Reno, Nev. • The largest outdoor arts festival in North America is about to become bigger.
Federal land managers have issued Burning Man organizers a four-year special recreation permit that allows a peak population of 68,000 on the northern Nevada desert this year.
Last year, attendance at the offbeat art and music festival on the Black Rock Desert peaked at 56,000 below the previous maximum allowable population of 60,900.
The festival will be held Aug. 26-Sept. 2.
Gene Seidlitz, manager of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's Winnemucca District, said the agency is requiring organizers to comply with more than 60 conditions related to issues such as security, public safety, resource management and cleanup.
He said he is confident that sufficient requirements are in place to protect the starkly beautiful desert's environment and to ensure public safety.
Burning Man spokeswoman Megan Miller hailed the BLM's issuance of the multi-year permit, saying organizers are establishing the first shuttle bus service to the event and making other improvements to Black Rock City's infrastructure to prepare for larger crowds.
The gathering, which draws people from around the world, is the largest permitted event on federal land in the United States.