MOOP Map Live, Day 5: A Work In Progress

Burning Man Playa Restoration 2013, Day 6.

Greetings MOOP maniacs and line sweepers extraordinaire! The Hun here, typing with gloves on. Yes, winter has socked the Playa Restoration All-Star team a good one these past few days, with temperatures in the 30s and rude winds poking icy fingers under our collars and down our backs. Just a week ago, we were basking in bikinis. Today, we’re wearing all the clothes we own.

Burning Man Playa Restoration 2013, Day 8.

Playa Restoration ends next Wednesday with the BLM site inspection. Between now and then, the Resto All-Stars are braving the wind and weather to pick up all the MOOP we can find and return the playa surface to a pristine state.

Burning Man Playa Restoration 2013, Day 1.

Changes to the MOOP Map

As I’ve mentioned before, the MOOP Map you see on this blog is a record of our progress — but it’s a living document, not the final map. Once we record all the data, we cross-check it thoroughly and make changes where appropriate. Today’s map may look very slightly different, so have another look at your spot!

An Open Letter to Black Rock City about the MOOP Map

From D.A., Playa Restoration Manager:

Burning Man Playa Restoration 2013, Day 8.

Dear Black Rock City,

The MOOP Map is a working record of our speed of progress, and we haven’t finalized all the exact locations. While we are confident in our MOOP Map findings, they are by no means final; it takes longer than the two week Restoration period to actually comb through all the MOOP data.

Even when the map is all colored in, it is still not final until we say it’s final, weeks from now.

Once we’re done and satisfied with the findings, we will release the final MOOP Map and give the Placement team a full report that they can use to talk to camps.

As you know, we are under a tight deadline to finish mooping the city in time for the BLM inspection. Nevertheless, we are committed to releasing our daily progress on the MOOP Map. We are now in the review stage, where we triple check all our data and GPS waypoints.

We love and support all the theme camps of Burning Man, and the MOOP Map is not meant to be taken personally or shamefully. We understand that theme camps spend an entire week gifting to the Burning Man community, and sometimes fall short of Leaving No Trace as a result of the massive scale of their endeavors. We are proud to back all of your LNT efforts, and support the unquantifiable beauty of our community.

We thank all the citizens of Black Rock City for your LNT efforts, and for the immeasurable contributions you bring. For those who have yellow or red scores, we only ask for improvement so that Burning Man can continue to happen as we all work together to Leave No Trace.

— D.A.
Playa Restoration Manager
Black Rock City Department of Public Works
Burning Man

And now, the MOOP Map

Without any further ado, here is your MOOP Map, Day 5.

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

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

MOOP Map Legend:

MoopMeter-2013day3GREEN: 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.

With just a few outer streets remaining, Black Rock City is looking FANTASTIC. Great job, everyone!

Tune in again soon to find out how the outer streets and open playa are looking! It’s all coming up in future installments of MOOP Map Live 2013.

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 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.

43 thoughts on “MOOP Map Live, Day 5: A Work In Progress

  • A dot moved from our neighbors in the previous maps, to our space in this map. No reason for me to get upset I was with the last ones out and personally scoured for items as small as carpet fibers, but it sounds like some changes were made on this map! Regardless THANK YOU PLAYA RESTO. You make it happen and we fucking love you and I only strive to do better every year!!

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  • What is burning man doing about the trash along the highways to and from the event? Or the numerous amount of trash dripping over at gas stations and rest areas trash cans? Or the many dumpsters around Reno hotels that are over flowing from burner trash? Seems the org don’t give a shit about these places.

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  • Thank you so much the Playa Restoration Team :-) Very interesting map.
    I was also struck during the way back to Reno, on the first rest area we stopped, people were pouring there grey water on the grass (!), even not using the sink in the bathroom…no, just ruining the grass. Like all the BM principles have vanished after few hours.

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  • AsOfTime, there’s an extensive network and outreach program to help with that, and it’s something Burning Man spends a LOT of time and resources working on. We also spend several days at the end of the event picking up trash along the highways. Thanks for asking, but before you accuse Burning Man of not caring about something that significant, please make sure you’ve done your research. You’ll find lots of information in my own blog feed about this very topic. Happy reading!

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  • Gerry, it always bums me out to hear those stories, but it totally happens. Sad that the ten principles could be something people only follow when it’s convenient, but then that is human nature right? We are imperfect animals at our best, and gross polluters at our worst.

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  • @the Hun… It’s obvious that more time is spent on the playa than on the roads and rest areas and that’s because you want to be able to come back and use the land. By the time the event is done the state has picked up most of the largest stuff dropped off at rest areas. Hotels and gas stations are left to spend more money on dumping fees. I don’t see an effort in cleaning these places with the same compassion as the playa. Correct me if I’m wrong.

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  • Hi folks,
    THANKS very much to playa restoration. I’m a bit shocked at how quickly it seems to go… it seems quick given how much area there is to cover & how easily moop blends in the dust. I started picking up moop as soon as I got out of my car to get my ticket (a fresh ciggy butt! dental floss & something else). When I got to my camp I found something left from last year, embedded in the dust.
    Anyway, I sent a previous post with a question, but don’t c it anywhere… is it possible to go help playa restO? Either finishing this year or next year? How does 1 do it?
    Also, I don’t c a map of open playa… what happens out there?

