2000 BRC Cleanup Report

by Dan Miller, DPW Clean Up Manager – October 20, 2000

The Good News
The only trace of Black Rock City 2000 remaining, are memories, photos, and footprints. We passed the initial BLM inspection, October 17, with flying colors. Our success was due to the hard work and awareness of our citizenry, our mighty DPW (Dept. of Public Works), recycling camp, the Earth Guardians, the good fortune of mild weather and a dedicated hard working clean up crew. Lessons learned and implemented from 1999 allowed us to create twice the scale, yet able to pack it away even more thoroughly in less than half the time! The 5 key preventive improvements that made a difference were:

The Mantras:

  1. Don’t let it hit the ground and
  2. Clean as you go.
  3. The well-received request of each and every person to contribute 2 hours cleaning the open space of BRC beyond cleaning ones own camp down to the granular level!
  4. Reinforcement of securing potential windblown litter (e.g. plastic bags and paper) and the single greatest clean up improvement
  5. Containing and elevating all fires above the playa surface with the addition of community burn platforms to help achieve this.

The Bad News
However all was not perfect. There were many fires burned directly on the playa as well as overflowing burn platforms, each leaving a discolored mess. (All told there were over three dump truck loads of ash and burn debris from over 50 locations). The trash fence netted 2 to 5 hefty bags of trash per day (depending on windiness). Despite the tremendous effort of the citizen clean up, our detail clean up crew gridded the entire city and extracted an additional 300+ gallons (over six 55 gallon drums) of MOOP (matter out of place) wood chips, cigarette butts, water bottle caps, mylar scraps, fireworks residue, plastic ties, screws, nails, plastic cup shards, non-native stones, plastic bits, broken glass, organic scraps, bamboo shake, leaves, pistachio shells, tent stakes, coins, jewelry bits, matches, lolly-pop stems, Q-tips, hair wads, paper/literature, beer bottle tops, spilled paint, wax, etc… — mostly spread wide and far, but an unacceptable trace.

The largest concentrations were generally where people were camped the longest, had done elaborate construction, and/or had the greatest populations of visitors, i.e. Theme camps, many art installations and the DPW yard and camp.

Improvements for next year:

  • Continued and improved prevention education.
  • Don’t let it hit the ground.
  • Avoid confetti materials (broken bottles, firecrackers, mylar anything, feather boas) and those that shed or flake (straw, bamboo, leaves).
  • No cigarette butts on the ground (way too many of these things still!).
  • If you are planning on leaving when its dark, be sure to clean during the daylight prior.
  • Stakes left in the ground is unconscionable.
  • Cleaning as you go has two benefits 1) less work at the end, and 2) less stuff for a rogue storm to bury or mud in.
  • Improved burn platforms (walled, larger, higher, stronger).
  • If you burn something (of course non-synthetic), you are responsible for removing all trace of it.
  • Contribute 2 hours cleaning the open space of BRC (around or with your favorite art installation or theme camp) after cleaning your own camp down to the granular level!

In Summary
The Black Rock Desert is a pristine wilderness environment. Its monumental 400 square mile crackled expanse exposes every particle of our material wake. It is every citizen of Black Rock citys responsibility to leave it as we found it, to share its beauty with all others, to do our part to retain its open space status.


Cleanup Sites to Note from Burning Man 2000
by Chris Schardt

This list was compiled while doing the final sweeps through the city between September 16th and October 2nd. Every bad spot was marked on a large map of the city. Later, these spots were located on maps of theme camp locations. In the last few weeks, the location of each theme camp with a bad spot was verified with the theme camp placers and by conversation with theme camp contact people. If we’ve placed a bad spot in a theme camp that wasn’t responsible for it, we apologize. We’ve certainly done our best to see that this didn’t happen. Though the mood and perceptions of the cleanup crew certainly entered into the judgement of whether a cleanup site was “bad”, it is certain that the listed sites are unquestionably the worst. There were lots of small messes that we didn’t bother to note. Most of the time a site was marked after at least 5 people started screaming for the blood of those responsible.

One last thing: You may notice that many of the bad sites (some of the worst, in fact) are not attributed to any theme camp, since we didn’t have any record of one on those sites. If you know who WAS camping on one of these sites, please let Harley know. Of particular interest is the party responsible for sturdily burying a 4×4 in a gravel-filled post hole, then simply sawing off the 4×4 when they left. This is SO dangerous it’s not funny. (The 4×4 would have worked its way upward through the seasons. Before it would have become visible to a speeding vehicle, it may very well have torn up one of said vehicle’s tires.) This artifact was found at the northwest side of Gut, halfway between 7:00 and 7:30.

