BLM Inspection

(and this blogger’s final wrap-up)

Coyote (Photo by Cloe)
Coyote (Photo by Cloe)

Coyote (Tony Perez) is our Clean-Up Manager. He’s also in charge of surveying (and superintending) Black Rock City, serving on the DPW Council, and telling bad jokes the whole time.


He drives around in a big yellow truck with delineator cones and empty beer cans in the bed, usually accompanied by a cute girl or two in the cab. He conducts the Golden Spike ceremony and the Green T-Stake ceremony, and the 4:20 Spire ceremony – then he goes back into town and tends bar at the Black Rock. Oh, and occasionally he’ll cook up a gourmet meal or two, while espousing common-sense philosophy and stories about Burning Man in years past.

This is exactly the sort of person you want in charge of things out here. It’s no joke when he tells you that the event hinges on him doing his job right. If he doesn’t run Clean-Up smoothly – if we fail that inspection – then the event doesn’t happen.

So I understood, this morning, when he told me he was feeling a little nervy. “But honestly,” he added, “we could have passed this inspection last week. I’m confident we’ll pass today.”

The inspection group – photo by Squeaky Klean
The inspection group – photo by Squeaky Klean

We met at Center Camp with Will Roger, DA, and a small group of DPW volunteers. The BLM representatives were friendly and relaxed – always a good sign. Honestly, from everything I’ve heard, Burning Man has always cleaned up the playa beyond what BLM requires – but still, just one sheet of plywood could sink us. It’s enough to make anyone nervous.

We tested thirty spots within the city – randomly selected locations, all within the city grid. The BLM guidelines call for less than one square foot of trash per acre; each spot we tested was one-tenth of an acre, and it was nerve-wracking to think how little moop were were allowed to find. We walked each of the spots, holding a rope to measure the boundaries, and dropped bobby pins, broken glass, and tent stakes into baggies.

It was done within three hours, and the BLM engineer didn’t even need to finish inspecting the bags – it was obvious that we had passed with flying colors.
So that’s that, then. The Man will burn next year, barring any major disaster – and I’ll be there, and so will you. When you get there, thank Coyote and DA for running an awesome cleanup campaign. Give yourself a pat on the back, too, for leaving as little trace as possible. The playa this year was much, much cleaner than I ever would have expected. Coyote agrees, and I’m sure he’ll have something to say about it in the next Coyote Nose. In the meantime, let’s all take a moment and be proud of ourselves, eh?

Actually, I’d like to take this moment to thank a few people who really made a difference for me this year. Marian and Edub, first of all, without whom I wouldn’t be here in the first place – you both supported me and guided me through this year, and I can’t even begin to express how much that’s meant to me. Thank you.

Thanks are also in order for Spanky, CameraGirl, and PlayaQuest for helping me cover my boo-boos; Mayfield, who watched out for me all year; Coyote and Shooter, who both had plenty of sage advice; DamNear, who worked beside me and stood up for me when I needed her; Quinn and Super Dave, who never made it into the blog but who contribute more than just about anyone out here and who were both awesome to hang out with; 510 and Li’l Tiny for bringing me sunshine; and everyone in DPW who worked with me this year. You-all don’t realize what role models you have each been for me, but I’m sure I learned something new every day and I’m REALLY excited about it.
Until next year – Hunhun clear.


Interested in participating in DPW next year? More information here. Tell ’em Total Mess sent you.

About the author: The Hun

The Hun

The Hun, also known as J.H. Fearless, has been blogging for Burning Man (and many other outlets) since 2005, which is also the year she joined the BRC DPW on a whim that turned out to be a ten-year commitment. Since then she's won some awards for blogging, built her own creative business, and produced some of the Burning Blog's most popular stories and series. She co-created a grant-funded art piece, "Refoliation," in 2007, and stood next to it watching the Man burn on Monday night during a full lunar eclipse. She considers that, in many ways, to have been the symbolic end of Burning Man that was. The Hun lives in Reno with DPW Shade King, Quiet Earp. You may address her as "The Hun" or "Hun". If you call her "Honey" she reserves the right to cut you.