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  • @ The Hun …But not to offer just rant here is the solution. Have collecting spaces for garbage on the way out and include rv dump stations. This will solve the trash on the road problem and save us from horror stories like Gerry Q’s. The event Collects far to much money to not have these things implemented.

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  • Mango, I did respond to your comment. You can fill out a volunteer questionnaire and specify that you want to work for Restoration.

    The line sweeps are walking through open playa today as a matter of fact!

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  • Zen garden of bliss:

    @ The Hun, I will begin with saying thank you to all that that you do make the burn happen and also to those that clean up, <3. I do know that the moop map 2013 isn't final for a few more weeks, but I am feeling a bit concerned. I am the leader of the Black Rock Mafia located at 3:15 and E, which our entire block is currently yellow. The morning of the temple burn my whole camp actually tore down (while drinking "water") ,and scrubbed the our playa space with a rake and magnetic sweep several times to the point we were finding rusty nails inches into the playa. I personally did the finally sweep around 7AM On Monday's exit finding some really rusty old metal bits and pieces of burnt wood from other camps burns from the night before. I do know that we will get a report back saying what was found, but I still find it hard to believe that we left the playa not so Zen.

    O_o how could this be??


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  • PS, the burnt little bits and metal were all packed up in a can which was placed in a dump. Seems like a the wind might have blown pieces from the deep playa, turns out it gets a bit windy sometimes? :P

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  • I can vouch for the sparkly clean-ness of SWiSS’s site, Black Rock Mafia. She worked her face off so hard, I was wondering when she was gonna sign up for Resto!

    It’s true though, as D.A. said, the map isn’t finalized yet. My guess is that we’ll see things change all over the Moop Map in the weeks to come.

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  • I’m not sure why the BMORG doesn’t want to do trash collection at the event. The trash has to go somewhere and I doubt too many burners actually drag their trash all the way home. There are many burners who take trains, buses, or airplanes and can’t take their trash home. The same places that have overflowing dumpsters probably get plenty of money from burners so maybe they need to accept it as a cost of getting all the extra business.

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  • @Asoftime, my god, give it a break! The hard working crew cant be responsible for EVERYWHERE and EVERYTHING! Of course the playa is the main priority! It should be! If people forget the 10 principles as soon as they leave the playa, that is very sad, but the resto crew don’t forget. three weeks of tireless work, for the good of everyone! Nevada is a BIG place! I’m from england and after driving 1400 miles for burning man, trust me USA is huge! The restoration team are proper heros! Reno hotels, gas stations and rest areas might have to clean up a lot of moop post BM, and ideally burners wouldnt leave responsability with others, BUT, they must be rubbing there hands with glee at the end of august every year! 51 weeks of the year they are dead quiet, backwater venues. Then 50,60,70,000 people arrive with money to spend! An extra day or two cleaning up is a small price to pay! I dont see the local community trying to move Burning Man on! Why would they? Inconvienent? Yes. But its christmas come early, and if rudolph and santa dont pick up EVERY single thing, its a price they are willing to pay for the two biggest weeks of the year. Burning man is amazing! Even red areas might only have a couple of trash bags left behind. You should see Glastonbury (which is the only uk festival with comparable culture to BM)on monday. It is a sea of discarded tents, chairs, food (and I’m sure some children) and makes me always feel ashamed of our throw away culture. Burning man is awesome! Literally “awesome”, and we dont use that word lightly here. I wish I could come again next year! Sterling job everyone. Well done!

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  • @ Emma and reader… Nice to see people think that they can throw money down and that settles the problem. A leave no trace event should mean leave no trace no matter if on the playa or on the highways to the playa. Maybe my gripe is’nt with the hard working people that try to clean up maybe its with the idiots that choose to leave the trash behind and let the grey water drip from the rvs on the way home. For as much money that this event makes and the leave no trace principal it makes no sense not to have garbage facilities at this event. Why should others suffer from this? And is it right to say that just because you brought in extra revenue to a business that it makes it okay to make them work harder for your neglect?

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  • @AsOfTime Yes, it is sad that there are some people attending Burning Man (I refuse to call them burners) who shed the Ten Principles like last year’s overcoat somewhere in the Exodus line. As a child, after only a handful of admonitions from my old man (Who do you think is going to pick that up – the pixies?) LNT became second nature to me so I don’t understand why it isn’t in others.

    I find it amusing, though, to see you say, “Nice to see people think that they can throw money down and that settles the problem.” Isn’t that exactly what you are asking of the Borg? In point of fact, historically Burning Man has lost money some years, and made some in others. At the nadir, in 1997 rangers were standing at the gate with a bucket collecting donations so that BM could be put on the next year. I suspect things have gotten better, especially with the population increase the last couple years, but the event still isn’t an infinite cash cow with money to spend on whatever everyone’s pet project is.

