Leaving No Trace 2022: MOOP Maps, Inspection, and the New #1 MOOP (2023)

Leaving No Trace: A Critical Moment and a Call to Action

This was not our cleanest victory.

Returning to the playa after two years of lockdown, the Burning Man community appears to be at a generational turning point regarding the future success of our Leaving No Trace (LNT) principle — and therefore, of Black Rock City itself. I cannot overstate the importance of the communal LNT effort needed to successfully undo our impact on the land every year. Worldwide, the Burning Man community is rooted in Leaving No Trace, and all of the beauty on the playa was made real because of this. As manager of Playa Restoration (Resto) since 2005, this community has made a believer out of me. You’ve cleaned up after yourselves year after year, which has meant that we’ve successfully passed the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Post Event Inspection every year, even as the scope of the event and our population grew toward 80,000 citizens. In 2022, once again, you did your part and we did indeed pass the BLM Inspection, but it was extraordinarily and alarmingly close. Moving forward, this is the critical moment when we need to recommit to building, burning, and Leaving No Trace like we fucking mean it.

After a near perfect LNT year in 2019, 2022 was one of the messiest playas in recent history. It was evident by the intensive follow-up work needed by the Playa Restoration Crew that our community struggled with the cleanup effort needed to return the Black Rock Desert to its pre-event condition. Many camps and projects had trouble striking infrastructure and line-sweeping their square footage. The excessive heat, punishing winds, blinding dust storms burying MOOP, early departures, and fatigue were all factors. But with improved planning, education and acculturation, we can do better. Burning Man culture was born of these harsh desert landscape conditions, grew strong in these conditions, and learned to thrive in these conditions.

Playa Restoration’s mission is to follow up participants’ Leave No Trace effort in Black Rock City. Resto is not here to clean up after you — we’re here to check your work. First, and most crucially, you need to do your part. Only with our combined effort can we make Black Rock City disappear like it never happened.

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Leaving No Trace 2022: MOOP Maps, Inspection, and the New #1 MOOP (1)
Leaving No Trace 2022: MOOP Maps, Inspection, and the New #1 MOOP (2)

MOOP Map 2022: Introducing The Clear Version

For the first time ever, we’re introducing an alternate, clear version of the MOOP Map. Here, the historical standard color of GREEN is replaced by CLEAR to better depict the severity and locations of MOOP (this is, after all, the original purpose of the MOOP Map). Otherwise, the map below shows exactly the same data.

The Standard MOOP Map 2022: The Green Version

Now, for comparison, here is the good ol’ green version of the MOOP Map we all know and love. Keep in mind, this shows the exact same data as the clear version. For those motivated by green: fantastic work — keep setting the bar high.

Yellow and red: from the whole community, we’re imploring you to step up your LNT game — the future of Black Rock City is at stake.
Since the first official MOOP Map in 2006, green doesn’t mean perfect — it simply means we were able to move quickly without needing to stop and record specific MOOP data. Over time, the positive perception of green on the MOOP Map has overshadowed the focus of the MOOP itself.

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Going forward, green is still a great goal. For those who are motivated by and strive for green, please continue to do so in 2023 and beyond. Especially as we ramp up to Burning Man’s 2030 Sustainability Road Map goals of No Matter Out of Place, Being Regenerative, and Being Carbon Neutral… GO FOR GREEN!

Use this MOOP Map slider to compare clear and green maps!

Leaving No Trace 2022: MOOP Maps, Inspection, and the New #1 MOOP (5) Leaving No Trace 2022: MOOP Maps, Inspection, and the New #1 MOOP (6)

The New Number One MOOP (And the Most Dangerous): Tent Stakes/Rebar/Lag Bolts

Leaving No Trace 2022: MOOP Maps, Inspection, and the New #1 MOOP (7)

