List of concerns from Rachel residents regarding the "Storm Area 51" event. Presented to the Lincoln County Commissioners on August 18, 2019. No motions were made on any of the action items after our presentation.
The organizers claim that the Rachel residents are "totally on board". None of the residents we talked to were asked, or are "on board". For an event of this magnitude the whole town should have been involved in the planning instead of being kept in the dark about the plans.
Safety of Residents
Many of the Rachel residents are elderly. Due to the large number of visitors to this event the microwave link to Alamo will be overloaded and go down. Meaning there will be no cell service, no phone lines and no internet. There will be no way for Rachel residents to call for help in case of an emergency.
The highway and local roads will be congested. In case of an emergency first responders will not be able to get to where they need to be.
This event will attract crime to Rachel, from pickpockets to burglaries. Some homes of part-time residents are vulnerable because no one is there to protect the property.
There is already a video online of a home near Rachel being burglarized for nothing but youtube hits, meaning ad revenue. I brought this to the attention of the sheriffs department last year. Another youtuber regularly posts videos of himself taunting test site security and even the sheriff's office. This event will attract all sorts of crazy youtube "celebrities" vandalizing private property in Rachel for ad revenue.
It is more than likely that despite our best efforts to protect our properties they will be vandalized. If this event is approved there is a high likelihood of the organizers, the Inn, local residents and the county being entangled in law suits for years.
The Inn charges $60-$1,000 for parking. To avoid the fee many people will park in residential areas and block the residents.
We want to see a map of exactly which properties the Inn plans to use for entertainment, parking and camping. We do not want event guests in the residential part of Rachel.
Safety of Visitors
The large crowd and overwhelmed law enforcement could create an opportunity for another mass shooting by a deranged individual with many casualties.
Most visitors are not familiar with Open Range. There will be many car accidents with cows, especially at night.
There will also be head-on collisions on the two lane highways that are not designed for that amount of traffic.
I know the military has plans to stop those foolish enough to try and "storm the base". But many visitors will get themselves in trouble trying to get to the perimeter in the open desert.
The organizers expect 5,000 to 30,000 people. There is no way to have enough food and water for that many people in Rachel.
There is no gas in Rachel. People will run out of gas and be stranded in the desert.
For an event of only 10,000 people the industry recommends 950 portable toilets, 288 hand wash stations and 50 toilets with disability access. Is the Inn going to provide that?
Are they going to have enough dumpsters available? For a four day event with 30,000 people at least ten 40 yard dumpsters are needed.
Who will pick up trash along the highway?
The organizers imply they are connected to events such as the chaotic EDM festival hosted in Las Vegas every year. The photos I handed you are actual photos of the aftermath of some of these events. We do not want Rachel to look like that.
There will be significant permanent damage to the pristine desert around Rachel.
The organizers claim that the event will generate tax revenue for Lincoln County. But that will be more than offset by overtime, extra law enforcement, clean-up and other county expenses for this event. Plus, most of the sales will be cash with no record.
Events of this magnitude always generate a number of law suits. Lincoln County may get wrapped up in law suits, possibly for years.
The last time we checked with BLM no permits had been issued or requested for the event. We do not think there is enough time left for an orderly permitting process.
The event organizers are planning to rent out the public land between the frontage road and the highway for parking and camp sites. Is that legal? How likely are they to get permits from BLM for that?
Do they have enough parking? Parking for 5,000 cars requires at least 33 acres, not counting event space and camping areas.
Will they use the community park? If so, did they ensure that the town is held harmless in case of an accident there? What about accidents on town roads that are not lit at night nor designed for heavy traffic. Is there a potential liability issue for the town or county?
The organizers on their web site ask for volunteers to help with the event. I have a letter from a person who volunteered at burning man for 11 years. She contacted the organizers of this event to volunteer and never even heard back from them. In her letter she also voiced similar concerns regarding safety and clean up based on her experience with similar events.
The main event organizer is a 20-year old kid. The media already likens this to the 2017 Fyre festival disaster where people paid a lot of money for a concert weekend that never happened. There are still many open law suits from that event.
An event with that many people typically takes 6-8 months to plan. The county and Rachel had 6 weeks.
Commissioners, please ask yourself: Do you really think sufficient planning has been done to be ready for this event? This can potentially ruin our county if it goes bad. It certainly will ruin Rachel.
We ask the commissioners to please consider the following action items:
#1: We ask to deny the special event permit and to close Hwy 375 on both ends for that weekend, except for residents. This is done twice a year on Hwy 318 for the Silver State car race. A detour via hwy 6 and 318 is possible. This would eliminate the need for all of the following action items.
If #1 is not approved:
#2: We ask that no special event permit be issued in Rachel for that weekend because the organizers are not sufficiently prepared for the event.
#3: If an event permit is issued we ask that a $10M bond be required.
#4: We ask that monitored emergency communication is provided for residents that does not depend on the phone or cell system. Residents must have a way to call for help without leaving their property unprotected.
#5: We ask to post manned law enforcement road blocks as needed to prevent access to the residential part of town for non-residents and that the residents are kept informed of plans to protect the town.