Restoration Honors the Temple of Whollyness

Greetings MOOP maniacs and line sweepers extraordinaire! I’m here in Gerlach with 120 members of your DPW Playa Restoration home team. They are preparing to enter the damp, sticky and frigid playa — armed only with MOOP sticks, shovels and magnet rakes — to eradicate the final traces of Burning Man 2013.

Burning Man Playa Restoration 2013, Day 8.

Burning Man Playa Restoration 2013, Day 8.

The season is skidding to a close as we dodge rainstorms and near-freezing temperatures; we may even get a little snow this evening. Summer is officially a dusty memory, but still the MOOP lines march on.

Burning Man Playa Restoration 2013, Day 8.

As many of you have remarked, the line sweeps are covering a lot of ground this year, and in record time. On Day 4, 45 city blocks disappeared under the moopers’ feet. And yes, the Playa Restoration All-Star team is one hell of a crew — but the line sweeps’ pace ultimately depends on YOU, and how well Black Rock City practices Leaving No Trace. When the city blocks are green and MOOP-free, the Resto line sweepers move at a fast clip. And this year, we’ve encountered a whole lot of green blocks.

In fact, we’re seeing green this year in all sorts of places. So while Playa Restoration continues marching through the city grid, let’s take a moment and turn our eyes elsewhere: far out in the deep playa, where the Temple of Whollyness once stood.

Photo by Curious Josh / curiousjosh.com
Photo by Curious Josh / curiousjosh.com


This year’s Temple of Whollyness was stunning for a number of reasons. Created by Gregg Fleishman, Melissa “Syn” Barron, and Terry Gross, A.K.A. Lightning Clearwater III, the Temple was built entirely without metal hardware, a feat of geometry that is truly mind-boggling. Add to that the memories, prayers, emotions and tributes brought here the people of Burning Man, and the towering pyramid became hallowed ground, the spiritual center of Black Rock City.

Inside the Temple. Photo by zaigee.
Inside the Temple. Photo by zaigee.
Sunrise Butoh ceremony. Photo by Ian Kennedy.
Sunrise Butoh ceremony. Photo by Ian Kennedy.

In truth, Burning Man has been honored with incredibly moving, artistic and astounding Temples year after year. But year after year, once the structure and its memories have burned away, the Temple site is strewn with bits of MOOP, traces left by the tens of thousands of visitors who came to pay tribute.

Until this year.

In 2013, the Playa Restoration Special Forces team is reporting that the Temple site is impressively clean, green and MOOP-free. It’s cleaner than we’ve ever seen a Temple site, which is a huge testament to the crew’s Leave No Trace commitment. It’s even more impressive when you consider that every one of the thousand pieces of wood used were routed and sanded on site in the Black Rock Desert.

For the enthusiasm with which they embody the Ten Principles, and for everything they give to Black Rock City without leaving a trace behind, the Restoration crew honors  LNT Lead Amy “Maven” Bunker and the entire Temple of Whollyness crew with a Resto award for Leaving No Temple.

How to Leave No Temple: photos from the crew

Maven and the Temple crew documented their MOOP control, prevention and cleanup efforts in a photo series. Prepare to be impressed; we certainly are.

Maven sweeps up wood chips left by a pallet during the build phase
Bunk sweeps up construction dust during the build phase
If the crew needed to cut, sand or shape wood, they did it over a tarp or inside a trailer to avoid wood MOOP.
If the crew needed to cut, sand or shape wood, they did it over a tarp or inside a trailer to avoid wood MOOP.
Never let it hit the ground.
Never let it hit the ground.
Sweeping up wood chips and sawdust from a wood pile.
Sweeping up wood chips and sawdust from a wood pile.
Camp trash and recycling was kept sorted and separated.
Camp trash and recycling was kept sorted and separated.
Crew members performed line sweeps before and after Burning Man
Crew members performing a line sweep during Burning Man
MOOP patrol at the perimeter fence
MOOP patrol at the perimeter fence
After the burn, removing ash and embers
After the burn, removing ash and embers
It's a dirty job...
It’s a dirty job…
...but someone's gotta do it.
…but someone’s gotta do it.

Temple of Whollyness, we salute you and are proud to award you for your extraordinary contributions to Black Rock City, and your success at Leaving No Temple in 2013.

MOOP Map Live will continue soon with an update on the progress in Day 5. Tune in soon to find out how it went!

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.

7 thoughts on “Restoration Honors the Temple of Whollyness

  • I want to thank you peeps from the bottom of my heart. Without your work, every year, there would be no next year.

    I do have a request. I’m a member at Distrikt, and every year we spend days and countless hours ensuring that every scrap, every fiber of thread is picked up. Lessons have been learned over the years. We were sure this was our green year. We have dedicated teams and camp members that are out three times a day, every day. During strike, the entire camp is on MOOP duty. Yet still, after four years, we have never been awarded GREEN.

    We’d like to be told exactly what the restoration crew is looking for, besides trash. I’ve been told though channels, if the crew is slowed down in an area, that’s grounds for a YELLOW or RED. Tell us what would slow the crew down. Water on the ground, if so what does the restore crew do? Should we leave the ground un-disturbed (i.e. raked or dragged). Help us help you.

    It’s frustrating on our parts, to say the least. We WANT to be responsible and good burners by leaving no trace.

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