Center Camp
First Camp, Free Photograph Zone, Mystic Crews of Satyrs – PARTICULARLY BAD
— lots of wood chips
— pistacio shells
— staples
Mad Scientist Camp – PARTICULARLY BAD
— wire
— electrical connectors
— pistacio shells
Approx 9:30 between the cafe and Camp Coup D’etat (a public fire pit)
— lots of trash
— ashes
— lots of wood chips
all the way around
— the ditch for the power cable was NOT filled properly or at all

Alpha Quadrant (2:00 – 3:30)
— tent stakes
— nails in ground
— lots of grass

Beta Quadrant (3:30 – 5:30)
— 2 large areas with lots of glitter
Black Rock Space Port
— orange paint on playa – like someone was marking where to put up tents
— burn scar
— another burn scar just inside Head Way

Gamma Quadrant (6:30-8:30)
— lots of glass
— lots of paint, mostly silver, on surface and buried in a dug hole
— see photos at http://www.moeskitchen.com/doctors/cleanup
— nails
— pins
— fish tank gravel
— 2 burn scars
In front of Dragons Orb, just inside Head Way
— burn scar
Northest corner of Brain and 7:00
— glass
South side of 7:00, halfway between Gut and Sex (closer to Gut)
— large area of half-buried bamboo
North side of 7:00, halfway between Heart and Gut
— lots of half-buried grass
Northwest side of Gut, halfway between 7:00 and 7:30 (closer to 7:00)
— 4×4 post, buried in gravel, then just sawed off
Northwest corner of 7:30 and Heart
— burn scar with LOTS of metal
Northwest side of Heart, halfway between 7:30 and 8:00
— glass
7:52 between Sex and Anal
— burn scar with red&green paint mixed in
I Love NY -or- Deviant Liquid Latex Lounge
— plastic ties
— cups
— styrofoam
Un-labeled area between 7:30 and 8:00, along Throat, halfway to Brain
— christmas lights
— glass
— lots of blue paint – HORRIBLE!
Equal -or- an adjacent camper
— burn scar
— general bad mess (too much variety of stuff to note)
— very large burn scar, something like 40′ in from Head Way
In front of ARF, inside Head Way
— a burn scar
ARF -and- Mash 4024th -and- Xenologists -and- Heronimous Max
— lots of metal
— plastic ties
— glass bits
— clay bits
— burn scar
Dante’s In-Fluoro
— big pile of toilet paper

Delta Quadrant(8:30 – 10:00)
Halfway between 8:30 and 9:00, between Brain and Throat (closer to Brain)
— burn scar
9:00 Outpost, northern half of center camp
— cigarette butts
— wood
— plastic
Northeast of the corner of 9:00 and Heart
— burn scar
— glass
Bisquit Lounge
— burn scar (near outpost)
— wood chips
— bottle caps
— glass
— carpet
— feathers
— string
— wire insulation
9:22 between Brain and Throat (closer to Throat)
— big pile of auto glass
Peiades Mission Research
— staples
— toys
Between Head and Brain, just east of 9:30
— nails
— candles
— cigarette butts
— staples
— 2 burn scars

Other Places
— general bad mess
300′ inside of Head Way at 6:20
— sand pile
800′ or so north of the corner of Head and 2:00
— very large burn scar
Burn platform inside of Head Way at 4:00
— worst burn scars, caused by people overloading platform, burning wood hanging way over the edge
ALL burn platforms
— nobody seemed to take away their own ashes
ALL porta-potty sites
— every one had dunes containing toilet paper, trash, and worse!

The city was WAY cleaner than after Burning Man 1999.- Good job everyone!

The worst sites were:

  • Thartaurs of Atlan
  • DPW

Followed closely by:

  • Lustmonkeys of Xara
  • Un-labeled area between 7:30 and 8:00, along Throat, halfway to Brain

“We prefer that if you build art that you intend to burn, you apply to the Art Department in advance for placement which will safeguard your piece and the art of others. Additionally, if you are going to burn your art, read the Survival Guide, the Earth Guardian section, the “Playa Protection Plan” and the “Environmental and Health Effects of Burning on the playa”. Remember, this is a Pack-It-In and Pack-It-Out event, we ask you to Leave No Trace. There are no garbage cans, and you’ll need to remove you own burn ashes. Thank you for doing your part in conserving the resources in the Black Rock Desert.”

Maid Marian
Mistress of Communication