MOOP Map 2017: Day 3 — Cloudy With A Chance Of Irony

This morning the Playa Restoration crew awoke to gray, threatening skies.

Throughout the day storm cells swept across the playa, bringing cold winds and a sharp temperature drop. Despite the suddenly wintery conditions the crew soldiered onward, layering up for warmth and moving around the playa frequently to avoid dust storms kicked up by the high winds.

Playa Restoration 2017… or polar expedition?

Temperatures on the Black Rock don’t typically get this cold until early October. But there’s nothing predictable about the high desert, and today’s weather was a dramatic reminder of just how abruptly things can change here. This also helps explain why Playa Restoration works as hard as we do when we can, as one sunny day can easily be followed by a week of rain, forcing us off the playa and threatening to derail our work entirely.

Thankfully, today never quite reached that point, with only intermittent light precipitation. Mostly it was a game of cat and mouse, as small white-outs kept appearing and forcing us to relocate to another area with better visibility. In this fashion we were able to complete a full day’s work, albeit without the steady, unbroken rhythm that comes from making steady, uninterrupted progress along a single arc of the city.

Spirits on the lines were still high, despite the inclement weather

By day’s end we had not only managed to complete the swing around the front of the city that we’d begun on Tuesday, sweeping between Esplanade and Ceremony from 8:00 all the way to 2, but we also pushed back inwards, sweeping Ceremony to Genuflect from 6:30 to 7:30.

As with yesterday, the majority of the blocks we swept came up green. But one notable camp delivered an ironic surprise. We wound up grading MOOP Map HQ—Playa Restoration’s own headquarters—as yellow (with a spot of red).

D.A., the Playa Restoration Manager and camp lead for MOOP Map HQ, explains: “The MOOP Map reflects what the line finds, regardless of  where we find it. We could do our work on a map without any camp names or boundaries and it would come up exactly the same. And to our standards MOOP Map HQ just wasn’t green this year. And that’s just what it was.”

MOOP Map HQ — located at the corner of 5:30 and Esplanade

So what happened? And what can be learned from it?

“Ultimately, I never made the time to lead a line sweep of my own camp. Other aspects of Playa Restoration’s growing leave no trace operations kept taking priority. And the next thing you know, MOOP Map HQ was the last thing on my list. We weren’t very messy—a 15 minute line sweep would have earned us a green. But I kept throwing all of my resources and my attention everywhere but my own camp.”

“But,” he adds sagely, “that’s exactly how this sort of thing happens.”

Dominic “D.A.” Tinio

This, D.A. explains, is why it’s so important that each camp have a designated LNT lead, with few or no other competing responsibilities.

“You need someone whose only job is managing your leave no trace efforts. Not your art project, not your shade structure, sound system, or bar. Those may all be important, but with limited resources and no dedicated advocate, LNT tends to get shortchanged.”

Overconfidence due to prior successes can also create the conditions for an LNT slip-up.

“Since we first created the MOOP Map in 2006, our camp has always been green. If your camp has always gotten a green, it’s easy to assume that it always will, and focus your resources elsewhere. But leaving no trace doesn’t just happen. It’s something you have to work at every year.”

The DPW Trebuchet throws the first of several flaming pianos. Photo by Andrew from

“MOOP Map HQ is the camp that set up a trebuchet to throw a flaming piano and then cleaned it up in 7 minutes. We live and breathe LNT. We’re really good at it. But experience isn’t some magic substitute for doing a line sweep.”

Overall, D.A. remains strongly positive about participants’ growing success at leaving no trace, and takes visible pride in a greener MOOP Map.

“MOOP is decreasing. We’re seeing less and less red, less yellow, and more green. 2017 is shaping up to be the greenest MOOP Map yet. Ultimately I’m happier about all the camps that are improving and earning green than I am unhappy about us being marked yellow.”

Who MOOPs the MOOP Map?

For other camps that don’t get green this year, he offers this encouragement: “I believe Burning Man is good. There’s immeasurable goodness happening. But it’s also hard. It’s dusty and it’s crazy and it’s an intense experience. And sometimes your cleanup effort doesn’t go perfectly. And that’s okay. Just keep doing better, learn from the feedback, and we all can improve together.”

Of course, the irony of Playa Restoration’s own camp being graded as yellow by Playa Restoration isn’t lost on D.A..

“All we had to do was one final line sweep,” he says, laughing and shaking his head. “That’s what I’m always telling people. Just do your line sweeps.”

On that humorously cautionary note, here’s a look at how the MOOP Map stands after Day 3.

>> Remember, this map is only a rough draft. For the final MOOP Map, wait until the new year and contact the Placement department. <<



Lucky Charms is one of four Scribes this year


MOOPers on the storm


Very French


Belle consults with John Bastard


Muscle Tits dumps her load


Starchild surveys his line


F’n Andy rejects the conventional notion of a “chair”


Today was a day for all the layers


Max drives one of our 💩 trucks. Thanks Max!


Jedi shows off the latest in Resto fashion: flannel and knitwear

About the author: Aaron Muszalski

Aaron Muszalski

Aaron “Slim” Muszalski has been burning since 1995. As an artist he’s created such notable honoraria projects as Rubber Ducky (2002) and SYZYGRYD (2010). Since 2007 he’s been a member of the Man Crew, the DPW team responsible for creating each year’s Man effigy. After surviving stage IV cancer in 2016 Aaron founded Burning Wish, a community of survivors, caregivers and volunteers dedicated to making Burning Man more accessible to cancer patients and their loved ones. Learn more and help support Burning Wish at

26 Comments on “MOOP Map 2017: Day 3 — Cloudy With A Chance Of Irony

  • Robyn Barnes says:

    Your team truly rocks. Thanks for all you do!!

