line sweeps: tactical information

Line sweeps are the DPW’s primary method of cleaning the desert after Burning Man. Participants well-educated in the event’s Leave No Trace philosophy pack out the majority of their trash — but at the dirt rave, people lose pieces of themselves in high winds without knowing it.

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you can’t say ‘cleanup’ on the radio

There are certain DPW types among us who have been here long enough to start “in my day”-ing people. We try not to do it that often — regale newer volunteers with horror stories of our pre- and post-event Ranch living back at the turn of last century — but when we’re asked, we can go on sometimes. Crews wandering off, rice with maggots in it, overworking constantly, stress-fights, and piles of junk with no OSHA regulators in sight. We try to use as little emotion as possible when telling the kiddoes about the days before the Internet exploded, before the DPW developed a vast and internecine infrastructure.

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Burning Man Cleanup: Dear Gate, –

October 4, 2007 Gerlach, NV It is with semi-tight shoulders we report to you that the Black Hole got a yellow on the MOOP map this year. Yellow. Not green. We tried. We tried so hard. We cleaned up all the big stuff and put it in the right trailers and boxes and oversaw transpo and then MOOPed our asses off. Busting dunes by hand with a rake. Digging out burn scars. Going over and over the site. Staying later than the other crews each day and using whiskey as a work tool. *burp*

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Burning Man Cleanup: Golden T-Stake ceremony photos

October 3, 2007 Black Rock Desert Yesterday was the last day of Burning Man cleanup on the playa. Today, the Bureau of Land Management came to inspect the site, to see if the DPW did a good enough job picking up after 48,000 people. We passed with flying, pirate-flag, I’ll-show-you-Leave-No-Trace colors. The Golden T-Stake, pounded in at the end of the City map on 10:00, was the last large foreign object remaining from Burning Man on the playa. To celebrate another job well done, we all gathered this afternoon to watch it get pulled out of the ground by the Playa Restoration managers. After a morning spent cleaning the trailer park and waiting for last night’s party to wear off, we ate lunch and climbed on the bus for one last ride to the worksite.

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Burning Man Cleanup: Lint Farmers on Tatooine

Sept. 19, 2007 Black Rock City, NV They changed the name of what the DPW does from “cleanup” to “Playa Restoration” a couple years ago. The Burning Man Borg are as aware as anyone that naming is power, and that naming something right lends the right ideas and attitude. And the DPW are not Black Rock City’s janitors. We are its guardians — carrying out the final task to make sure a Burning Man can happen next year. That Burning Man is indeed, once again, the single largest Leave No Trace event on the planet. Lollapalooza, Coachella, the Love Parade, Tour de Fat — at every single one of these festivals we’ve attended and worked, a metric ass-ton of crap covers the ground both during and after showtime. We know, we know, Burning Man is an entirely different animal — a city of willful interaction and self-reliance rather than a passive concert-environment of spectation and consumption — and it shows. Events based on commercialism always hire an army of blue-collar workers to pick up trash and clean up the puke after everyone leaves.

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