing in the hot springs there. I have seen the ecological impact over the years of having Burning Man on the Playa. It is a fragile ecosystem that barely changed for 50+ years. Within the last 10 years, the habitat, water holes, and Playa terrain are being destroyed. Burners are not there for a couple of weeks….they are now there year round. I felt so sad when I was there for my family reunion this Fourth of July. The rains on the Playa and the imbeciles tearing it up, getting their cars stuck out there. Outsiders come in, unaware of how sensitive the habitat is, and drive all over it; drugged and drunk by the waterholes, contaminating them with feces and urine. It is an absolute disgrace. Tread lightly? Not even a possibility with the amount of traffic already there. Don’t be seduced by the money. It is not worth it. I know this is a rant, but I feel like my family is being robbed of our sacred gathering grounds. It has been seized by city slickers who have no common sense about fragility of this unique and pristine landscape. I say leave the gate locked and the no trespassing signs up.

    • “Burners are not there for a couple of weeks….….they are now there year round. ” No, Burning Man happens for a limited time, it is not responsible for what others do when it is not happening. Ironically though, the behavior you speak of is what those who long for BM returning to it’s glory days encourage, as Fourth of Juplaya is often touted as ‘what BM use to be.’

    • Hello Katrina,
      That must be so cool to grow up around the Geyser and soaking in the water!!
      I have been searching for a very long time to find Mr David that has access and shows the geyser. Would you happen to know who to contact or if you have Davids info to come see this amazing place!
      Many thanks for your help!!

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  13. Smells of big big Bay Area money soon to become a non-profit under the corrupt name Art. Any areas humans “develop” become shit-holes. Sewers and landfills running under the playa? Fresh water from where? RV parks pumping geyser water into cement ponds? That must be why it’s called “Fly Ranch”

    • Any areas humans “develop” become shit-holes.
      You do know that Fly Geyser is the result of ‘human development’ right?

  14. With any luck the property will remain as it is: a beautiful unspoiled natural resource. If BM wants a conference center and a camp ground in the Black Rock Desert so much why haven’t they delivered on their promise to do just that with the Gerlach Shower Property located in the town of Gerlach. A property purchased over ten years ago on the promise that it would be developed. The architectural drawings presented to the town of Gerlach in an attempt to persuade the town to allow the BM purchase of this property featured gardens and yurts. BM also promised that the purchase and development of this property would create a few full time local jobs.

    Ten years later and the Gerlach Shower property remains undeveloped: No Gardens! No Yurts! No Campground! And perhaps most importantly No Jobs in the community of Gerlach.

    What the residents of Gerlach do have is a temporary summer campground at the Gerlach Shower Property for the BM elite and paid employees. ‘BM Volunteers’ live in Bruno’s trailer park.

    When I asked Will Roger (BM Board member) why this was the case and why BM never kept its promise to develop the Gerlach Shower Property he said that BM ran out of $.

    Really? If that is the case then why and where did the $ come from for the purchase of the Fly Ranch? Why not develop the property in the town of Gerlach which has been sitting undeveloped for over 10 years; a property which was purchased with the promise of development?

    Why is money being spent to purchase yet another BM property when the many BM owned properties (at least 5) which BM owns on the Main Street of Gerlach remain empty, boarded-up unused and undeveloped?

    Gerlach is the host to the worlds largest arts festival yet Gerlach has no public art or art gallery. Why no art gallery or even one piece of public art BM ? No $ Yeah Right BM. Want to sell me a bridge too?

    DO THE MATH PEOPLE! $250.00 x 60,0000 people = $15,000,000.

    • Thanks Elizabeth, good points. It seems like Burning Man could do a lot for Gerlach, the town that hosts the world’s largest arts festival. The BMOrg claim that they donate all of their profits from ice sales to local schools and charities. We’ve covered that before, here: …In fact, of the 45 charities supported in 2010 with a total donation of $159,850, only 4 are in Gerlach. They are:

      Gerlach Volunteer Fire Department
      Gerlach High School
      Gerlach Gen. Improve. Dist.
      Gerlach-Empire Senior Citizens Palace

      8 of the charities listed have Pershing County in their name, and there are 6 in Lovelock. Most of the rest are in California, and at least 2 are actually the Burning Man Project’s own subsidiary organizations. We have no information about how much each charity got, although the average from 2010’s numbers works out to $3552.

