This year the managers and teams of the Community Services Department welcomed the support and guidance of our new Event Operations Director and an Operations Team Project Manager/Administrative Assistant. 2013 saw the 11 community service departments rise to an even dozen, with the addition of the Burner Express Bus operation.

We also hired both a seasonal manager and production assistant supporting camp Placement for the first time, and a couple new faces joined the placement volunteer team. For continuity, we were pleased that the veteran volunteer Placement Manager transitioned to the sole task of liaison to department camps. Former Airport managers stepped back, assuming mentoring roles to their replacements. We also welcomed a new Gerlach-Empire Bus Depot Manager.

Another first was requiring pre-registration from all staff, art support, and “other” category camps that wished for placement between Esplanade and G Street. This allowed the placement team to focus on patrolling just inner reserved zones with regard to land-grabbing. We held a single theme camp forum in the spring to assist with registration and to review a variety of other pertinent topics, including the need for dedicated safety staff and plans at Large Scale Sound camps. We gave theme camps as well as infrastructure volunteers access to some direct distributed tickets to support these community contributors.

The Bureau of Land Management ramped up enforcement of their Special Recreation Permits for commercial entities providing services at the event. This impacted outside service providers to theme camps as well as the air charters bringing participants in through the BRC municipal airport.

We experienced a bump in population. Fortunately we saw it coming and were able to make upgrades, printing more acculturation packets and adding six additional Greeter lanes and beacons. Auxiliary city streets M and N were surveyed and then opened as the population density favored the nine o’clock side of the city.

On a final note, here’s a story. This one time at Burning Man a gentleman couldn’t find his way back to his camp: he had become disoriented. His fellow Burners (figuratively) took him by the hand and helped him find his way back to his playa home. The next year he built a bright LED beacon, which he and all his neighbors used as a visual homing device. Disorient camp grew, and the beacons became more elaborate and sophisticated. They became signs that wouldn’t stay put, and in time the gentleman became a prominent national artist, working in the medium of light. His work “explores not only on the physical but adds the dimension of time combining both spatial and temporal resolution”. This year we saw his largest-to-date installation on the San Francisco Bay Bridge.

This all began when someone got lost on the playa.

Submitted by,

Terry Schoop