Hello Black Rock City that was! 2014 was another incredible year at Burning Man; once again we all worked together to build it, share it, burn it and leave no trace of our passing.
Now, it’s my great pleasure to welcome you all back to the playa — virtually — to experience the restoration of this beautiful desert via this two-week blog series. As we do every year, the DPW Playa Restoration All-Stars will battle the heat, cold, wind, dust, rain and maybe some biting flies — why? To support Black Rock City’s Leave No Trace efforts, and to create the Moop Map for 2014.
This year on the moop blog, we’re talking about Respect & Restoration, both of which are mutual. Burning Man is the largest Leave No Trace event in the world. The Burning Man community is deeply proud of that fact, and committed to keeping it that way, year after year.
Even in the midst of a massive temporary city of lights, sound and fire, we all help each other to limit the traces we leave behind. When Burning Man is over, it vanishes. That accomplishment is truly incredible—and it’s something we couldn’t do without working together.
As a citizen of Black Rock City, you undoubtedly did your part to Leave No Trace. The Playa Restoration team exists to support your efforts, and to make sure that Burning Man fulfills its agreement with the Bureau of Land Management, restoring the playa as completely as possible so the event can happen again next year.
As Burners, we respect the land, and we respect each other’s contributions. As a community, we work together to restore the playa after Burning Man is over.
With those two agreements in mind, let’s continue the conversation about what it really means to Leave No Trace out here, and how we can support each other in changing times.
If you’ve followed this blog before, welcome back! We’re always glad to have you diehard MOOP maniacs along for the ride. If this is your first time, here’s a little information to get you started.
What Is Moop?
MOOP, noun –- Matter Out Of Place; especially as it applies to Black Rock City and its citizens. Can be anything: wood, cigarette butts, carpet fibers, glowsticks, fireworks… and is often disguised as debris, e.g. bits of wood, plastic, metal, glass and plants. Can also be a condition: burn scars, grey water, dunes, etc.
moop, verb –- to pick up Matter Out Of Place.
The Moop Map
Since 2006, the Moop Map has been the gauge by which we can visually measure and track the Impact Trace of Black Rock City.
Each September, once the last structures and the fence surrounding Black Rock City have been removed, the 120-person Playa Restoration crew walks every city block (and much of the open playa) in a moop line. As we move through the city, we measure the impact trace of each area by how quickly we’re able to proceed. Aided by GPS units and careful scribing of everything left behind, we mark the map with a simple color code:
GREEN: Low Impact to No Impact Trace. The moop line moves at a normal walking pace, picking up very little.
YELLOW: Moderate Impact Trace. The line must slow down in order to pick up all the moop here.
RED: High Impact Trace. The line must stop to clean up hotspots or very moopy areas.
So… When do we find out how our camps scored?
Soon! As I type these words, the moop line is making its way through the city, block by block. Once the day’s march is done, we will take a few days to compile the data, and then release the Moop Map in stages on this blog. So stay tuned.
And off we go!