MOOP Map Live, Day 2: The Going Gets Tough

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Greetings MOOP maniacs and line sweepers extraordinaire! I’m here on the drifted shores of the Black Rock Desert, where your Playa Restoration All-Star moopers are hard at work removing every last trace of Burning Man. Our home team is hell-bent for victory — but let me tell you, Day Two was no cakewalk.


The day kicked off with a big surprise for our unsuspecting line sweepers: several solid blocks of mixed red and yellow areas. Nothing our well-trained team can’t handle, but undoubtedly a hurdle that set the line off its pace.

What happens when the MOOP Map turns yellow? That’s when the line sweep slows to a crawl. In yellow zones, line sweepers find so much MOOP that they can not keep up a steady pace. Red spots represent full stops, where our Resto All-Stars must get down on their hands and knees to gather up a concentrated “hot spot” — or worse, a MOOPy area that might stretch across an entire block.

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Unfazed but behind the pace, the line sweepers soldiered on, turning the 10:00 corner and making their way all the way down to Esplanade. But behind their backs, the wind had been picking up in an ominous way.

Turning onto Esplanade and Airstrip, the line suddenly found itself directly in the path of the gale. Beleaguered moopers were now forced to walk directly into winds that made it difficult to stand — let alone walk, maintain formation and pick up tiny bits of MOOP.

The desert surface is particularly well-packed this year, so there wasn’t much dust — just occasional blasts of airborne playa crust that stung team members’ wind-burned skin as they staggered on against the gale.

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Despite the challenges Day Two threw at them, our brave moopers still managed to restore 45 blocks of Black Rock City to a pristine and MOOP-free state. Windblown and exhausted from a difficult victory, they stumbled home to rest and hope for better luck on Day Three.

By the end of Day Two in 2012, our line sweeps had mooped all the way from 10:00 to 2:00 on Esplanade-A-B. That means that the current conditions set the Resto All-Stars behind by about 33 blocks in a single day.

Days like this remind us that Playa Restoration is a risky race against time and weather, which can be won or lost by how well the citizens of Black Rock City commit to Leaving No Trace. Resto only lasts for two weeks, and thanks to the massive effort by each of YOU, that’s enough time to make the city MOOP-free enough to pass our BLM inspection. If you and your neighbors were any less strict about Leaving No Trace, then restoring the playa might be an insurmountable task. Thanks to you, Restoration can survive challenges and setbacks like these ones, and still get the job done.

What does the rest of Playa Restoration 2013 hold? Will Burning Man pass its inspection? Only time will tell. For now, here is a preview of the Black Rock City MOOP Map for 2013.

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

REMEMBER: This is a work in progress, not the final map. Obviously.

MOOP Map Legend:
MoopMeter-2013day2GREEN: GO! GO! GO! The Line Sweep moves quickly because it’s clean. Minimal time and effort spent in this location.
YELLOW: Caution! The Line Sweep moves at a stop-and-go pace. Moderate time and effort spent in this location.
RED: Full stop. The Line Sweepers are on their hands and knees. A ton of MOOP. Extensive time and effort in this location.

Wondering what the black dots are? Those are the locations where we found larger items left behind on the playa last week: trash bags, abandoned tents, scaffolding, anything bigger than a bread box. All those items have been removed, but we do record their GPS points.

That’s all for today, MOOP maniacs! Tune in again for the next thrilling installment, as the Line Sweeps strive to make up for lost time. Will the Resto All-Stars regain their momentum? Come back soon to find out.

See more photos from Playa Restoration 2013 on Flickr.

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.

29 thoughts on “MOOP Map Live, Day 2: The Going Gets Tough

  • Thanks for the update. our camp is stunned as we have always been green in the past and spent time mooping before we left – yet we’re red with several black dots. Is there a way to find out what the issue was so we can learn from it?

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  • So glad to see my entire bock green for the 5th straight year. Kudos to those small camps! I mooped a cache of bottle caps an pennies (!) that were embedded in the playa mud when I first set up camp. More were found during the week. Yet another reason to be moop-vigilant throughout the burn. Blessings on the moopers.

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  • Glad to see our block was green, but appalled at the amount left in other blocks. I was impressed at how clean the place looked during the week for such a big city, but I obviously did not visit some of the blocks listed as yellow and red. Great job all of you. Maybe we can volunteer to help some year.

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  • Wendy, don’t be appalled! Not only does BRC do an amazing job of controlling its MOOP, but we are all learning as we go. The key is to figure out how to keep spreading the word about why it’s important.

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  • Not surprising at all that the art car sound camp behind use that was constantly covered in playa chickens is nothing but a yellow and red zone. Can we please go back to feathers being flat out banned?

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  • I’m so so saddened by this report. We worked really hard to do the moop sweeps. Our camp has prided it’s self on having a large group of burngins and keeping a green grade. We literally swept the playa with small brooms and dust pans to get all the moop up.

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  • @Fiver: I guessing the black spots were some large, immediately pluckable piece of moop like a bicycle or trash sack. If I were in charge, I’d have those picked up immediately (especially a possibly disintegrating trash sack) so the line sweepers don’t have to deal with them at that time and can do what they do best, pick up other people’s woodchips.

    Kudos to the resto team. Thank you for making BM possible each year.

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  • hehe….there is no rest for the MOOP crew…not with all that Exodus stash waiting for them at the Saloon. Hats of to you guys and gals, this is without a doubt the worse job of the whole event…That is, until it’s beer:30.

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  • Haley, I actually agree with the BMorg’s stance on feathers. They are really not that common. Our MOOP Menace #1 is wood chips, but lots of people still think it is feathers. By downgrading the warning on that one, we can start talking about things that are real problems, like when people dump their firewood on the ground or cut wood without putting a tarp down. That’s what creates the most work for Restoration.

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  • Queen Savage, I’m guessing you did not get a green score this time? Don’t worry, it happens. Look into whether there is a type of MOOP you might have overlooked. If you’re in a placed camp, the Placement team will have more details in a couple of months.

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  • I so agree with Haley. Can we please go back to NO feathers! I actually thought no feathers were allowed. They werent last year. I saw many people with fluffy feather things and as they dashed by on a bike or art car there would be a feathers floating in the air. I picked up many feathers during the week of Burning Man. I can only imagine how many were blowing around.

    I’m so greatful for those wonderful folks who stick around to pick up moop. You are all my heros!

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