MOOP Map 2017: Day 5 — Presto Chango!

Welcome to Day 5 of Playa Restoration!

I woke up to find actual ice covering the windshield of my truck this morning — something I’ve never experienced during Resto before, and a sign of just how quickly and sharply temperatures have dropped out here.

Thankfully it looks like the worst weather is behind us, at least for the moment. Despite the freezing night, the skies were deep blue and mostly cloudless today, a dramatic contrast to the dreary gloom of the past few days.

While the rains may have passed, this cold snap is supposed to last for a few more days at least. During the morning meeting we were cautioned against using space heaters in our trailers due to the fire hazard they present. This led one Resto veteran to suggest a more… intimate solution to the problem of cold beds.

“Who needs a space heater?” advised Deacon, winking. “Just flirt better.”

Deacon Zak is one with the playa

Whatever their source of warmth during the night, the Resto All-Stars showed up this morning ready to pick up MOOP and chew bubblegum. And we’re fresh out of bubblegum. (Actually, thanks to the amazing DPW Fluffers we still have plenty of gum and other snacks. But you get the idea.)

Layered for warmth, Sgt. Slaughter arrives at the shoreline

For those who’ve asked if rain helps or hinders the work of Playa Restoration, the answer is… it depends.

Moderate rain can aid us, making MOOP more visible by clearing away dust and bringing things to the surface. This is especially beneficial after intense dust storms, like the ones that followed this year’s event. But heavier or more sustained storms can make it impossible for us to work. Since our goal is to cover as much of the event site as we can, in general we prefer to finish our work before the rains come — something that has been getting more challenging in recent years, as post-event precipitation arrives earlier and earlier.

To help us win this race against the weather, Playa Restoration created an entirely new team this year.

Called “Pre-Resto”, this 30 person crew began their work just as the event was ending—nearly 2 weeks before the start of normal Playa Restoration operations. Their target? Areas that tend to accumulate higher quantities of MOOP, such as the sites of popular art projects or along the perimeter fence.

By hitting these hotspots immediately, Pre-Resto not only lightened the workload for the main Resto force, but helped ensure that MOOP in these areas wouldn’t be missed, regardless of what the wind or weather might later do.

Pre-Resto also gives Resto newbies a chance to learn the ropes, as well as affording veterans the opportunity to tackle other roles, like Darius Humblefoot, a line sweeper who stepped up into the dual role of Roll Caller and Line Boss for Pre-Resto.

The Pre-Resto team assembles at MOOP Map HQ


D.A. introduces the MOOP Map


Bubblegique is DPW’s resident guru for all things GPS-related


Pre-Resto volunteers select their MOOP sticks


Pre-Resto Line Boss Darius Humblefoot


“GET ON THE BUS!” — Loading up for the first ever Pre-Resto line sweep


Walk-In Camping empties sooner than the rest of BRC, making it an ideal site for Pre-Resto


Pre-Resto lines up


Contaminated playa—like this weird blue residue—gets carefully and thoroughly removed


Possible Smurf orgy?


Muppet is one of our Scribes. If the line finds anything notable, Scribes document it with photographs and GPS coordinates.

It’s also worth noting that, even though the 30-person Pre-Resto team is considered a “small” crew, that’s only in comparison to the full 180-person Playa Restoration team. During Resto’s early years, the entire crew was no bigger than Pre-Resto is now. To have grown this much is a great accomplishment, and a testament to our community’s growing commitment to leaving no trace, leading ever more people to volunteer for Playa Restoration.

If you’d like to be part of Playa Restoration, Pre-Resto, or any of our expanding cleanup and LNT operations, please contact the DPW volunteer coordinator. We’d love to have you join our team.


If you volunteered for Resto, this could be the view from your office


Now back to the MOOP Map!

We made huge progress today, sweeping a very green Center Camp and all but a few remaining blocks of the city. There’s still plenty of other areas to cover, but to be so close to completing the city grid in such a short time — hardly 6 days — is unprecedented.

What do we have to thank for this?

