BLM Site Inspection: PASSED.

Two of our BLM site inspectors, holding what remained of the Man as of 11am this morning. Click to enlarge.

Hip-hip-HURRAH! Three cheers for YOU, Black Rock City. You did it again. You threw a humdinger of a whizbang, and left without a trace. That’s straight from the mouth of the Bureau of Land Management, who just completed their site inspection. They’re still tabulating the precise results, but at a glance they can tell us that YES, we passed, and Burning Man can happen again next year.

I’ve just returned, dusty and wide-eyed, from the place that was Black Rock City. I walked the inspection myself, along with 20 dedicated Playa Restoration crew members who returned to the desert to see the season through to its triumphant end. How did we do it? We picked up MOOP, of course. What little we could find.

Cory Roegner of the BLM (far left) leads a team of DPW Playa Restoration members in inspecting a 1/10-acre transect of playa. 65 transects were inspected. Within multiple major zones — including city blocks, inner playa and outer playa — the transects are selected randomly and identified by their GPS coordinates. The BLM also inspects the site of the Man.


The MOOP from each site is bagged and measured. We are permitted one square foot of debris per acre of land. This standard was developed for Burning Man and is now used for all permitted groups in the Black Rock Desert.

Let’s all give ourselves a big hand, and three more cheers for the Playa Restoration crew! They spent two and a half weeks walking a massive portion of our 3,347-acre site, picking up all those butts and wood chips to bring in another win for the home team.

Thanks too to Vertumnus, the fabulous photographer who volunteered many extra hours to document this Restoration team. Here is a slideshow of just a fraction of Vertumnus’ best shots. Please, visit his site to see more. They’re all amazing.

Now, I know we haven’t finished our conversation about the MOOP Map — and now that the inspection’s over, I’m getting ready to address all the remaining questions and concerns! Sit tight and I’ll be back soon to tie up all those loose ends.

Thanks again, Black Rock City. There’s no place like home. See you there in 2013.

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.

38 Comments on “BLM Site Inspection: PASSED.

  • durgy says:

    Congratulations to all of us for doing our bit for the largest leave no trace event in the world and for Playa Restoration for finishing the task. We all know that Playa Restoration is not our maid service, and anything the people not on PR Crew can do before leaving the playa – either with or without the door hitting us on the ass on the way out – makes the job that much easier. Thank you again The Hun for the updates along the way and the good news.

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  • Papatua says:

    Thank you Playa Restoration Crew!

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  • MystikMike says:

    Playa Restoration crew rocks with great vigorosity! Thank you everyone!

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  • tittae says:

    the crew should be out there with metal detectors. many people hammer rebar into the playa and cover it, rather than struggling to remove it.

    it is not safe to drive over 30 MPH on old burning man sites because of this. and everyone who goes out to the playa during the rest of the year knows this. we used to drive as fast as we wanted, now those whole areas are contaminated by buried rebar.

    but hey, don’t let that stand in the way of your spiritual enlightenment.

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  • Thumper says:

    Debbie Downer’s comments notwithstanding, this is fabulous news! Thanks you beautiful Playa Restoration Crew!

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  • The Hun says:

    durgy, Papatua, Mystik Mike, Thumper — thank YOU for being such active members of our little community, and for all your comments and support :D

    tittae — You’re not the only person concerned about rebar, but you may be pleased to hear that the crew pulled up an estimated 500 stakes this year while cleaning up the city site. If you are seriously worried that the site is not safe to drive, please, take it up with the BLM. This desert is your land too, and you should feel comfortable using it. Personally, I have driven the old sites very extensively over long periods of time, at varying rates of speed, and have yet to encounter a dangerous piece of buried rebar that the Restoration crew missed. But it only takes one, right?

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  • never_settle says:

    OUTSTANDING example of duty, responsibility and integrity.

    that’s right…
    set the bar!!!

    that is our legacy

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  • Lucky420 says:

    Much love to all the hard working crew! Thank you all very much.

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  • louisacrystal says:

    Thank you!

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  • reidflys says:

    i’d like to get jiggy with that BLM inspector

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  • Repent says:

    Thanks to the Great Crew…..Without you, we can’t burn. Your gift is the best!

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  • Jim-dandy! says:

    I’m very glad that BRC passed the BLM inspection. I’m very thankful to the playa restoration crew for the clean-up work they did and your wonderful blogging keeping us informed of their progress. The moop maps that have been posted are too low resolution to read camp names, however, I think that I can tell by the size of the camps that two camps are in the wrong place on your map. Before the event started, Anat’s Love Camp was moved by our placer, The Machine, from Inner Circle @ 6:45 to 6:00 and BRC Dept. of Mobility was moved over from 6:00 to about 6:15 ~ 6:30. Could you please make this camp placement correction and update the moop rating to be more accurate accounting for the correct camp placement? Thank you.