Resto recorded approximately 3,000 MOOP data points by GPS. By far the most alarming were the 1,023 spikes, tent stakes, rebar, cement stakes and lag bolts found still in the ground and marked red on the MOOP Map! Of the total recorded MOOP data points, one third were spikes left by participants. This is an astounding 900% increase from the 100 spikes found in 2019. Spikes in the ground are the most dangerous (and most abundant) category of MOOP. They can puncture tires, cause injuries and vehicular accidents, and are a violation of our Leave No Trace community standards. So, what the hell is up with all the spikes left in the ground, Black Rock City?! Did you forget how to pull them out of the ground? If so, here’s a quick video tutorial on how to pull spikes out. (And a suggestion of a tool you can use to get them out.) Or did you forget where you nailed your spikes into the ground and lost them in the dust? If so, please flag your spikes so you know where they are. This is a serious problem that must be corrected in 2023: ALL SPIKES PUT IN THE GROUND MUST BE ACCOUNTED FOR AND REMOVED BY THE PARTICIPANT, CAMP, OR PROJECT THAT PLACED THEM.

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Leaving No Trace 2022: MOOP Maps, Inspection, and the New #1 MOOP (8)
Leaving No Trace 2022: MOOP Maps, Inspection, and the New #1 MOOP (9)

The full list of top ranking MOOP items of 2022 is below.

Playa Restoration 2022 Top MOOP Ranking

  1. Tent stake/rebar/cement stakes/lag bolts – 1,023
  2. Assorted Matter Out of Place – 932
  3. Wood – 400
  4. Plastic debris – 308
  5. Glass debris -271
  6. Metal debris (nails, screws, fasteners, staples) – 204
  7. Micro-MOOP (unidentifiable) – 97
  8. Cigarette butts – 75
  9. Cardboard paper debris – 69
  10. Electronic debris – 47
  11. Food debris – 34
  12. Textiles/fabric – 32
  13. Fuel spills -31
  14. Carpet rugs – 20
  15. Grey water – 20
  16. Black water – 10
  17. Burn scars – 10
  18. Paint chips – 10
  19. Fireworks debris – 2

BLM Post Event Inspection 2022 Results: We Passed, But It Was Close

In 2019, we only failed ONE test area. In 2022, we failed EIGHT test areas — and many other points were close to failure. On October 7, 2022 BLM met with Playa Restoration on the playa where 120 test points were plotted within Black Rock City limits. Each test point was marked with a stake and a 37-foot rope, the radius of which defined the boundary for MOOP debris capture. All MOOP in those circles was collected and labeled. BLM concluded that although it was close, we did pass the rigorous standard of one square-foot-per-acre and no more than 10 percent failed test points.

Leaving No Trace 2022: MOOP Maps, Inspection, and the New #1 MOOP (10) Leaving No Trace 2022: MOOP Maps, Inspection, and the New #1 MOOP (11)Leaving No Trace 2022: MOOP Maps, Inspection, and the New #1 MOOP (12)Leaving No Trace 2022: MOOP Maps, Inspection, and the New #1 MOOP (13)

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A bit of good news — although we came close to the total number of allowable fails, Resto was able to keep the average amount of square foot per acre of MOOP relatively low at 0.4 sq.ft./ac. Moving forward, we will be asking camps to test their areas after their final MOOP sweeps by using the same BLM inspection method, essentially line sweeping in a circular motion within a 38-foot radius. More detail and LNT best practices from Playa Restoration will be published soon in an upcoming Burning Man Journal post.

In the end, we fought like hell through extraordinarily difficult circumstances, and we passed. Burning Man and Black Rock City are still undefeated. This was a hard-fought victory by the entire BRC community, and I thank you all. Everyone’s LNT effort matters. On behalf of the playa, Restoration, and the Department of Public Works, thank you for being there and for Leaving No Trace.

Once more, into the dust, we will build, burn, and pick up 100% of the pieces for Burning Man 2023: Animalia! See you on the playa! LEAVE NO TRACE!

Playa Restoration 2022 Facts

  • Black Rock City extends over more than 3,600 acres.
  • 75,069 citizens lived in Black Rock City 2022.
  • 1 square foot per acre is the allowable standard of MOOP.
  • 1 square foot per acre translated into percentages means that we must be under .002% in order to pass a test area. That’s essentially zero. Anything above .002% is a fail.
  • .04 sq.ft./ac. is the average amount of MOOP, which is well under the 1 square foot per acre allowable standard.
  • 11 is the number of one-square-foot-per-acre test areas that we cannot exceed failing.
  • 8 is the number of one-square-foot-per-acre test areas that we failed.
  • 112 is the number of one-square-foot-per-acre test areas that we passed.
Leaving No Trace 2022: MOOP Maps, Inspection, and the New #1 MOOP (14)

Cover image of BRC 2022 MOOP Map

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What does moop mean burning man? ›

MOOP is an acronym for “Matter Out of Place”, a convenient way of referring to anything that is not originally of the land on which our event takes place.

