MOOP Map 2016: Day One – The Bodies and The Gears

In this one time at burning man by summerburkes0 Comments

“Killin’ time ‘til Resto.”

It’s a phrase often used in the DPW, or the Department of Public Works, Black Rock City’s builders and tearer-downers and cleaner-uppers. City superintendent Coyote likes to say we in the DPW build the first piece of art out here at Burning Man — the town grid and all the infrastructure upon it.

We build a boundary (the trash fence) and stretch a 9.5-square-mile city canvas for Burners to paint on.

As you know, all this has to disappear after Burning Man is over. Welcome to the realm of the Playa Restoration crew.

MOOP buckets are best made from 2-gallon water jugs with half the top cut out. Here they are on day one, up for grabs under the Resto trailer on the shoreline. DPW workers will personalize and mutilate these over the coming days.

MOOP buckets are best made from 2-gallon water jugs with half the top cut out. Here they are on day one, up for grabs under the Resto trailer on the shoreline. DPW workers will personalize and mutilate these over the coming days.

Burning Man didn’t get to be the world’s largest Leave No Trace event for nothing — the Bureau of Land Management, or BLM, decides every year if we did a good enough job on the restoration to be permitted to do Burning Man again the following year. So we make sure we do.

Black Rock City’s 2016 BLM Site Inspection is slated for October 3. Since the Burning Man event ended and up until this past weekend, the DPW has struck the city and put everything back where it goes for the winter.

Dirty Bacon from Highway Cleanup (pictured) reports HALF the trash left or blown on the side of the roads as compared to last year. That’s huge, people

Dirty Bacon from Highway Cleanup (pictured) reports HALF the trash left or blown on the side of the roads as compared to last year. That’s huge, people

Now, as of yesterday, Playa Restoration has started. Cue cheering and applause! This is the event some of us in the DPW have been waiting for all year. And you, Burners and MOOP enthusiasts at home, you’re eager to see how your neighborhood did on the MOOP map, aren’tcha? Hang on a sec. Let’s huddle for a recap of what Resto is.

Resto crew gathers round for the first time in 2016 and gets valuable advice: Watch your MOOP buckets so they don’t spread MOOP or let it go. Be here for roll call, and be close enough to hear your name. “The faster we move, the more we can clean,” line boss Starchild says. “It’s the only reason I agreed to go to Burning Man in the first place, that this happens afterward.'

Resto crew gathers round for the first time in 2016 and gets valuable advice: Watch your MOOP buckets so they don’t spread MOOP or let it go. Be here for roll call, and be close enough to hear your name. “The faster we move, the more we can clean,” line boss Starchild says. “It’s the only reason I agreed to go to Burning Man in the first place, that this happens afterward.’

We used to call it “cleanup” but that’s not specific enough. What the Resto team tries to do is to pick up every wayward wood chip, cigarette butt, and fleck of glitter on this otherwise immaculately clean-for-an-event-site piece of public land — and then to fluff, buff, and level out dunes so the playa itself can heal for the winter.

We got to the shoreline on Resto's first day and looked down at our feet. And there he was: The first piece of MOOP this writer scored for 2016 (lighter added for scale). A nice sign, we'd say.

We got to the shoreline on Resto’s first day and looked down at our feet. And there he was: The first piece of MOOP this writer scored for 2016 (lighter added for scale). A nice sign, we’d say.

We do this gargantuan task in about two weeks, with Line Sweeps, with Special Forces, and with dunebusting — assisted by the auto shop, commissary, ranch, shoreline crew, office, housing, saloon, fluffers, and several other crews which keep the DPW cogs moving in the Playa Restoration machine.

Gather round, Resto leader DA says: There are 156 million square feet in this former city and we are about to walk as many of them as we can, unearthing and picking up tiny things, so the event can happen next year. There are 135 people on line sweeps this year, and this is the first time we’ve ever had four teams. We’ve had three teams from 2009-2015. Movin' on up.

Gather round, Resto leader DA says: There are 156 million square feet in this former city and we are about to walk as many of them as we can, unearthing and picking up tiny things, so the event can happen next year. There are 135 people on line sweeps this year, and this is the first time we’ve ever had four teams. We’ve had three teams from 2009-2015. Movin’ on up.

Playa Restoration Manager D.A. says that Black Rock City ‘is lookin’ pretty good’ this year. He says he saw more line sweeps, landscape rakes, shovels, and MOOP buckets in theme camps and camps in general at Burning Man than ever before. He’s not the only one. We see you, and we’re winking at you.

Because what we gather from that is: Leaving no trace is up to all of us. You all worked to make an effort to help Burning Man 2017 happen, and this is how you did it — by knowing the drill, packing it in, packing it out, and leaving no trace.

Stuart from Gerlach (standing on the right, with Resto boss D.A.) at the site of the Man Burn removes the decomosed granite that protects the playa surface from burn scarring.

Stuart from Gerlach (standing on the right, with Resto boss D.A.) at the site of the Man Burn removes the decomosed granite that protects the playa surface from burn scarring.

Burning Man’s reputation and practices have changed the way people use the Black Rock Desert in the off-Burning Man months, too: Now, when they come out and light things on fire and shoot at them, or shoot at their bottles, they might be laying down protection for the playa (and easier cleanup) first, because we don’t find a lot of trash on the desert any more. See? What we do affects what other people do.

Burners, give yourselves a preliminary round of applause. We’re looking good out there in 2016, knock on wood, and it’s all because YOU know how to spread the word.

... and that's when the dust storms started to roll in. Soon after this photo, the entire playa turned to a swirling bowl of white. Observe how our dust tends to display an affinity for wrecking the west side of the playa with rolling brownouts in the post-Burn season. That’s the ancestors, doing their part to help us bust the fence dunes before any wet weather comes. Sailing the high seas of Lake Lahontan in high winds may be exhausting, and we're already getting pushed to the shoreline again today, but we’ll take all the help we can get.

… and that’s when the dust storms started to roll in. Soon after this photo, the entire playa turned to a swirling bowl of white. Observe how our dust tends to display an affinity for wrecking the west side of the playa with rolling brownouts in the post-Burn season. That’s the ancestors, doing their part to help us bust the fence dunes before any wet weather comes. Sailing the high seas of Lake Lahontan in high winds may be exhausting, and we’re already getting pushed to the shoreline again today, but we’ll take all the help we can get.

Now, if it’s your first time following along on the MOOP Map, green means good clean playa, yellow means some uh-ohs, and red means something went sort of badly as far as cleanup goes. Judge not on burniness, lest ye be judged on thy burniness, and all that. Stay positive; we’ll handle what you missed.

The important thing is to look at all that green, and realize it’s already as good or better than we’ve ever done. The Resto crew itself is moving at a speedy clip — although the crew got blown out by a masssive whiteout by 3pm yesterday, they covered almost as much ground as they expected to by 5. Today, if the dust would stop blowing, we could move even faster … but the wind’s picking up again.

And now, the moment you’ve been waiting for: Here are Day One’s MOOP Map results.

moop-map-2016_day-1

Follow Summer Burkes on Twitter.

Leave a Comment