just passing this on...
FYI -- good article in the NY times about the lack of
traces left this year and the fight by Bogard of
--- Molly Tirpak <email@example.com> wrote:
taken from www.nytimes.com
the article is listed in the Arts section (yeah!)....
it was just filed today... which means that it may get
printed in various papers in the next few days.
>Critics Praise Burning Man Cleanup
>October 26, 2001
>By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
>RENO, Nev. (AP) -- Every year they come from across
>the country to play on the northern Nevada desert.
>Thousands oftechies, trippers and artists transform
>ancient lake bed into Black Rock City, a
>encampment equipped with everything from medical
>services to an airstrip.
>And then they leave.
>What's left behind at the site of the counterculture
>Burning Man festival are countless wood chips,
>cigarette butts, pistachio shells, orange peels,
>and other debris.
>But this year, more than 25,000 participants from at
>least 40 states and 20 countries cleaned up their act
>on the Black Rock Desert 120 miles north of Reno near
>Bureau of Land Management officials said a sharp
>reduction in trash helped organizers easily pass a
>cleanup inspection earlier this month.
>``They've done a commendable job of cleaning up after
>themselves. It's likely they'll be allowed to return
>the same site next year (for the 17th annual
>gathering),'' said Les Boni, an assistant field
>in the BLM's Winnemucca office.
>The event is not without controversy and some still
>working to end it. But even longtime festival critic
>John Bogard, owner of Planet X Pottery near Gerlach,
>said he generally was pleased with this year's
>``They definitely have to toe the line on that and
>they're getting better,'' he said. ``This year, trash
>on the highways was worse. But on the site, they
>probably did a good job of cleaning up.''
>Billed as the ultimate celebration of radical
>self-expression and self-reliance, the Mardi
>festival features a crazy, anything-goes atmosphere
>of nudity and drug use and an eclectic mix of art and
>BLM officials attributed the successful cleanup to
>organizers' tougher ``leave-no-trace'' policies over
>the past two years.
>The stance followed complaints by critics that the
>weeklong event leading up to Labor Day was trashing
>ancient lake bed. The festival site straddles a new
>national conservation area designed to protect the
>Since then, organizers have improved their cleanup
>techniques and spread the word to participants that
>the event will be booted off the desert unless they
>leave it clean.
>The festival climaxes with the torching of a 70-foot-
>high wooden effigy of a man for whom the event is
>-- and with artists tossing their paintings,
>and other creations on bonfires.
>Burning Man spokeswoman Marian Goodell said the use
>three dozen burn platforms reduced the number of burn
>scars on the playa from 200 in 1999 to 10 this year,
>all of which were cleaned up.
>Cleanup crews consisting of paid staff and volunteers
>used magnets, sifting machines and other devices to
>pick up trash, she said.
>``We basically changed people's behavior and the way
>they treat their refuse out there,'' Goodell said.
>was a really, really small amount of garbage we
picked >up this year.''
>Despite the cleanup, Bogard and other members of a
>group calling itself Black Rock Rescue are still
>pressing the BLM to revoke the event's permit.
>Bogard said the festival contributes to environmental
>problems that adversely affect other desert users:
>an increase in dust and so-called transient dunes.
>The event's environmental impact has not been
>adequately assessed and a complete impact statement
>should be prepared for any future festival, he added.
>The group's appeal of the BLM's permit for the event,
>filed last year, is pending before the Interior
>Department's Board of Land Appeals.
>``On the whole, the Burning Man site is worse,''
>Bogard said. ``It was a fairly stressful event due to
>dust this year. Next year it'll be even worse. The
dust >blows off and then you get a depression on the
>``The BLM is sponsoring this gigantic drug fest.... I
>say they have plenty of places. Hell, they can go to
>Alcatraz (Island) or the Alameda (Calif.) Naval
>Burning Man founder Larry Harvey, who began the
>event in San Francisco in 1986 and moved it to the
>Nevada desert in 1990, blamed the dust problem on the
>region's drought and the transient dunes on other
>To help participants cope with dust, organizers
>sprinkled 4 million gallons of water on roads during
>``I don't think we can do anything differently to
>reduce the dust,'' Harvey said. ``We're talking about
>acts of God and forces of nature. Everybody knows the
>region goes through periodic drought.''
>Goodell insisted organizers go out of their way to be
>environmentally friendly, and the event does not
>disturb any vegetation or wildlife.
>``We respect the beauty of the Black Rock
>said. ``The cleanup is part of leaving it the way
>we found it ... We're very confident the appeals
>will rule in our favor.''