The greener each block is, the faster our line sweeps can move. Consequently, much of Resto’s progress depends on how clean participants leave the city. The better job that you do, the more ground we can cover, and the more thorough we can be. So to all the camps we walked today that made such a great effort to leave no trace, thank you! Your efforts mean that we’ll be able to spend more time sweeping the open playa, art sites, and areas beyond just the city grid.

We’re also seeing the benefit of our expanded crew. While the difference between ~130 people and ~180 people may not sound like much, when it comes to line sweeps every extra set of eyes helps. Not only do denser lines miss less MOOP, but they hold their shape better, requiring less catherding from the line bosses, and helping everyone maintain a steadier pace.

Experience and motivation also plays a role. We’re now nearly a week in, and by now everyone is pretty well dialed in to the weird nuances of walking an empty desert following an invisible circle. With completion of the city grid in sight, the likelihood also increases that we’ll be able to take Sunday off. (Days off during Resto are never guaranteed, and their resulting allure cannot be overstated.)

Weather is another significant factor. If it’s extremely cold or wet, the Resto lines start to lose energy and focus. Too hot or windless, and the threat becomes dehydration and heat exhaustion. In either case, our pace suffers. While still too cold to be considered “perfect” Resto weather, today was a definite improvement over yesterday, and grew steadily warmer as the day went on, leading to a day of steady, satisfying progress.

Here’s where the MOOP Map stands at the end of Day 5.

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

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

14 Comments on “MOOP Map 2017: Day 5 — Presto Chango!

  • Zig "The Engineer" says:

    There was a post on Reddit about someone dumping blue liquid all over the place and just leaving it. The guy that posted it even took pics of the RV that left it.

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    • Playa Mom says:

      Hi it’s not blue liquid. If it was found in the playa or deep playa it was a photographer with a colored smoke bomb. I know this because I thoughtfully asked FAST about using powder explosives. On top of. Having respect for the crews that work so hard to clean up.
      I don’t know who that photographer is but it makes me sad it was probably for some sparkle pony doin it for the gram.

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  • Tong says:

    Try working a little faster. There are other people in the world who would like to use the playa.

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  • Phoenix says:

    What are the distinctions in color green, from lighter to darker? Thanks, y’all are awesome!

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  • Derkwheat says:

    What happens to the camps that left the RED areas? I assume banishment forever?

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    • Desert Silence says:

      No one will ever answer this question. I assume, nothing.

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    • Tbone says:

      The penalty for having RED on the map depends on who made the mess. If it is a small camp of real burners who tried but failed, they will be banished forever. If they are (more likely) pay-to-play Commodification Camps like White Privilege Ocean and Playa Skool, they will be cleaned up after by the volunteers. They will then be given even BETTER premium access next year, and will continue to make money for the BMORG by utilizing vendors who pay fees to the BMORG. The MOOPing customers of these Commodification camps will be welcomed back at an expanded Commercial Airport next year, and driven to their Commodification Camps to complete the circle of Contributing Nothing – Commidification – Consumption – Chasing DefaULT Celebrity DJs – MOOPing – Flying Away. In order to avoid talking about any of this, next year’s art theme will expand upon the last year’s “Kiss the Rich People’s Ass” theme and this year’s “Namaste Music Festival Instagram Bullshit” and will simply be “Paris HIlton is Hawt”

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  • Dr. Bungee says:

    Burning Man ended 6 weeks ago. Why is the Resto crew only on day 5 of their work? I’m not complaining because my lazy ass is not out there, just wondering. I live in Reno, and the weather has been good the last two weeks. Anyway, thanks for what you do.
    P.S. Our camp is green again!

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  • BlueBerry says:

    I guess ya’ll know we Burners are on Pins and Needles (that is an old fashioned saying that means high anticipation) about the end results of the Resto crew, bless their little MOOP pickin souls. When do we get to see the finished map? And the holier than thou part of my psyche does want to throw turd words at Red Camps, and have them identified. Cheers! BlueBerry

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