What is a moop map? ›

The MOOP Map is Burning Man's Leave No Trace record for each year. It reflects what the Department of Public Works' Playa Restoration Team found (and removed) when they conducted their post-event sweep of the Black Rock City event site, ultimately returning the playa to its pristine condition.

How old is Burning Man? ›

Burning Man was inaugurated in 1986, when Larry Harvey and Jerry James—two members of the San Francisco arts community—burned an eight-foot- (two-metre-) tall wooden effigy of a man on San Francisco's Baker Beach in celebration of the summer solstice.

How long is Burning Man? ›

Burning man is an annual nine-day festival that involves music, art, and culture. It is organized by a non-profit organization called the Burning Man Project. The official website of Burning Man calls it a community, more like a temporary city of like-minded people than a festival.

How much money do you need for Burning Man? ›

Beyond that, there is the need to eat and drink which can easily cost a couple hundred dollars, plus, for many, the experience isn't complete without costumes to show off while on site. Overall Burning Man will cost you $2000-$3000, as a low estimate.

Can you bring guns to Burning Man? ›

Both the BLM and BMorg agree that the population density is too high to risk gun use onsite. Vehicles are searched at the Gate for prohibited items, as defined by the use permit: including guns, fireworks, dogs. Originally Answered: Are firearms prohibited during Burning Man?

What does map out life mean? ›

: to plan the details of (something, such as a program or one's future)

Where is Burning Man? ›

Once a year, tens of thousands of people gather in Nevada's Black Rock Desert to create Black Rock City, a temporary metropolis dedicated to community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance. In this crucible of creativity, all are welcome.

Why is Burning Man so expensive? ›

It also takes a lot of equipment and hours of labor to put things together out there. Each year we see increases in the costs of our permits, logistics, and operations. Our costs are also increasing because we're making serious investments in expanding our impact around the globe.

Is Burning Man worth it? ›

Burning Man is a crazy, weird, amazing, horrifying experience and most definitely worth seeing at least once in your life. Definitely GO, but if it's your first time at Burning Man do it right! It's magical!

Who owns Burning Man? ›

CEO, Burning Man Founding Board Member, Burning Man Project

Marian Goodell is the first Chief Executive Officer of Burning Man Project, the nonprofit behind the world renowned Burning Man event, an ephemeral city that rises annually in Nevada's Black Rock Desert.

Are there drugs at Burning Man? ›

Drugs are “technically illegal,” but are easier to find than Halloween candy on October 31. Nonetheless, the writer of the Times piece says that his week at Burning Man was one of the best experiences of his life. However, a writer for Mashable angrily refutes the claim that drugs are widespread at Burning Man.

Are there showers at Burning Man? ›

Oh yeah, and there are no showers in Burning Man, only communal toilets to use. If you need to shower, rent an RV but trust me, you'll be covered in dust again in minutes.

Do people stay sober at Burning Man? ›

But while drugs are common at Burning Man, there's an entirely other side to the parties fueled by MDMA, acid and nitrous oxide whippets. "I'd say statistically the majority of people who go aren't sober although I think it's becoming more common to go there sober," says Hoffman.

Is clothing optional at Burning Man? ›

Remember: At Burning Man, shirts are optional.

Can you go to Burning Man for one day? ›

To experience Black Rock City, you will want to become part of the community. Therefore, there are no day passes sold, and no discounts given based on your length of stay. Of course, it is not necessary that you come for the entire week.

