MOOP MAP 2014: Black Rock City Will Rise Again



~ Leaving No Trace ~
The Burning Man community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.

DA, Playa Restoration Manager/Mastermind, and his fabulous and brilliant assistant Irene.
DA, Playa Restoration Manager/Mastermind, and his fabulous and brilliant assistant Irene.

In the midst of the bass-thumping, fire-florid, neon-edged glory of Black Rock City, we forget ourselves, lose our boundaries, recombine with our neighbors to become something new. And even as we’re out there, as Larry Harvey might say, “jiggling our molecules around,” there’s an awareness — this doesn’t last forever.

We have this window in time, this brilliant moment to reinvent ourselves into something slightly better, truer, more vibrant and conscious.

Well, I’m here to tell you that, even though the window for 2014 has closed, it will open again in 2015. Congratulations, Black Rock City: You successfully left no trace on the playa, helping to ensure that Burning Man can return to the desert we love.

Your 2014 inspection team.
Your 2014 inspection team.

Bureau of Land Management inspection a success

It was dicey there, for a moment. The Playa Restoration team found itself beset by a day-long rainstorm that turned the hard-packed playa into mushy, sticky mud. The season came to an unceremonious end, and the call was made: the BLM’s site inspection would have to be postponed.

For 24 hours.

And then the sky cleared, and the temperature rose, and on September 30, a team of DPW and BLM braved the patchy mud (only one vehicle stuck!) to re-enter Black Rock City for Burning Man’s final exam.

The annual site inspection is crucial to Burning Man’s future. We must prove, year after year, that our activity can leave a minimal impact on the Black Rock Desert’s ecosystem. If we fail, we will not be permitted to return here. And without the playa, what would Burning Man become?

Restoration volunteers help to conduct the BLM inspection.
Restoration volunteers help to conduct the BLM inspection.

It’s for this inspection that we all strive so hard to Leave No Trace, to pack it out, to moop our camps, to never let it hit the ground — all the things that the Burning Man community accepts as our shared responsibility. We understand that our actions make a difference, not just for the beauty of this desert and the surrounding lands, but for the future of our own city.

The inspection is based on a simple requirement: To pass, Black Rock City must leave behind less than one square foot of moop per acre of land. To achieve a fair representation, the BLM selects 60 points throughout the city, including high-traffic areas and city blocks as well as burn sites and open areas. At each point, we inspect 1/10 of an acre, and must find less than 1/10 of a square foot of moop. It’s all collected in baggies, each marked with their GPS coordinates, and it will all be carefully processed by the BLM to create an accurate measurement of Burning Man’s impact trace.

Armed with boxes, bags and GPS units, the inspection teams are briefed by the BLM.
Armed with boxes, bags and GPS units, the inspection teams are briefed by the BLM.
We always find moop. But it's never much.
We always find moop. But it’s never much.

Over the course of a few hours, five teams inspected those 60 spots and returned with their findings. After reviewing the moop that was found in 2014, the BLM has given us a tentative “pass.” It’s not official — and won’t be for quite some time — but unofficially, things look good for 2015. And that’s a big deal. Remember what we built, what we created, what we accomplished this year? It is all balanced by this: we truly left no trace. That’s just short of magical, Black Rock City.

2014 MOOP Map is greener than ever

There can be no doubt that 2014’s success was a community effort. More than ever before, we are working together to control our trace on the playa. Even with a high percentage of virgin Burners, we have shown that we can uphold the Leave No Trace principle. How do we know? Just look at the map!

Click to enlarge!
Click to enlarge!

Moop Map Legend

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.

We’re not posting details of what was found in each spot. If you are a theme camp, your Placement representative may have more detailed information for you in a few months (when the entire Moop Map is finalized). Please be patient: we have much more work to do before we can pass detailed information along.

This may well be the greenest Moop Map we’ve ever seen. Congratulations to all of us: veterans, newbies, camp leaders, LNT leads, volunteers, organizers, line sweepers and moop maniacs extraordinaire. We did it.

