MOOP MAP LIVE, Day 8: D.A. and the Origins of Restoration

Hey there sports fans, MOOP maniacs and line sweepers extraordinaire! The Hun here, reporting from Gerlach where the weather has just dealt us a swift kick in the you-know-what. A cold, wet storm front has descended upon us, dusting the mountains with snow and deluging the desert with rain. The BLM inspection is planned for tomorrow! Will we make it, or will we be rained out again? The atmosphere is tense, and cold, and windy.

Denise Nuts keeps warm in the arms of a friendly dinosaur.

Luckily, I’ve got good news for you. In Day 8 of line sweeps, our DPW Playa Restoration team covered the final blocks of the city grid, leaving only Center Camp, the Man Base and the Temple of Transition to be MOOPed. Working from opposite ends, the two Line Sweeps teams met at 6:00 between Graduation and Hajj for a celebratory shade break. Then they turned their sights to the open playa, while the Scribes inspected Center Camp to carefully document visible hot spots.

We’ll have the results from Center Camp soon, but for now, here’s your big green city:

Click to enlarge!

Now that’s a city you can be proud to call home.

Unfortunately, today had a couple of very MOOPy spots that slowed down our line sweepers considerably. Yipes! Today’s score: 78% green, 18% yellow and 4% red. Not too shabby, but there’s definitely room to improve.

D.A. and the History of Playa Restoration

By now, you know all about how the DPW Playa Restoration team works. Now I’d like to introduce the man behind the plan: D.A. (Dominic Tinio), Restoration Manager.

For as long as Burning Man has existed, there’s been somebody willing to clean up afterward. Over the years, the official “Cleanup Crew” evolved into something much like the line-sweeping, cone-killing hotshots you know today. But it took impassioned leadership to turn the cleanup effort into a well-oiled Restoration machine.

D.A. began managing this crew in 2004. Soon, he did away with the term “cleanup” and instituted Playa Restoration.

“I changed the name to Playa Restoration because that’s really what we do. We’re not here to clean up after people. We’re not here to take care of your trash, your garbage. We’re here to restore the playa to what it’s supposed to look like.”

Part of that changeover included defining the job, and getting more information out to the community. “Even back in the early days of Restoration, we could tell people were trying,” D.A. says. “They just needed to know what we were finding — they needed feedback from us.”

Using the MOOP Map to plan the day's Restoration work

That’s why, in 2006, D.A. instituted the MOOP Map, a public record of the traces left by Black Rock City after Burning Man was over. That year, the city grid was only 40% green — but when the MOOP Map was published, its effect was instantaneous. The following year, the city was significantly greener, and it’s only improved since then.

Celebrating the "Golden T-Stake," the last stake to be pulled from the remains of Black Rock City

Another important part of D.A.’s work was instilling a sense of pride in the crew. MOOPing can feel like thankless work, but every Restoration member chose to be here for a reason. Reminding the crew of the great task they’ve undertaken, making them feel appreciated and important even as they comb the desert for glitter and hairballs — well, that’s no easy job. But D.A.’s passion for Restoration is undeniable, and he continually reminds his team members of the importance of their work. After all, without this crew there might not be a Burning Man next year.

Honoring first-year Restoration members with badges

Though he’d probably prefer to be wielding a shovel and a magnet rake, these days D.A. orchestrates a complex dance of teams, vehicles, tools and information. Between dust storms and the winter rains that loom ever closer, he creates a lightning-strike team that’s more efficient and effective each year; even as Black Rock City grows, he always ensures that we’ll pass our site inspection. Burning Man’s trust in this man is nearly boundless, and he wears the responsibility well.

Setting up the day's plan of attack
Meeting with Line Sweep and Special Forces leaders to fill in the MOOP Map

Riding with D.A. the other day, I asked him to share some of his thoughts on the process. Watch excerpts here:

If you’d like to hear more from D.A., check out this Worldsweeper article on Burning Man and LNT. At the end, you’ll find a 27-minute interview with lots of food for thought.

Now as I may have mentioned, it’s COLD here in Gerlach. It’s time for the Restoration crew to get out of town before we freeze. Tomorrow, I’ll share the report from Center Camp and the Cafe, and the update on whether the BLM will conduct our site inspection. For now, this is The Hun all bundled up in scarf and gloves, and signing off.

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.

9 Comments on “MOOP MAP LIVE, Day 8: D.A. and the Origins of Restoration

  • Sam says:

    Looks like the line sweeps came to a good end! Heard about the rain last night, hopefully the inspection can still happen.

    Good profile on DA, too. He’s the kind of guy who somehow makes you want to work your ass off, a great leader for a great team!

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  • G says:

    You did save my camp ’til day 9.
    I was just inside Rod’s Road.
    Ugh, I have to wait 24 more hours!!!!

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  • LiquidAmber says:

    D.A. you rock! Thanks for all your dedication, leadership and “Leave No Trace” mentality. I know I will continue to spread the LNT message where ever I am.

    Give the Restoration crew a group hug from all of the burners not able to be there helping out. In our hearts we are there with you… maybe next year we will be there in person. Stay warm!

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  • Stinger says:

    An Honor it is to be chosen to be part of the Playa Resto team. I realize that it may sound a bit wacky to the layperson, but helping the desert go back to what it was before any of us got here is a huge part of the wonder and magic of Burning Man.

    On a side note, if the MOOPers are bored (as in they aren’t finding any MOOP), you’re doing it right.

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  • g says:

    when I am retired and have more time, I want to be on playa resto. I don’t know why, the idea just really appeals to me.

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  • John says:

    Excellent job !! Thank you all for pulling off a miracle each year after by restoring the Playa. Much burner love.

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  • Rumama says:

    So glad to see we came out solid GREEN! I’ve been anxiously waiting for our results for days! Thank you to the restoration crew, do you a great job and I hope you all know how much your work is appreciated!

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  • PeachandPapa says:

    Thank you D.A. and the entire Restoration Crew! This whole Moop blog should be required reading before a ticket can be purchased.

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