After another successful year of building and dismantling Black Rock City, (BRC), I’m proud to report that the systems that have been developing over the years are making for an ever improving, well-organized operation. Our volunteer base and management team have been steadily strengthening as more and more of our staff return as seasoned veterans. We are becoming more and more efficient during the survey and set up of our event, and better at responding to an ever-changing city design.
Safety and efficiency stayed as our main foci, our staff moral was at an all-time high. As our staff improves, so does the development of our Department of Public Works. As we continue to upgrade and build our fleet of vehicles and equipment, we are more able to complete our tasks on time and up to specifications.
Though the overall city design has been consistent for several years now, changes are made every year to cope with the changing demands of our community. There are also many adjustments made to keep our environmental impact as low as possible. Things like city orientation and varying the site location have done well to minimize our “footprint” on the Black Rock Desert. The overall approach of this event has always been one of flexibility and innovation, which brings a staff that is well acquainted with breaking new ground and thinking outside the box.
Our methods of operation have been developing in other areas too, such as city maintenance and communal support. The harsh environment of the Black Rock Desert is well known, and our staff must be able to respond to the many curve balls that come our way. As our community strengthens, so does our Support Services department and our Department of Public Works.
Every year we campaign to our community to apply a “Leave No Trace” ethic to our event. Every year after the city breaks camp and the Playa Restoration crew is all that remains, we find that the majority of Burning Man participants have done just that. Restoring the Black Rock Desert to its pristine state post-event is a daunting task, but this task is made infinitely more achievable by the efforts of each community member. For the last two years, the Playa Restoration Crew has created a color coded “map” of BRC indicating the levels of debris left behind on a block-by-block basis. For many years now, this debris has been referred to as MOOP, (matter out of place), hence the title, ‘ MOOP map’. Even after just one year of this study we have recorded a high percentage of improvement from the 2007, where more than three quarters of the city was indicated as “green” on the map. (see below for map, legend and detailed percentages) As our city develops and grows, we hope that this element of our community continues to improve.
As our skills and methods of building, maintaining, and dismantling BRC, and then ultimately restoring the Black Rock Desert to its original state continue to develop and improve, so does our ability to influence the communities in the world around us. Regional events modeled after ours are starting to happen around the globe, we can help them to develop efficient working methods from our experiences. We can teach them how to build and dismantle quickly, safely, and efficiently, and how to restore their surrounding environments so they too can “leave no trace”.
Black Rock City is, and hopes to always be the magic disappearing city.
Tony Perez, aka Coyote
City Superintendent, DPW
Be proud of yourselves, Citizens of Black Rock!
Black Rock City is still the largest practicing Leave No Trace Event in the world.
On October 3rd, the DPW Playa Restoration All-Star Team represented Black Rock City at the yearly BLM Site Inspection Test of the Black Rock Desert- and passed with flying colors once again.
Judging by the results of the 2008 Line Sweeps done by DPW, the citizens of Black Rock were without a doubt, able to step up their overall Leave No Trace efforts and significantly reduced their environmental impact on the playa.
MOOP MAP Results, aka “The Score” Impact 2008 Results 2007 Results RED – HIGH IMPACT TRACE, aka “hot,” “MOOPy,” “dead in our tracks” 9% 20% YELLOW – MODERATE IMPACT TRACE – aka “so-so,” “stop and go,” “not green but not red either” 14% 40% GREEN – LOW TO NO IMPACT TRACE – aka “pretty damn clean,” “lookin’ good,” “go go go!” 77% 40%
The MOOP Map Data for 2008 reflects an approximate 11% drop in Red zones, 26% drop in Yellow zones, and a 37% increase in Green zones within the city camping grid.
GREEN WINS. Way to go Green Man! Leave No Trace is a community-wide team effort, and a victory for Playa restoration is a victory for ALL of Black Rock City. And this victory is because of YOU.
But don’t let all that ‘Green’ go to your head! This year’s Restoration game was no cake-walk, it never is.
We are definitely feeling the 20% increase in population reflected in the sheer volume of MOOP. Some of the camping areas were “redder than red.” There seems to be a rise in abandoned big trash piles, couches, barrels, rugs, tents, etc. This is not acceptable.
Pack it out and do your Line Sweeps. Use your Push Brooms, Landscape Rakes, Shovels and Magnet Sweepers to clean up hotspots. These are the basics. These are our tools.
For a closer look, check out our new Online Interactive MOOP Map.
As citizens of Black Rock, we are ALL leaders of Leave No Trace. This is what makes us Burners. And we will burn again…
Black Rock City will boldly continue to build and burn, setting the standards for leaving no trace wherever we go- not simply because it is required of us, but because it is what we do.
Dominic Tinio, aka DA
Playa Restoration Manager