      In relation to your request to do the math, we’ve done it before, let’s do it again so that everyone can be on the same page. As far as the maths goes on ticket sales, we estimate it at closer to $30 million. We calculate this as:

      3000 x $650 Early Bird = $1,950,000
      15,000 x $380 Invite-Only = $5,700,000
      38,000 x $380 Individual = $14,440,000
      1,000 x $380 OMG sale = $380,000
      4,000 x $190 Low-Income = $760,000
      35,000 x $40 Vehicle Passes = $1,400,000

      = 61,000 tickets
      = $24,630,000 (purely from official numbers)

      There are a further 7,000 tickets that are “given away free to those involved in regional events” (according to some) or “sold on the black market or at the gate” (speculated by others). This is a grey area of $2,660,000

      We also estimate ice sales at $1,070,000, based on 2013 information.

      There are also donations to charity raised during the year, and in the past at the time of ticket sales Burners were asked to donate to the Black Rock Arts Foundation, which is controlled by Burning Man and also one of the 45 charities getting “ice money”. In 2011 the BRAF raised $735,147 (from Guidestar report/IRS filings)

      All up that adds to $29,095,147 – and doesn’t include other things sold at the event and during the year, including merchandise, coffee/beverages, fine art, licensing royalties, gasoline and propane. They are also now raising money directly into the Burning Man Project, from philanthropic foundations as well as individuals. For example, Burning Man Project Board Member Rae Richman runs the San Francisco office of Rockefeller Philanthropy, and the event has been attended by Rockefellers and Rothschilds, as well as other multi-billionaires like the Google founders.

      The Burning Man 2012 financial report ( says that the mostly volunteer-staffed event costs $8,115,067 to put on. $3,123,141 of that goes to various agencies – BLM, police, medical, fire, and other permits. So roughly $5 million is spent on the remaining infrastructure for the week-long party.

      They also claim an “off Playa overhead” which mixes up some event-related costs with year round payrolls and other costs. This is a further $10,617,120, of which $8.64 million is salary and contractors.

      All up they claimed $22,111,580 of total expenditures in 2012. The party was substantially larger in population in 2013, which may have increased the event-related costs, but shouldn’t have had a substantial impact on their year round overhead.

      It seems like it would be a good thing for the communities in Northern Nevada if more of this financial activity could be shifted to the region in an environmentally and economically sustainable fashion. If Burning Man has promised money to Gerlach, they should honor those promises, or come up with something even better to help the community. It’s hard to get a read on how far along they are with their Fly Ranch plans and negotiations, as Brad pointed out here they held the event at Hualapai Ranch in 1997 so they’ve been talking about it for at least 17 years now.

      • burnersxxx, good points. Much obliged to you.

        Further 7,000 tickets. Thousands are half price and zero cost tickets to BRC Ranger, Gate, Medical, and DPW volunteers in gratis of their considerable efforts. All are richly deserved.

        Missing, since 2006, from the rubbish BM ‘financials’ is cash on hand after the event. Cash on hand was reported, until proceeding to gain significant cash. As priorly expounded upon, in addendum, missing from BM unaudited ‘financials’ are balance sheets, income totals and details, payments to the 6 LLC members, breakdown of the LLC members’ large share of salary, … Much obliged.

        I heart BM Project purchasing Fly Ranch, if done in a proper manner. I must say, from surreptitiously gaining access to the hot pond, Fly Ranch is truely delightful. It may cover costs, despite the heyday of hot spring resorts being a century past, a tad from civilization, and seasonly dependent. Perchance, raise a structure respectful of the environment, camping, day passes for visitors, new age seminars, and be very welcoming of locals, a tiny Harbin. Begin small, fund improvements from ops, and proceed from these humble beginnings.

