Black Rock City Setup


Another Burning Man cycle has passed and a community continues to steadily grow. An always impressive aerial photo captures Black Rock City’s capacity as we see the curve of thousands of participants camped in the fire art event we call Burning Man. Now in its twenty-sixth year, we see a lifestyle and ethos that is starting to span a generation with traditions and legends cementing into our history books as populations grow each year. And as the population grows, so does the city itself.

With a population that continues to expand, the grid of the city must compensate for this growth. The main design of the city hasn’t changed since the inception of the “clock” design in 1999, but there are always annual minor tweaks. The radial streets at the fifteen minute intervals look to be here to stay as they provide much more “breathing room” for the outer blocks. The number of streets remained the same but at peak populations this year, there were still available lots for camping and room for higher populations in the seasons to come.

This year brought us to the city site “C”, the furtherest site reaching into the playa – (in agreement with the BLM, the city site gets rotated between three sites – much like rotating crops – to allow other sites to “heal”.) This year brought severe challenges due to the extremely low rainfall during the off season (the playa saw less than one inch of rain). The playa surface was very soft and in turn lead to heavy amounts of dust during and post event. But the management and crew of the DPW are well-seasoned and versed to these conditions and city setup was conducted like a well-rehearsed performance with all managers checking in with smooth reports. This includes the creation of the main city grid, which includes the radial and arc streets that form the “clock” of BRC, the Promenades, the Plazas and keyholes that open into them; key locations of the city that include the Man, the Temple, the Center Camp Cafe, the DPW Depot, site services, Greeters, the Gate location and Gate Road, the airport, and walk-in camping; the 8.9 mile fence, all the signs (street signs and such) that delineate the city, and anything that has to do with road works.

It took years of work to refine the working strata, infrastructure and resources of our department, and we find ourselves reaping the benefits with ever more productive seasons.

We look forward to another year of successes and challenges!

Playa Restoration

Playa Restoration had our biggest and most successful year this year and the BLM was very pleased with Black Rock City’s Leave No Trace efforts. Thank you all!

2012 Goal: As we can see in the BLM’s flowchart of the Site Inspection Results from previous years, our challenge was to bring the 2011 results (75%) back down to 50% or under in 2012. The final results of the 2012 BLM Inspection have not yet been tallied but we are confident that we have achieved that goal.

Once again, Playa Restoration’s MOOP Map live blog by Jessica “The Hun” Reeder was a great success. Featuring beautiful pictures by Vertumnus, the MOOP Map live blog follows the everyday progress of the Playa Restoration Crew as they leave no trace on the playa in preparation for the BLM inspection. Be sure to read it here and also check out the Hun’s other environmentally focused blog entries.

Although we did notice an overall improved effort, wood is still the number one MOOP problem on the playa.

Be a part of the solution – never let wood MOOP hit the ground. Building a project out of wood? Got firewood? Nail down a tarp, lay down a rug, or build a floor. Put down flooring of some sort to protect the playa surface. Remember: Wood is MOOP.

Last but not least, the most dangerous MOOP issue that needs to be addressed is tent stakes and rebar sticking out of the playa. Bad bad bad. Rebar and tent stakes can pop a tire and must be removed. DO NOT HAMMER THEM INTO THE PLAYA. A piece of rebar will simply rear its ugly head at another time and keep the danger alive. Use vice grips to twist the stakes out of the ground.

Submitted by,
Tony Perez and “DA” Dominic Tinio