The Department of Public Works (DPW) is the first Burning Man presence on the Black Rock desert each year, and it is the last Burning Man presence after the event. DPW dedicates weeks of hard work planning and constructing of Black Rock City’s public infrastructure, along with many of the other projects that help to make the city a miracle of transience. DPW also continues its works for weeks after the Man burns, to ensure that BRC is truly temporary by restoring the playa to the pristine condition in which it was found.

In 2006, DPW continued to drive Integrated Plan meetings with the other departments needing services or equipment. These meetings are productive and have become an important part of scheduling DPW resources. This year’s meetings resulted in a comprehensive chart detailing who needs what when – information that feeds the DPW Logistics team’s priorities for the coming year. A detailed list of expected DPW responsibilties is extremely helpful both for DPW management and for the other departments. The IP meetings took on a more formal character in 2006; as our results have been good, we expect the trend to continue in 2007.

Once again, the little town of Gerlach, Nevada hosted the DPW. Staff and the department’s volunteer crew lived, worked, and played there. As the DPW’s presence in Gerlach has grown, we have put more energy into managing the Burning Man Nevada properties. These consist of Black Rock Station (a work ranch situated in the Hualapai Valley, a few miles beyond the event site on Route 34), business offices, and the Black Rock Social Club in Gerlach. Without these properties, DPW would struggle to complete the task of building Black Rock City. 2006 was the third year that DPW has lived in Gerlach, and it was the smoothest year to date.

2006 was a noteworthy year for DPW. The morale of the crew was stronger than ever thoughout the 2006 event season. Completing the facilites at the Black Rock Social club gave us a place to call home in Gerlach. A solid mix of returning DPW and new crew brought renewed life to the department and ensured that valuable skills and know-how were passed on. DPW would not be able to meet our objectives without the crew who invest so much of themselves in building and removing Black Rock City.

Submitted by
Matt “HazMatt” Morgan