Burning Man Passes Long-Delayed BLM Site Inspection

2010 Inspection Crew

Burning Man is pleased to announce that it has once again passed the annual BLM site inspection, which ensures that Burning Man has once again Left No Trace on the Black Rock Desert.

Burning Man is the largest Leave No Trace event in the world, and Black Rock City continues to be recognized by the Bureau of Land Management for not only maintaining Leave No Trace standards, but for setting high standards by which other recreation events are measured. That wouldn’t be possible without the concerted efforts of every last Burning Man participant who picks up after themselves, as well as the Department of Public Works’ Playa Restoration Team, a hardy crew of workers who stay long after everybody else has left to return the playa to its pristine condition.

BLM Clean-Up Plot Map

This site inspection was particularly novel, in that it was long delayed, due to the fact that the Burning Man event site was under water due to hammering rainstorms that rolled in during the playa clean-up. Rather than inspecting the playa back in October, it was only possible this past weekend (June 5).

How does the inspection work? First, a computer program makes a BLM Inspection Plot Point Map which contains 65 randomly-generated waypoints to be tested. Each waypoint is 1/10th of an acre in size, and taken together, represent a statistically-valid sampling of the condition of the Burning Man event site.

Clean-Up Plot Marker

Stakes are placed in the ground at each of these points, with a Ziploc bag attached to it.  Then, a string is attached to the stake, designating the radius of the area to be inspected. A team of MOOPers then do a line-sweep of the area, picking up every piece of MOOP they find, and placing it in the Ziploc bag.

If the amount of MOOP found during that line-sweep is below the specified tolerance, we pass … if it’s over that amount, we fail. To our credit, we passed “by a large and comfortable margin” according to Tony Perez, the BRC City Superintendent. Congratulations everybody!

Line Sweep

Tony also extends “best wishes to my good friend Roger Farshon, the long time Staff Ecologist and Incident Commander of the BLM who has been conducting the Playa inspections for several years now and is retiring this year. Through our collaborations, we have developed a standard of Playa restoration that has set the pace for many, and in the mean time, forged a friendship.”

 

Want to learn more about keeping the playa pristine? Check out our Playa Restoration page, and DA’s MOOP Blog. Thanks to Dominic “D.A.” Tinio (Burning Man’s Playa Restoration Manager) and Bubblegique for the great photos!

About the author: Will Chase

Will Chase first attended Burning Man 2001. He was Burning Man's Web Team Project Manager and Webmaster from 2004-2009, and the Operations Manager and member of the Art Council for the ARTery (Burning Man's art department headquarters in Black Rock City) from 2003-2008. In 2009, he transitioned into the Communications Department, where his responsibilities include global communication strategy, authoring the Jackrabbit Speaks Newsletter, content management for the Burning Man website, coordination of Burning Man's social networking efforts, and acting as editor for the Burning Blog. Tales of his sordid adventures can be found on his website.

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