Black Rock City Setup


Greetings all and congratulations all around for another successful year of building and striking the wondrous metropolis of Black Rock City, Nevada.  Constructing the “Clock” city layout of BRC is in its eleventh year, and the starting survey team of 10 has further honed its skills and methods to make the task relatively stress free – (weather permitting).

With the August 2nd  setting of the “Gold Spike” – (the marker that determines the placement of the “Man” and also the point onfrom which the rest of the city points are measured), the weather did permit for smooth conditions throughout.  There were a few days where 100 -plus temperatures drove the team off the site for the mid-day, but the survey team prefers to work in the cools of the mornings and evenings anyway.  With the Esplanade set by lunch of the first day, the seasoned crew slipped into muscle memory and the main grid spun out like a spider web.  The rest was a myriad of hundreds of individual measurements that were all in place about seven days later.

As the event grows, so does the complexity of the city, and the challenges that this presents.  The team even measured in two extra streets this year to prepare for the anticipated swell in population.  These streets were opened on Wednesday of the event.  As the methods and systems sharpen, we have full confidence that the department can absorb the steady growth of Black Rock City.

City Infrastructure

On August 8th of this year, the Department of Public Works of BRC yet again set a record for constructing the perimeter fence.  This fence is about eight miles long and consists of t-bar fence stakes and orange construction site trash fence.  The t-stakes number well over 3000 and are pounded in by a hearty volunteer crew of 60-plus after which the orange fence material is then tied. With a 5:00am call, this year’s fence crew had the entire fence up and tied by around 11:00am.  Even some of the local ranchers were scratching their brows while muttering, “I’ll be darned!”  This seemed to set a pace and all other crews followed suit with intersections of roads springing up with thousands of road pegs in between, sign shop crews blanketing the city with hundreds of necessary and critical signs, shade being rolled out by the acre, spires popping up everywhere defining all the city curves, plazas and promenades appearing out of nowhere, and all the while being steadily filled by the theme camps, villages and a growing population that gives it all meaning.

After the event, the city strike runs in a mirror image reverse.  As the saying goes, “The last screw in is the first screw out.”  This year’s strike went ever smoother as things become increasingly organized over the years.  Our Work Ranch, where most of the components and materials that make up the infrastructure of BRC are stored, was awarded the proper permits this year to expand the facility, giving the much-needed breathing room for a growing project.  This, in turn, afforded the opportunity to streamline things even further, making for a well-oiled machine.

Department of Public Works Operations Team

A few years back it was becoming clear that the DPW was quickly growing to a point where the task of operations management was too large a job for one person.  There is now a team of seven that accomplish the balancing act of running the DPW every year. With little replacement of personnel for these positions over the years, a strong synergy has been developing between these people, and continues to develop as we learn and grow with the project itself.  All are very suited for their respective tasks and all are able to flex with the endless curve ball pressures that pulling off an event of this magnitude in the extreme conditions of the Nevada high desert playa can dish out.  A boiled down job description for us all might simply be “Troubleshooters”.

Playa Restoration

Once again the Burning Man Community, at 51,000 citizens, leads by example in our use of Public Land and keeping the Black Rock Desert beautiful.

Judging by our annual Moop Map which guages the Restoration Crew’s pace as they line sweep the city grid, it has become apparent that our community is winning this game in a big way and getting better all the time.

It’s an inspiring sight to see more and more Theme Camps, artists, and other participants adopting our line sweep methods and restoration techniques for Leaving No Trace. WE LOVE YOUR WORK. Keep doing your best and we’ll back your effort in keeping the Black Rock Desert beautiful.

As a growing world-wide community, with regional events all over the globe, it is key that we be mindful of our environment and know that it is our Leave No Trace intention that grants us the power and responsibility of building and burning into the future.

This is the power of a community at work together.