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The Reno Gazette-Journal via AP, file, Andy Barron
FILE--In this Aug. 29, 2014, file photo, Burning Man participants walk through dust at the annual Burning Man event on the Black Rock Desert of Gerlach, Nev. Burning Man organizers want their money back after paying the federal government $2.8 million to host its popular outdoor festival last year in Black Rock Desert, a national conservation area in Nevada.

LAS VEGAS — Burning Man organizers are disputing their $2.8 million bill from the federal government — the cost last year of hosting its popular outdoor festival in the Black Rock Desert, a national conservation area in Nevada.

The festival takes issue with the Bureau of Land Management's discretion over the weeklong counterculture celebration, claiming that the authority has been overstaffing and overcharging without fully explaining the tab, as first reported by the Reno Gazette-Journal.

But the case also pulls back the curtain on the logistical hurdles and an evolving backstage power struggle behind an event once considered an extreme camping experience that has now achieved widespread popularity with millions in revenue.

The festival's special recreation permit from BLM is the largest of its kind in the country.