It’s been my great pleasure to share this experience with you for four years running. I can’t wait to do it all again next year. Until then, Black Rock City, a humongous THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. And as always, my endless love to the Playa Restoration team, and to our fearless leader D.A., who inspires all of BRC and especially me.

See you in 2015.

Want more photos & goodies from the Playa Restoration team? Search #BM2014. You can also follow The Hun: FacebookTwitterInstagram.

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.

17 Comments on “MOOP MAP 2014: Black Rock City Will Rise Again

  • danibel says:

    Thank you DPW!! Thank you to all of the people that mooped extra areas, not just their own camp and street. I love seeing all that green. Even First camp is green this year. Way to go!

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  • Dr. Z says:

    Great job, inspection team. Your hard work is an inspiration. Thank you so much.

    I can’t help but notice the solid red rectangles on the map. The Gypsy Flower Power camp was already called out as the worst, but isn’t it worth also calling The Lost Hotel, Wide Awake Oasis Bar, and the red squares along the 10:00 edge? What happened there?

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  • Xanie says:

    thanks DPW and the Resto team. As well as everyone else out there that works hard to leave no trace! It’s wonderful to see this level of green on the map and I hope it gets even better as time goes on!

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  • The Hun says:

    Thanks everyone!!!

    Dr. Z, we generally don’t call people out – those red spots do a good enough job on their own, don’t they? The Gypsy Flower Power conversation was a special case, because it was so extraordinary. We asked about it because we wanted to know more.

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  • Jeffers says:

    I’ve noticed a number of red-outlined rectangles on the maps, particularly in larger camps, including ours… any idea what they may mean?

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  • Cin says:

    Is there any way for a non-theme camp to find out what was found? We’ve been at BM for many many years and this is the first time we’ve had a yellow. We’d really like to know what was found to determine if there is something we could do better next year. What I would love to find out is that our sweep was good – people just mooped after we left.

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  • Tattoogoddess says:

    Really surprised gypsy flower power wasn’t pure black. Still regardless shameful.

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    YAY! Infinite love and gratitude to DPW, Resto team, and all the conscious burners that did their part.
    Most of the damage is where the raver kids camp so no surprise there. I’ve seen the after photos of the big raves like EDC… Hopefully they will mature and eventually understand.
    Sending love, peace and compassion to ALL beings. <3
    The Fire In Me Recognizes The Fire In You.

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  • WOW! AMAZING! Congratulations to all Burners who helped make this happen!

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  • C says:

    “It’s for this inspection that we all strive so hard to Leave No Trace…”

    Shouldn’t it be for the environment more so than the inspection?

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  • John says:

    Hey, what was the plan for MOOP’n the rave camps dance floors? What did you guys exactly do for those areas? Rakes? Magnet rakes? On hands and knees?

    At Apex (10&B), we MOOPed the hell outta the dance area and still got red. We walked a grid pattern and used 2 magnet rakes =/

    While sad about the red area, we are still committed to trying our best. Any advice to get us into a green area is appreciated.

    Thanks for all your hard work Resto team and DPW!!! Enjoy some off time until next Burn )'(

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  • Ghostwheel says:

    I camped in a non-placed zone, so no placement contact. There is a red mark near where I camped. Is there someone I can contact to ask about that red mark?

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  • G says:

    Curiously lopsided map this year. 7:30-10 has the most yellow & red, and clearly not a mirror image of 2-4:30.

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  • Bullhorn says:

    Thank you DPW!

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  • Lucky Linda says:

    Last year our MOOP Maven was never notified what was found in our area.

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  • Michelle says:

    Notice those big red squares over by 8-9 and k. I camped by there (in green). I’m pretty certain those were those giant plug and play camps!! Just saying….

    Otherwise, great job in keeping the playa mostly green and Moop free <3

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