One of the sexiest things about Burning Man — which you don’t always hear in the media — is that we’re the largest practicing Leave No Trace event in the world. BOOM! We build it, we burn it, we blow it up, and we make it all disappear so it looks like nothing ever happened.
The Man explodes on September 1, 2012. Photo by Neil Girling. Click for original.
With 50,000+ attendees in 2012, Burning Man is the largest gathering on U.S. Public Lands. The Bureau of Land Management permits us to celebrate our culture in the Black Rock Desert, but we must make sure the playa is returned to its pristine condition, Leaving No Trace behind. After all, it is public land and it’s meant to be shared by everyone.
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Moopers at the starting line. Photo by Vertumnus. Click to enlarge!
Hello, hello, HELLO to all you MOOP maniacs and line sweepers extraordinaire! Welcome to our LIVE coverage of the event of the year, the thrilling final quarter of Burning Man 2012, the nail-biting conclusion to a rollercoaster season. That’s right: We’re about to start creating this year’s MOOP Map.
If you’re tuning in for the first time, here’s what you need to know: Burning Man may technically be over, but for the 115 members of the Playa Restoration team, it’s just getting going. These all-star, highly attuned and maniacally dedicated moopers are about to comb the width and breadth of Black Rock City, picking up every last piece of MOOP they can before time runs out. What will they find? Will they finish in time? We’re about to find out.
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Tales From The Playa are dreams and memories of events that took place at Burning Man, as told by its participants.
Hello out there — if anyone is out there.
The Hun here, reporting from Reno where the ghosts and ghouls and glamorously undead have taken over the town. So far I’m safe here, barricaded in my house with eleven guns and a month’s supply of candy. But OMG! How I regret not warning you all weeks ago, when maybe we could’ve stopped this from happening. I should said something. But I kept it a secret, and now we’re all paying the price.
It may be too late for the truth to help things, but here we go. It started way back in August, when Stinger rolled into Gerlach with an angry-looking lump on her jaw.
She said it was a bee sting, and we all believed her. Maybe it really was a bee sting — but from what kind of bee? Even with medication, the lump didn’t heal. It just grew bigger, and blacker.
After a while, Stinger disappeared. We all figured she’d gone to the hospital to get that gigantic infected wound taken care of.
But then, a few days before the end of Playa Restoration, it happened. When the MOOP line showed up for work, Stinger was there. I don’t know how she got out to the desert; maybe she walked there. The lump was gangrenous and putrid, and it had eaten half her face. She didn’t seem to notice. She seemed… well, she seemed an awful lot like a zombie.
And then the worst happened: She attacked.
taking Deadpan unawares.
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Hey there sports fans, MOOP maniacs and line sweepers extraordinaire! The Hun here, ecstatic to report that Burning Man has PASSED its site inspection with the Bureau of Land Management. 2012 here we come!
The 2011 inspection crew
Yes, it was an exciting morning for the few remaining members of the DPW Playa Restoration team. Braving freezing winds and a muddy playa, the team gathered at the place once known as Center Camp. There we met our BLM referees, Roger Farschon and Cory Roegner of the BLM. Roger, now retired, has led this inspection many times before — in fact, he helped develop the method along with Will Roger. Cory’s in his second year as Outdoor Recreation Planner, which means he works with all the permitted events on the playa and gives them all the same type of inspection. Ours, of course, is the largest, but we’re held to the same strict standard of Leaving No Trace.
Cory holds up the square used to measure MOOP. Each 1/10 acre site must contain less MOOP than will fit into that square.
What does “Leave No Trace” mean to the BLM? It means that for every acre of land, we can’t leave behind more than one square foot of MOOP on average.
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Hey there sports fans, MOOP maniacs and line sweepers extraordinaire! The Hun here, reporting from Gerlach where the Playa Restoration season is coming to a nail-biting finish. The BLM is in town, and we’ve scheduled our site inspection for tomorrow morning. Will the weather hold? Will the playa be passable? Will Burning Man happen next year? It all comes down to tomorrow!
The last of the summer colors will fade within days.
Today, I’ve got the last scores from the 2011 MOOP Map. In Day Nine, your DPW Playa Restoration team swept through Center Camp, then began systematically cleaning some of Black Rock City’s busiest and MOOPiest spots. We covered the inner playa and the art sites, work camps and roads, and kept working until this Tuesday when the weather closed in, and we had to leave the desert behind.
Today’s score is a mixed bag, and the results may surprise you:
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Hey there sports fans, MOOP maniacs and line sweepers extraordinaire! The Hun here, reporting from Gerlach where the weather has just dealt us a swift kick in the you-know-what. A cold, wet storm front has descended upon us, dusting the mountains with snow and deluging the desert with rain. The BLM inspection is planned for tomorrow! Will we make it, or will we be rained out again? The atmosphere is tense, and cold, and windy.
Denise Nuts keeps warm in the arms of a friendly dinosaur.
Luckily, I’ve got good news for you. In Day 8 of line sweeps, our DPW Playa Restoration team covered the final blocks of the city grid, leaving only Center Camp, the Man Base and the Temple of Transition to be MOOPed. Working from opposite ends, the two Line Sweeps teams met at 6:00 between Graduation and Hajj for a celebratory shade break. Then they turned their sights to the open playa, while the Scribes inspected Center Camp to carefully document visible hot spots.
We’ll have the results from Center Camp soon, but for now, here’s your big green city:
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Hey there sports fans, MOOP maniacs and line sweepers extraordinaire! The Hun here, reporting from Gerlach where morale is high and the DPW Playa Restoration team is on track for a BIG WIN. Yes, it’s mighty MOOP-free out there folks. All of you at home who cleaned up your camps, pat yourselves on the back for helping your home team secure what looks to be a smashing victory.
Drink Water and Easygoin with 2011's biggest piece of MOOP: A length of wire cabling from beneath the Man. To be fair, it was left there on purpose, not abandoned.
In Day Seven of Line Sweeps, the front line picked up its pace. Lean and hungry for MOOP, they marched across 44 blocks — the entire area from 10:00 to 2:00 between Engagement, Funeral and Graduation, and part of Hajj!
44 blocks is a lot, almost as many as the lines covered in the early days of the season. But how did those blocks fare? Was the quick pace due to a lack of MOOP, or to a highly skilled group of MOOPers? Well, it looks like a little of both:
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Hey there sports fans, MOOP maniacs and line sweepers extraordinaire! The Hun here, reporting from Gerlach where time is running out for your Black Rock City home team. As I type this, the DPW Playa Restoration crew is pulling up all the last T-stakes and cones, our final points of reference in an increasingly featureless desert. There’s a storm coming, see, and whether we’re ready or not, our time on the playa is almost up.
Joey Jello and Booyah pull up the T-stake marking the corner of 9:00 and D.
But let’s look back to Day 6, when our intrepid Restoration MOOPers swept through 22 blocks — from 4:30 to 10:00 between Coming Out, Divorce and Engagement. How did the C-D-E camps fare? Here’s the report:
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