What do you need to go to Burning Man? ›

First Time at Burning Man? Don't Forget to Pack These 17 Essential Items!
  • Packing Items 1, 2 & 3: Tickets, Cash, and Plenty of Water.
  • Packing Items 4 & 5: Goggles and a Face Mask.
  • Packing Items 6 & 7: Earplugs and a Sleep Mask.
  • Packing Item 8: A Warm Jacket.
  • Packing Item 9: Closed-Toe Boots.
  • Packing Item 10: Playa Chalice.
May 1, 2023

What are the 10 rules at Burning Man? ›

The 10 Principles of Burning Man
  • Radical Inclusion. Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. ...
  • Gifting. Burning Man is devoted to acts of gift giving. ...
  • Decommodification. ...
  • Radical Self-reliance. ...
  • Radical Self-expression. ...
  • Communal Effort. ...
  • Civic Responsibility. ...
  • Leaving No Trace.

Can you land a plane at Burning Man? ›

All pilots and participants are required to have a valid Burning Man ticket or Will Call confirmation in order to land at 88NV. Anyone landing at 88NV without a ticket is subject to BLM trespassing law enforcement. There is a $60 airport use fee. This fee is collected at the gate upon check in.

Are animals allowed at Burning Man? ›

There are no pets allowed at Burning Man. The environment is simply too harsh and our event has too many elements that would be unfamiliar and anxiety-producing for animals. You will be turned away from our Gate if you attempt to bring in an animal.

What does mopping up mean? ›

: to gather as if by absorbing. also : garner. mopped up all the awards. 3. : to overcome decisively : trounce.

What is to lay out? ›

to arrange in a pattern or design; to plan something by showing how its parts fit together: The designer laid out the book with pictures on every page.

What does rough out mean? ›

phrasal verb

roughed out; roughing out; roughs out. : to make (something, such as a drawing or a list) quickly and without including all the details. We'll rough out a general plan.

What city is Burning Man closest to? ›

Reno is the closest major city, and Burners can take one of two routes to Black Rock City.

Where is Burning Man cost? ›

Approximately 15,000 tickets at $575 each, and approximately 5,000 vehicle passes available at $150 each, plus applicable fees and taxes. You can buy a maximum of two (2) $575 tickets and one (1) $150 vehicle pass.

How many people are usually at Burning Man? ›

80, 000 people attended Burning Man in 2022. 70% of regional Burning Man events from 2019 returned, reaching 73 gatherings worldwide. There will be 73 regional Burning Man events in 2023.

What does FOMO mean at Burning Man? ›

Do you know what FOMO is ? ( Fear Of Missing Out) Every burner already met the FOMO on the playa : There is so many things to experiment…

Do you need a ticket for Burning Man? ›

A. Everyone needs a valid ticket to enter BRC. Every vehicle driving through the Gate, except motorcycles, must have a vehicle pass. Arriving before the Gate opens requires a valid early arrival pass for every person in your vehicle.

Where is Burning Man 2023? ›

Where to sleep at Burning Man? ›

There are many wonderful ways to camp at Burning Man — tents, yurts, living containers, RVs, and many more creative living solutions. The Burning Man organization does not provide or sell RVs to participants. You cannot buy an RV with your Burning Man ticket. We do not connect participants to RV companies.

What is not allowed at Burning Man? ›

Personal Transportation Vehicles NOT Allowed

Larger stand-up scooters, fat tire scooters, gas-powered bicycles, powered quadricycles, ATVS, mopeds and motorcycles are not allowed inside the Burning Man event.

What is playa foot? ›

PLAYA FOOT is a malady unique to the Black Rock Desert caused by the alkali dust that makes up the desert. It is, in essence, a chemical burn. The most common cause of playa foot is exposure of your feet to the desert floor by not wearing socks and closed shoes. While this malady is not serious, it is uncomfortable.

Did Google buy Burning Man? ›

Google, the tech giant and world's most popular search engine, has acquired the majority share of Burning Man festival. Initial reports from the website Burners Feel The Burn said the company made a bid late last night to take over the festival and have been successful in its acquisition.

Can you sell stuff at Burning Man? ›

The refreshing change of pace is brought by Burning Man, the event where 70,000 people build a temporary city in the Nevada desert and deliberately don't sell or buy stuff. Instead, they give it away.

Do you pay for anything at Burning Man? ›

Burning Man is a free community inside — instead of booking entertainment, it encourages participants to perform for the community free of charge. It also doesn't sell goods. But the cost of attending Burning Man can come to thousands of dollars between tickets, transportation, accommodations, supplies, and costumes.