    Rather than point fingers, why not become part of the solution? Combine several other Principles, Radical Self-expression, Communal Effort, Civic Responsibility, and Participation to educate others on what they should be doing already. You could organize a camp to do so or do it the easy way, and volunteer for the Earth Guardians.

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  • @corvus… Lets see,trash collecting areas and bm volounteres exactly how much would that cost? And ticket price times patrons equals not an infinite cash cow when most pay for their own installations? Hmm. Sneaky sneaky.

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  • We’ll just add another $50.00 to the ticket price to handle all the complaints AsOfTime has. Most likely that is what it would cost… Or we could have the idiots do what they are suppose to do and take it with them…

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  • @AsofTime: Let’s see, trash collecting areas and BM Volunteers, *and* bins to put the trash in and haulage fees and dump fees. I would guess that would cost considerably more than zero. Everything’s easy to the one who doesn’t have to do it.

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  • The radically self reliant participant is just that. Everything you bring you are responsible for. If you bring it then you take it with you when you leave. If the organization got into the trash collection business . . . . . it’s anathema to self reliance.

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  • Hi @TheHun,

    Thanks so much for all that you and the playa resto team do!

    I’m curious to know what the black dots surrounded by a red circle are? My assumption is that it’s something big left behind. I know the map isn’t even close to final right now, but we did notice a big dot suddenly appear in our camp, in a space where we know there wasn’t anything – I assumed it was something left by someone departing, but just wanted some clarification. Worried campmates want to know!



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  • SWiSS – First of all, thank you for putting in so much effort, and for caring so much about the result!

    The most common thing I hear is “that MOOP must have blown in from somewhere else.” I’ve actually heard that from almost all of the yellow zones on the map so far. However, it rained shortly after the event and there is very little MOOP blowing around out there; it’s all cemented into the dirt.

    I totally believe you when you say you were sure it was green. Yellow is really not that far from green; when you look at the ground in a yellow zone, you will not see much. Especially on the 3:00 side where it tends to be dustier.

    I’d say, check in with Placement in a couple of months to get the report on what was found, and then compare that with your camp activities. A lot of time, it’s a prevention problem, like cutting wood and building structures without tarping the area. Once you get the intel on what was found, you can probably connect that with what happened at your camp and continue to improve for next year.

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  • reader2580 – Not having trash cans is one of the basic tenets of this event. It’s something the organizers are pretty deeply devoted to. It goes back to two of the Ten Principles:

    – Leave No Trace: Every member of the community is personally involved in the process of leaving no trace of our time on the desert.

    – Radical Self Reliance: Do it yourself! Very little infrastructure is provided at Burning Man; everyone who comes here is responsible for as much of their own experience as possible.

    It’s all about personal responsibility, and the MOOP Map is an educational tool that’s designed to inspire more personal responsibility in the people of Black Rock City. It works pretty well, but nothing is perfect and we should all continue trying to do better. Trust me, the Org spends a lot of time working on this issue.

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  • AsOfTime, Obviously this is something you have strong feelings about. Please get in touch with TODAY, as the feedback period is about to close, and share your thoughts.

    I encourage you to get hands on and start your own efforts to clean up the rest stops, hotels and gas stations. Like I said, this topic isn’t something I have much power over as a lowly blogger.

    As for the rest of your points, I don’t have a lot more to add to the discussion and will not be weighing in again.

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  • Thank you guys for what you do.

    I *really* appreciated what you said at the end, thanking the camps for what they do and cutting us a little slack.

    I camped at Sacred Spaces this year…we have some red dots…I left on Tuesday, so I can’t say for certain of my own knowledge…but people who were there ’til the very end are adamant that nothing got left behind, and I believe them completely.

    Just FYI…

    Also, my goodness…on my way out on Tuesday afternoon, somewhere not too far south of Gerlach, was a pull out area on the side of the road with a *mountain* of trash bags…I mean…thousands of bags…I was shocked…could not believe burners would leave that pile.

    Did they? Crossed my mind that this was the results of the org’s cleanup along the road after exodus.

    I’m curious…

    LOVE, Truly

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  • Truly, I am not sure what that mountain of trash was. I didn’t see it personally and wasn’t involved on that side of things. But…yipes. I’ve asked the highway cleanup crew to get in touch and share some of what they found and saw, hopefully we’ll hear from them!

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  • @TheHun:
    I have also done a feedback form, but I want to share this here where we’re all talking about MOOP. I think we are missing two great opportunities:
    1) Bring No Trace – We can all do a better job of not bringing things that become dislodged, using things more reusable than zip ties, not bringing extraneous packaging.
    2) I can’t help but think that most people would have far less trash if their water containers didn’t consist of disposable water bottles/jugs. One thing I do is to use collapsible/reusable water containers, which I fill up on the way. I realize not everyone has this option. As far as Lovelock and Reno, though, the water jugs are lined up and for sale on the way. That turns into a LOT of trash. Has anyone come up with ideas that we can implement with those businesses to discourage this practice? I liked the ability to fill up in Gerlach and thereby support the very local economy. Have their been other ideas?

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