Vanishing Black Rock City

Here’s a peek into the world of Playa Restoration and the people who are passionate about preserving the Black Rock Desert and minimizing the impact of Burning Man as much as humanly possible. I visited Resto, I stood in the dumpster of MOOP left behind by Burning Man and talked trash with the crew.

“The main thing is to make this place as close to original as we can, and we know that’s impossible, but we can get really close.”  -Starchild

Playa Restoration is what makes Burning Man possible, and the Playa Restoration All-Stars are the force that wrap-up Burning Man’s environmental restoration effort.

When I first came to Burning Man I was like… “I’m a veteran camper. I got this leave no trace thing down… no problem…” Unbeknownst to me I was dating the Special Forces Manager for Playa Restoration. “Wait, like a woodchip is a trace? Oh and a sunflower seed is a trace, that lil scrap of paper that came out in my cooler water and those pieces of eggshell and clod of hair are a trace?” I quickly learned that Burning Man takes leaving no trace to a whole new level.

 I went out and talked to the Resto Crew on the last day of resto, while they did “line sweeps” and “killed cones.” You know what they told me? They told me it’s you, the people of Burning Man, who make the whole leave no trace effort possible by being accountable for what you bring and cleaning up after yourselves. Also, we can all still do better.

You make Burning Man possible by helping ensure Black Rock City vanishes to dust. It seems an achievement that is unparalleled— 70,000 people leaving less than a dumpster in trash and a city vanishing. So, congratulations… you did it. Still, we can all do better.

It’s the little things that add up. A wood chip isn’t a huge deal, but multiply even the smallest thing by 70,000 people and it makes an impact.

How do you practice leave-no-trace? Is there anything you could do better?

What Burning Man left behind.
Special Forces rolling through the city streets “Killin Cones” and dissapearing “Hot Spots.”
Line sweeps walk the streets of Black Rock City.
the line sweeps walk at arm lengths apart across the seven square miles of Black Rock City.
For eight hours or more a single song plays on repeat to encourage ‘meltdowns.’ This backfired when “I want a hippopotamus for Christmas’ was embraced by crew members. Those intending to cause meltdowns had meltdowns. The irony. The justice.
Playa Restoration Special Forces.
Playa Restoration All-Star Crew.

About the author: Shalaco


Follow along with me on my adventures as Black Rock City returns to dust. I run around with a camera and talk to people. Check out my Burning Man Vlogs here.

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