“Leave No Trace”

All the things you left behind.

Hey, thanks for the gifts! No, really, y’all are very generous. Exodus, with all its donated goods, was a bounty for DPW.

Furthermore, I am consistently amazed that it’s possible for 32,000 people to come out here, camp for a week with music and lights blaring, and (for the most part) disappear with no more damage to the playa than some scuffed soil.

However.

Some of you just don’t seem to understand the LNT (Leave No Trace) concept. I heard a lot of things like, “oh, we’ll leave that, someone will use it for firewood,” or, “whatever, one beer can won’t hurt anyone.”

Well, guess what? It hurts. How many of you abandoned your bike this year because it had a flat tire, or because you fell over and bent the wheel, or because you got drunk and forgot where it was? Thousands, that’s how many. The Bike Guild spent days driving around the playa and gathering truckloads of abandoned bikes. They set them all up near the Cafe, and everyone who was here scored at least one – but they still have thousands to drive back to town. I personally found a Schwinn Cruiser with a price tag still on it, abandoned by the port-a-potties because it had a low tire. I donated it to the Winnemucca Bike Club. So, thanks! But really, no thanks.

The worst offenders, I think, are the camps that just couldn’t fit everything back in their trucks – so they left it here. At 7:00 and Ego, someone left an entire tent full of garbage with a note that they were coming back to pick it up. Of course, they didn’t come back, and now we’ll have to get a Hyster out there to cart it away. Close by at 6:30 and Fetish, I discovered someone’s evap pond and several boxes of trash, along with a broken chair and some tent poles. Is this for me? Thanks, but what do you expect me to do with it? I guess I’m just not that creative.

Coyote’s “Dirty Dishes” column in your Survival Guide should have given you all something to think about this year. We can all try a little harder to do things right. Next year, if you see someone leaving something behind, maybe you can chip in and help them clean it up. If you’re bringing a camp out here, maybe you can leave a little extra room in your trucks to cart out the trash. Separate your garbage and burn what you can; crush your recyclables and take ‘em to recycle camp; put your grey water in resealable containers and cart it away with you. DPW, the local dump, and Johnny On-The-Spot will be extremely grateful to you.

And to those of you who took care of everything this year, including spending an hour or two mooping your space (something some of my own neighbors neglected to do): thank you. Really.

About the author: The Hun

The Hun, also known as J.H. Fearless, has been blogging for Burning Man (and many other outlets) since 2005, which is also the year she joined the BRC DPW on a whim that turned out to be a lifetime commitment. Since then she's won some awards for blogging, built her own creative business, and produced some of the Burning Blog's most popular stories and series. She co-created a grant-funded art piece, "Refoliation," in 2007, and stood next to it watching as the Man burned on Monday. She considers that, in many ways, to have been the symbolic end of Burning Man that was. The Hun lives in Reno with DPW Shade King, Quiet Earp. You may address her as "The Hun" or "Hun". If you call her "Honey" she reserves the right to cut you.

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