MOOP MAP 2014: Black Rock City Will Rise Again

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~ Leaving No Trace ~
The Burning Man community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.

DA, Playa Restoration Manager/Mastermind, and his fabulous and brilliant assistant Irene.
DA, Playa Restoration Manager/Mastermind, and his fabulous and brilliant assistant Irene.

In the midst of the bass-thumping, fire-florid, neon-edged glory of Black Rock City, we forget ourselves, lose our boundaries, recombine with our neighbors to become something new. And even as we’re out there, as Larry Harvey might say, “jiggling our molecules around,” there’s an awareness — this doesn’t last forever.

We have this window in time, this brilliant moment to reinvent ourselves into something slightly better, truer, more vibrant and conscious.

Well, I’m here to tell you that, even though the window for 2014 has closed, it will open again in 2015. Congratulations, Black Rock City: You successfully left no trace on the playa, helping to ensure that Burning Man can return to the desert we love.

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Cop Whispering: A call to unity

Working DPW and Gate at Burning Man has given many of us on staff our first taste of what it feels like to be an Enforcer. Of any type. In order to build and run a city out of thin air, sometimes a bunch of anti-authoritarians have to figure out how to tell other anti-authoritarians what to do, in the way we’d like to be told ourselves.

We workers are enforcers of necessary rules like: Don’t bring your guns or dogs here, don’t run towards the burning thing, and what if you’ve tried to stow away a hippie and now they’re suffocating underneath your bad plans.

Yes, it can be fun to role-play alpha tribe-protector out here, all fancy with a radio. Yes, the Stanford Prison Experiment was real, and we’re sure the lead Black Rock Rangers have had to pull some “excited fake cop” people off their Burning Man Ranger routes and take their radios away. That’s human nature. Working through it is what happens next.

For us regular blue-collar workers in Black Rock City, sometimes in this heat we get to feeling harsh, whether from a long work day, a few bad apples’ stupidity, or their mis-assumption of our stupidity. Worse yet, sometimes, as Enforcers, we harsh someone who doesn’t deserve it, because someone else tried to run and hitchhike through fast-moving intake lanes just a minute ago.

So the workers of Black Rock City have a heightened sense of empathy for Burning Man’s law enforcement. In Black Rock City, we have DPW who builds and stewards the town, we have Rangers who walk around and interact with the community, we have Emergency Services which provides medical and fire protection to anyone and everyone who needs it, and we have Gate and Perimeter as our internal “border security.” Together, these Burning Man departments handle all the regular, run-of-the-mill problems a society might have, such as power outages, dehydration, or domestic disputes.

Then the big guns are also here — the BLM and local law enforcement — whenever we need them.

We have always been glad they’re here. We workers have dealt with some scary shit, and while we talk a big tough game, DPW doesn’t know what to do with a transient one-armed man who’s wandered in from the desert during setup 2003, bleeding from his crazy-eyed head, talking about having just murdered a friend and his dog. Uhhhh, that’s beyond our scope of knowledge and ability.

We call the cops. We need cops. End of story. (more…)

Burning Man passes its site inspection. 2014 is a GO!

HURRAH! It’s a red-letter day for all you MOOP maniacs and line sweepers extraordinaire: Our Leave No Trace efforts have made it possible for Burning Man to happen again in 2014.

Your inspection team. Photo by Bubblegique.
Your inspection team. Photo by Bubblegique.

On Thursday, November 14, the DPW Playa Restoration All-Stars regrouped on the Black Rock Desert, meeting with the Bureau of Land Management to conduct the annual inspection of our site. If you didn’t know, everything we do hinges on this one moment: If we don’t pass our inspection, the BLM may not allow us to continue holding Burning Man on this public land.

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MOOP Map Live, Day 7: The Green Streak Ends

Greetings MOOP maniacs and line sweepers extraordinaire! Here in Gerlach, the Playa Restoration All-Star team is being blown across the sweeping expanse of the Black Rock Desert by winds that have gusted as high as 50mph.

Luckily for Black Rock City, these rockstar Restoration experts are sticking to the task at hand, grabbing every last bit of MOOP, and still managing to look great doing it.

Burning Man Playa Restoration 2013, Day 15.
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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!
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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.

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MOOP Map Live 2013: Day 1!

Greetings MOOP maniacs and line sweepers extraordinaire! It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for all year. The 2013 DPW Playa Restoration All-Star team is proud to present the very first glimpse at this year’s Burning Man MOOP Map.

Burning Man Playa Restoration 2013, Day 1.

Burning Man Playa Restoration 2013, Day 1.

The MOOP Map is a graphical representation of what we discover as we comb the Burning Man site for Matter Out Of Place. Find out more about how it works here, or read on to see the first day’s MOOP score!

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MOOP Map Live 2013

Burning Man Playa Restoration 2013, Day 1.

Greetings from the remains of Black Rock City, where 120 brave members of the DPW Playa Restoration team are storming the streets and doing what they do best: Making sure Burning Man 2013 upholds its promise to Leave No Trace.

Burning Man Playa Restoration 2013, Day 1.

The stakes are higher than we ever could have imagined. With the Bureau of Land Management’s site inspection looming on October 2, we’ve got just 2 weeks to make sure our city is up to the BLM’s exacting standard. We’ve never failed before, but with so many Black Rock Citizens at Burning Man 2013 (not to mention a larger city grid than ever before), we’re certainly covering a lot of new ground.

Our goal: To scour the city and remove all Matter Out Of Place, in the process creating this year’s MOOP Map.

Burning Man Playa Restoration 2013, Day 1.

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