Can you bring alcohol to Burning Man? ›

Beer in Glass Bottles

Similar to small plastic water bottles, if you bring a bunch of glass bottles of beer, you'll just have to pack out a bunch of empty glass bottles. It has the potential to create MOOP on the playa or it will be a big bag of heavy trash that you'll have to carry out when you leave Burning Man.

What do people do all day at Burning Man? ›

They cook, dance, sing, drink, make art and celebrate life in general. Other activities are going around in different corners, like wine tasting, massages, zip lining, and tattoos, all open for anyone without any cost. According to reports, many people even get married at The Burning Man festival.

Can I leave Burning Man and come back? ›

Yes, it is possible to leave Burning Man early. You can leave on any of the days that you choose. You can even leave and come back, however, every re-entry costs $20, and you'll have to wait in the line just like everyone else.

Does Burning Man provide bathrooms? ›


Portable toilets will be provided for all participants and are serviced regularly. Use these facilities only for their intended purpose — not for dumping garbage or your personal potty bags.

Who cleans up after Burning Man? ›

Starting the last day of the event and lasting roughly one month, DPW's Playa Restoration Team works to return the Black Rock Desert to its pre-event condition.

Why do firefighters drink alcohol? ›

Binge drinking and drug abuse often happen among firefighters because they hope to forget or learn to live with certain situations. The numbing effects of alcohol consumption are only temporary, however. Once a person is sober, any mental health disorder or memories of traumatic calls are still there.

Do sober people have fun? ›

Recovery doesn't disqualify you from going to a party, game or concert, if those are activities you enjoy. However, it's important to create a new definition of what's fun for you when substance use isn't involved. “People need to remember that we can still have fun even though we're sober,” Campbell said.

What does 3000 out of pocket mean? ›

For example, if your out-of-pocket max is $3,000, the amount you pay for your deductible, copayments and coinsurance will be added together, and when the running total reaches $3,000, your health insurance company will start to pay the full cost for all covered health care services.

What does DPW stand for Burning Man? ›

Black Rock City's Department of Public Works (DPW) is the workforce dedicated to building the physical infrastructure of Black Rock City, the place Burning Man calls home in the Black Rock Desert. The DPW works side by side with all of the departments within the Burning Man Project.

What happens when I hit out-of-pocket maximum? ›

The out-of-pocket maximum is a limit on what you pay out on top of your premiums during a policy period for deductibles, coinsurance and copays. Once you reach your out-of-pocket maximum, your health insurance will pay for 100% of most covered health benefits for the rest of that policy period.

What is excluded from out-of-pocket maximum? ›

The out-of-pocket maximum is the most you could pay for covered medical services and/or prescriptions each year. The out-of-pocket maximum does not include your monthly premiums. It typically includes your deductible, coinsurance and copays, but this can vary by plan.

Do prescription drugs count towards out-of-pocket maximum? ›

The amounts you pay for prescription drugs covered by your plan would count towards your out-of-pocket maximum. If you purchase a prescription that is not covered by your plan for whatever reason (it's not on the plan's formulary, it's considered experimental, etc.), it would not count.

What are people who attend Burning Man called? ›

These "Burners," or those who attend Burning Man, include celebrities, influencers, and tech CEOs. •

Do you have to work at Burning Man? ›

Volunteers Are Staff, Too!

Many of our year-round employees began as volunteers. Similarly, many employees who no longer work for Burning Man Project continue to volunteer in Black Rock City and beyond. Volunteer for Burning Man. What Is Burning Man?

Can I bring my dog to Burning Man? ›

There are no pets allowed at Burning Man. The environment is simply too harsh and our event has too many elements that would be unfamiliar and anxiety-producing for animals. You will be turned away from our Gate if you attempt to bring in an animal.

Do people shower at Burning Man? ›

Oh yeah, and there are no showers in Burning Man, only communal toilets to use.

Can you bring a car to Burning Man? ›

Motor Vehicles — No Driving

Driving cars and trucks on the playa has been prohibited — with few exceptions — since 1997. Participants are only allowed to drive motor vehicles to their camps and when they depart the event. Otherwise, motor vehicles should remain parked.


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