Burning Man’s BLM Site Inspection took place this week, delayed by one day because of the weather. A small crew of volunteers from all across DPW staff and Playa Restoration came out to the shoreline in the morning to meet our Nevada BLM agents for the test.
A friendly lot, the Nevada BLM’s environmental arm spends the year analyzing Burning Man and everyone else who uses our public land. The BLM Site Inspection helps to determine whether we get a federal permit for the following year — to be named as good enough stewards of the land to be allowed to come back and try our hand at Leave No Trace again.
The official results, officially, are still pending. They’ve got measuring to do with the tiny bags of MOOP we harvested during the test, in this contraption called the Daubenmire (the yellow frame in the picture below). There’s analysis, and then there’s data collation, and just like with the MOOP map, this is not the final word.
But tentatively, without saying we passed, it looks like we might have … done alright. So far so good. [indiscriminate cheering; crowd screaming]
Whoa that wood chip situation though. Wood chips are the #1 MOOP item, year after year, and 2016 was bad in places, to put it lightly. So please, tarp underneath your firewood and construction areas, and sweep them often to avoid even sawdust blowing anywhere.
There were other days spent on the playa than the ones we wrote about; Resto had about two weeks of work days to complete its mission. We also hit the inner ring between the Man and the city, the open playa and between trash fence and the outer streets, and potential heavy-moop areas like the box office, the BLM compound, the DPW Depot, the portajohns’ home base, Gate Road, and on and on. We had boots on the playa in those spots, and each one looked alright-to-good when we got there and pretty dang good when we left.
Overall, Black Rock City 2016 came out cleaner than Resto leader D.A. has seen it, possibly ever. Who can take credit for that? Every one of yall who practiced Leave No Trace with us, picking up your camps and wherever you went. Thanks for all that.
You have ‘MOOP eyes’ too? We have MOOP eyes. That’s the ability to see microtrash on the ground when others’ brains are conditioned to skim over it visually. Heck, it’s an invloluntary visual obsession one develops with Matter Out Of Place. You catch yourself just walking everywhere with eyes on the ground, like a crackhead bird-dog with a tennis ball. You get single-minded after spending long hot days in the sun scanning for MOOP. It’ll wear off around Decmeber, but MOOP eyes, as an added sense, never completely goes away.
And so now, the Playa Restoration crew needs a well-deserved rest as they leave the desert and scatter to the wind, returning to the default world. Now we go to check in on our places back home — to see what’s gone on with the land where we live since we left. Now, the playa can heal from our excitement for the winter. And we can heal from its.
We realize, as we craft our exit strategies, that one of the main reasons we do all this is because we love this place. The Black Rock Desert, an irreplaceable jewel of land owned by all Americans, should be given the love and attention we stewards of the earth need to give, tirelessly, to our favorite public-owned spaces.
We thank you for the opportunity to stay out on the desert longer, to be with it, and to make Burning Man disappear and happen again.
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