      • eh, the BM LLC lack any real courage of convictions. They are like those religious leaders that demand you follow their path, don’t screw with kids, practice total transparency, while following a different one themselves, screwing the kids and having transparency. It’s a wonder that any ‘official event’ doesn’t call them out on their shit. Oh, and if anyone thinks this is wrong, show me the LLC’s transparency, and I’ll show you what has been shared with me as what an event needs to use the trademarks.

    • Elizabeth, as burnersxxx complemented, good points. What is Burning Man paying for the Fly Ranch, and where is it in the process of the sale? Gerlach is a small town, all are in the know. Is Fly Ranch the same property as the private Hualapai playa, or is it across the way?

  15. Wow. Even the comments suck since Otis got kicked out. I could say volumes here. But I’ll save it for his new site.

  16. The line ‘ We seek to unlock human creativity ‘ shows how full of shit these greedy assholes are. Human creativity has flourished throughout the centuries. There are magnificent works of art all around the world.

    What pompous twits!

  17. Well its going to be sad when this happens. Ive know for a couple years it was in the works, but was hoping it wouldn’t go through. This geyser has been on the cover of National Geographic and so many other books and magazines. I am going out soon to take one last swim and dive off the dock. Todd Jaksick has for sure sold this to the wrong person. I love Burning Man but I feel they need to say on the playa. I wish this could have been bought by BLM and remained a park for all. 🙁

    • Water Woman was featured in the Smithsonian Mag, which was in the hot springs. It was the only art allowed by the owner at the time, because she liked what it stood for and was the first major
      art not to burn the year before. I also put a sign carved out of an old barn plank I found in an old homestead nearby with the words,”Walk softly upon this Earth. I asked the lady if I could have a Water Woman Festival there to regenerated the land where the model was the complete opposite as BM and she was all over it. She bought Water Woman which made it two years standing in as a simple of goddess energy.

  18. I can’t wait to see the merchandise they begin creating and selling. All stamped with the Burning Man symbol. Of course expect some bullshit about promoting ‘our culture’ and ‘values’….

    Yippee, this cash cow just doesn’t stop giving!

  19. Before you all get so excited make sure you get the water and soil tested. Geologists who tested the area back in the day told me when I asked them about radiation fall out said, “there was natural contamination from the volcanos thousands of years ago.” Also the Grant ranch used lots of pesticides that have given their family living in the area cancer over long term exposure. I don’t want to see my buds walk into something that will hurt them.

  20. Um, Fly Geyser is not what I usually think of when you talk about a natural ecosystem. The geyser is artificial, from what I understand, an accidental result of some drilling in the area. As many people know, the playa beyond it was the site of Burning Man 1997. Problems with that drove them away from doing private land again.

  21. Wow…. Yet another invasion of sacred native land. Every time beauty and abundance is found…. neo european culture must invade like parasites and ruin it. Is this not a microcosm of what has happened to this entire continent? I agree, as an ex-burner for many years, that now refuses to succumb to the “fun” of what was truly an experiment of artistic endeavor, which is now laden with politic and bureaucracy, it sounds nauseating to imagine thousands of people, the like of what trample that desert now for a week, inhabiting it perpetually. My last year burning, I spent collecting cigarette butts and garbage of others while hearing the overwhelming wales of drunken turkeys screaming, “woooooooo yeaaaaaaah burning maaaaaaaan!”
    It felt like a giant frat party…… and the oil derik? what next? 100k gallons of drinking water just spilled on the playa floor to “create consciousness” about our water crisis?
    Irresponsible use of community development in its rawest form

    • My sentiments exactly.. Im sure it would be lovely to see that geyser view from my porch, but I’d rather just go camp there for a night as see the untouched beauty!

  22. So Larry has picked his retirement land and will begin his building shortly. So nice to have funded it all these years.

    • Looks like a Private Compound for the Burner-elites. The rest of us will probably be offered some kind of VIP Ticket Tier for an extra 1000 bucks so we can go peek over the wall and take pictures of The Playa-boy Mansion.

  23. Fly ranch is just down the road from the Burning Man work ranch, on private property. From what I understand this has been a long long on again, off again, negotiation with the owners.

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