Introducing the Playa Restoration Awards!

Hello MOOP maniacs and line sweepers extraordinaire! It is my very great pleasure to introduce the first-ever Playa Restoration Awards, aka The Restos.

D.A., Playa Restoration Manager, introduced the game-changing BRC MOOP Map in 2006, and since then we’ve seen a huge shift in consciousness about what it means to Leave No Trace at Burning Man. As the city has grown, it has become impressively green and MOOP-free — so MOOP-free, in fact, that the “red spots” really tend to stand out.

It is easy to look at this year’s MOOP Map and make a judgment about the camps, projects and parties that were scored red. But to do so would be to overlook the unique, unquantifiable and incomparable magic that so many of these groups bring to Black Rock City.

How do you put a score on the experience of watching the sun rise with the people you danced next to all night? How do you count the connections made by bringing friends and strangers together for new, mind-opening experiences? How could you possibly judge a project’s worth solely by what it left behind, without simultaneously celebrating it for what it created?

Sunrise at Robot Heart. Photo by Paretz Partensky.
Sunrise at Robot Heart. Photo by Paretz Partensky.

Opulent Temple 2012. Photo by Hawaii Savvy.
Opulent Temple 2012. Photo by Hawaii Savvy.

When we see those red spots on the MOOP Map, we feel the same way you do: mildly disappointed. Surprise: Black Rock City still isn’t perfect. But over the years, we’ve seen red camps turn green, green camps turn red, and the entire Burning Man community learn from the process.

This year, we’re introducing something new to celebrate the bright spots in our city’s quest to Leave No Trace. The Resto awards are a token of respect from the Playa Restoration crew, given to camps, projects and groups who give their all and make us proud.

Lifetime Achievement: Voted Best Camp

Voted Best Camp in 2007. Photo by Sarah Nelsonium.
Voted Best Camp in 2007. Photo by Sarah Nelsonium.

If you’ve ever ventured all the way to the end of 2:00, you’ve encountered one camp that is unlike any other in Black Rock City. Voted Best Camp is a punk rock and skate outpost whose members hail from Reno. The camp specializes in making noise, and is pretty skilled at making a mess. Nonetheless, Voted Best Camp has always scored GREEN on the MOOP Map, every year it’s been to Black Rock City.

VBC 2012. Photo by Colin Harwell.
VBC 2012. Photo by Colin Harwell.

Camp members tell me that this year, there may or may not have been a giant explosion of some type, which instantly covered most of the site with MOOP. Cleanup commenced soon after, when everybody drinking at the bar was told to get out and start picking things up. It worked, proving once again that drunk punks can achieve anything they want to.

Mooping during teardown 2013.
Mooping during teardown 2013.

At VBC, Leave No Trace is a pervasive attitude. Everyone participates in daily MOOP missions, as well as a camp-wide sweep at the end of Burning Man. Two VBC members, Scumbag and Voted Best Dave, joined the Department of Public Works a few years back, and still stay into the autumn each year to participate in Playa Restoration. Various other members often contribute to Resto efforts.

Voted Best Camp earned a green score again this year, and we’d like to honor this camp’s ongoing contributions by giving it a Resto for Lifetime Achievement in Leaving No Trace. Thanks for bringing your camp, your music, and your selves. We hope you keep doing it.

Attitude of Raditude: Black Rock Roller Disco

Black Rock Roller Disco 2007. Photo by James Addison.
Black Rock Roller Disco 2007. Photo by James Addison.

The Black Rock Roller Disco is a fixture on the Esplanade, bringing the funk and the wheels year after year to one of the world’s most unlikely spots. What’s it like to build a temporary skate rink in the desert? Challenging.

Photo by Tom Varden.

In 2011, the Disco’s OSB flooring simply disintegrated into thousands of wood chips, which then blew across the dry and dusty playa and created many hours of work for the Playa Restoration team. The Disco earned a red spot for that unfortunate event, but did The Godfather and crew complain or argue? No (or at least, not that we heard about). Instead, the Disco came up with a new plan: putting tarps beneath the flooring to catch falling wood flakes.

Photo by fresheid.
Photo from fresheid. That’s the Disco, right?

In 2012, the tarps were in place, but all was not yet perfect. The floor continued to disintegrate, and the Disco was partially red again. Unfazed, this year’s crew brought Shop Vacs to the desert, and vacuumed their entire plot after the event was through. Talk about making the extra effort!

The Black Rock Roller Disco’s green score this year* is the definition of a well-earned achievement. Playa Restoration honors the Black Rock Rollers with a Resto for their Attitude of Raditude. We love you and your dance floor, and are proud of everything the Disco brings to our city.

Please share your kudos and your respect with these two hardworking groups, and with everyone you know who goes above and beyond to bring the party and then make it disappear. Stay tuned for future Resto awards in the days to come!

*Yes, MOOP Map Day 3 scores are in, but we need more time to compile them. Check back soon!

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 ten-year 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 the Man burn on Monday night during a full lunar eclipse. 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.

8 thoughts on “Introducing the Playa Restoration Awards!

  • I’m from Black Rock Roller Disco and this makes me so happy it is literally bringing tears to my eyes. We all really wanted a good mark this year, That floor is MOOPy as heck and takes so much work to clean. We worked just as hard earlier years, but refined our strategy this year and it paid.

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  • Just as my campmate said, it brought tears to my eyes!! Hun, the one wrong fact, we used the same OSB subfloor as the previous two years. It was the top layer that was new since the storm on Tuesday destroyed half the floor.

    Having one giant tarp underneather the skate floor and tarps under skate rack area helped immensly. The shop vacs were more their weight in gold! sifting process wasn’t perfect, so bags of playa were hauled out.

    The biggest award goes out to the resto crew. Your work is what makes it all happen!

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  • Hi,
    Is it possible to go help DPW with moop removal?
    (And yes, I did moop my camp & nearby camps b4 leaving, which is always the best help : )
    How long does this restoration generally go on? Is it weeks? Months?

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  • I’m wondering how the BRC Airport scored as I volunteered and camped there for the first time. Thanks Roller Disco! Favorite camp! You guys rock for effort and finally success!

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