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  • G says:

    LOL reidflys

    There was a big and very burly BLM Ranger who I crossed paths with in Center camp. He insisted with open arms “gimme a hug”. I was somewhat taken aback. Turns out he liked the hug he got from me at the greeter’s station several days before, and wanted another one. :D

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  • dusty-z says:

    fantastic! how many ways can one say thank you?!?!? playa restoration crew are my heroes.

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  • Franko says:

    on behalf of our camp, a HUGE thank you to the playa crew, and to all the fellow citizens (you know who you are!) who helped make this happen yet again. love to you all — SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!

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  • Raisa says:

    Qué fotos tan buenas.
    Qué buen trabajo el de los que se preocupan de dejarlo todo impecable.
    Gracias y besos.

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  • Disco Mike says:

    Maybe off topic, but how did the guy in the left in the top picture manage to get his hands so white?

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  • Lucky says:

    Who do we contact to claim items shown in the plastic bags of moop in the photos? I think I see my necklace.

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  • daft says:

    Looking at the photos I finally figured out what I love about the photos on the playa, the ground is a gigantic reflector. Leaving on the highway I saw the bags and beds on the side of the road. I did not stop. Thanks.

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  • Not Dead Skip says:

    Thank you Restoration team. Burn on!

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  • Pharmer says:

    As land use examples go, brc does set a pretty good example. Will there be zero impact? No. Can there be ‘reverse’ impacts, actual good effects that go along with this? yes. I haven’t seen or heard any evidence that this ‘hidden rebar’ spectre is anything more than fear-mongering. On the other hand I have seen many desert clean up and restoration efforts happen in areas outside the burning man site, with many burning man affiliates in their participation and planning.

    Re: ‘spiritual enlightenment’? Troll harder, lol.

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  • Joshuaaahhh says:

    2011 virgin, missed 2012. Hopeful for 2013. Thanks for making it possible. What is the most interesting or valuable moop ever found during post event cleanup?

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  • toolsalesman says:

    I totally littered that! ha jk

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  • waynerd says:

    Thank you so very much guys and girls!! I finally got to BM this year and it would really suck if I couldn’t go back. I want to hug you all.

    And being a photographer myself, I really appreciate the great photos Vertumnus took. Thank you for capturing our DPW so awesomely!

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  • Dan Fox says:

    @Pharmer -Last year when we trenched for the Trojan Horse lighting, the trenching tool yanked two #3 (3/8″) x 12″(ish) rebar corkscrews out of the ground. Remnants from past years. In 2010, I found a nice #4 bar right when I pulled into Hushville. It started raining, I got a mudshoe going, and under one of my “shoes” a straight piece of rebar revealed itself as I attempted to lift my foot with about 1 SF of playa attached to it. It is out there, I have seen it.

    The best way I have found to remove rebar is to pour a little water around the bar and smack the bar on the sides with a hammer to encourage the water down the bar. You can usually remove it with one hand (because the other is holding beer/bacon/?), especially if you “stir” it a bit.

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  • G says:

    I will re-float this idea here on this blog . It is just a guess because I have no involvement with resto crew. Would metal detectors find any hidden rebar?

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  • Jason R says:

    My favorite technique for rebar is just to clamp a vice grip on it and twist it. Comes out easy peasy. And yeah, I’d be interested in going up with a group some weekend and hunting down left over rebar with metal detectors, assuming that would work.

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  • david Book says:

    There’s a reflex to just “blame it on Burning Man.” About the rebar, several years ago I was by the site of the man about Easter showing off the clean-up. There were windsurfers camped right near there. Several months later, I talked to a guy who said he hit a piece of rebar at the BRC site. Well, Burning Man rebar or windsurfer rebar? To him, Burning Man rebar but I did mention the windsurfer camp….at least he walked away unsure of the culprit. I can’t see how the clean-up crew could miss rebar sticking out of the ground!

    I have also driven many parts of the city, about year round, and had no problems.

    Perhaps the easiest fix is just to suggest, frequently, that if people can’t get their own rebar out, they should just mark it clearly so somebody who’s better equiped can do it.


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  • issimo says:

    Hail, RESTOCREW!

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  • Camp Camper says:

    Many campers took many pains on our large piece o the playa to leave it in pristine condition.
    Image our shock, horror and sadness to see it rated all yellow AND some red!
    We think this is a grievous error OR our site was trashed after we departed.
    We WANT to do better but have no idea where to start since no one will give us specifics or even big hints as to what was the nature of the playa be-foulment.
    PLEASE, Mr. Hun, how can we get this information so we can improve??

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  • Isotopia says:

    I’d sure like to pull that BLM inspector’s rebar.

    That’s one FINE looking man.

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  • Diagonal says:

    I agree with the writer who said use a pair of vise grips and twist the embedded rebar, rotating it round and round about five times, and it will loosen and make extraction easy. Even a decent pair of channel lock pliers works as well, if not better. Adding water sounds favorable too!

    Metal detection doesn’t have to be a “walk along” job. A pulled trailer with detection gear could cover the entire area rather rapidly. It could just “beep” and drop a 2×4 block (well-painted…yellow?? red??) whenever metal was detected, while sweeping

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