    I’m surprised there’s not more mention of the awful mess out between 8:30 and 9:00. Two entire blocks of red! What kind of moop was it? Who left it? Is the BMORG going to give the PnP camps a pass – again?

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    • TT120 says:

      Of course that PnP camp that left the huge mess will get a pass. They will also get placement and access to all the tickets they want for next year because, money. I guarantee that little miss hotel heiress didn’t pick up a single piece of moop and neither did any of her entourage. Why should they? The borg encourages this behavior from them.

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    • FKO Gene says:

      Wondering the same thing about the mess at 8:30 and 9:00, what a bunch of A holes.

      Assuming the Feathers in Star Childs cap were moops because he knows better ;-)

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  • LNT For All says:

    Tell us more details about those two huge blocks of red. What was found and what lessons can be taught and learned from that situation? Clearly, that’s not just an issue of doing a last opportunity 15 minute line sweep. You want all to learn from playa resto (isn’t that the purpose of these posts?), but then keep the facts and information that we all want to know secret and hidden.

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  • Bella says:

    We are getting better. This is a the greenest moop map I have ever seen in 8 years.

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  • gatt says:

    Cheers from the Green Hour. We didn’t attend this year, but, thank you to all of the participants and volunteer custodians of Black Rock City, and especially to RESTO! Much respect!

    The Green Hour Absinthe and Root Beer Saloon
    Red Baron MV

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  • Dave says:

    This article is helpful to my overall understanding of the aftermath of each burn. I honor those who restore the playa long after we leave.

    Great photography as well, Slim!
    We are all pulling for your continued strength.

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  • smilestill says:

    Could you walk through what would qualify for a yellow versus what would qualify for red? Just curious.

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  • Wally Glenn says:

    Will the color on the Moop Map ever be a factor in theme camp placement?

    It seems some players can be any color they like and year after year there never seems to be any drawback to this thinking.

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  • Dribniff says:

    I am old. I will never join you all physically. But, in spirit, I read the scripts and view the pictures and my soul longs to be there. My soul IS there. Thank you, for your depictions. I will dream of your hearts

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    • ttractor says:

      We have a 72 year old lady in our camp and we love the stuffing out of her! There’s all kinds of mobility assistance and ways to make it happen. I encourage you to dream it possible and reach out to Burners in your community to make it so.

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    • Kennita Watson says:

      Dribniff, if your soul is on the playa, your body deserves to be as well. While one of the Principles is Radical Self-reliance, others are Radical Inclusion, Gifting, Communal Effort, Civic Responsibility, Participation, and Immediacy, all of which speak to the willingness of fellow Burners to support you physically, emotionally, and otherwise wherever your personal efforts may prove inadequate.
      If you long to go to Burning Man, start now making it happen. Maybe making it a Bucket List item will offer additional inspiration. I have Multiple Sclerosis and need to go everywhere on-playa using motorized wheels, as well as requiring help getting to the event, setting up, etc. I found a supportive theme camp, and I’ve managed to handle everything the playa has thrown at me — next year will be my 15th Burn.
      For more encouragement and tips to help with realizing your playa dreams, please email me: kennita at kennita dot com . Hugs!

      Live long and prosper,

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      • ttractor says:

        We have a four-wheeler in our camp too! That by no means defines him, he is awesome and beloved!

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      • Nai`a NEWLIGHT says:

        I AM a 72-yr.-old (7th-time) burner! I was a team leader at my local burn (Maui) for four years, and finally got tired of being called a “burner” by all the others there. So, when I retired, I made the playa my destination. To say it changed my life would be an understatement!
        I’ve volunteered with Greeters, Arctica, and Rangers; also, I speak and do performance poetry @ Center Camp (and other camps) every year. I’ve both volunteered @, and been assisted by, MobilityCamp (<3)!
        I encourage you 1000% to get on playa, any way you can. There's nothing else like it (yes, I've been everywhere and done everything). This year, I brought my burgin fiance, who was prepared to hate it. Now, he wants to make a camp!
        There are burners far older and more infirm than I am. If they can do it, so can you!

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      • FKO Gene says:

        Where is the ‘like’ button, because I like this a lot.

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  • Buena says:

    That totally f*cking sucks!! Yes, over confidence indeed.

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  • MAGMA says:

    Yes, ironic! But we LUV YALL just the same;-)! I’m curious..any UNUSUAL ground scores during this expedtion? Also, where can find a solid tutorial on best LNT practices for our reborn again burgins ? Hugs -T&F

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  • Jan Nichols says:

    There would be no Burning Man with out your dedication. We all thank you for your long, hard service. Your work is not taken lightly by those of us that are not there to help. Thank you very much.

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  • Jesse Gros says:

    Thank you so much for this story!! I was feeling really bummed out after I read that 5000ish bikes were left on they playa. The BM FB page made it sound like things were headed downhill. This is really uplifting! You rock! The pictures are sweet as well.

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  • Visitor from across the street says:

    Weirdly that red spot at the MOOP camp was where those MOOP maps of years past were and that (low) fenced off area to show what MOOP looks like.

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  • Burner says:

    F’n Andy he’s awesome

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  • FKO Gene says:

    Amazing people and amazing photos. I’d like to join the others in thanking you for doing the ‘dirty’ work. I am proud to say our block is all green. Thank you for sharing this story too, the photos are beautiful and the story an encouraging wrap up of what was indeed a strange year on many levels.

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