Jack Rabbit Speaks
Volume 11, Issue 4
December 28, 2006
Here's a special quickie-edition JRS for your year's end...a call for
participation creating fire pits at San Francisco's Ocean Beach, an
announcement about several of our staffers who are helping to increase
Burning Man's political voice, and an open invitation to join the
Special Events team and have fun creating local Burning Man events in
San Francisco in 2007!
We wish you and yours a very happy New Year from all of us at Burning Man.
P.S. Hey, 247 days until the burn.... :)
HELP DESIGN AND INSTALL FIRE PIT ART AT SAN FRANCISCO'S OCEAN BEACH
Here's a chance to be a part of a rare and amazing opportunity to help
design, build, and install fire rings/pits/structures on Ocean Beach in
the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco! This
once-in-a-lifetime chance to help create potentially permanent fire art
installations that will support community building around fires along
the ocean shore.
A Little Background:
The National Park Service have their hands full, and are woefully
underfunded. In San Francisco, they were spending $90,000 a year just
cleaning up the mess left over from fires on Ocean Beach. The problem
was so severe that earlier in 2006 the Park Service considered banning
However, thanks to thousands of letters from people like you, they've
changed their mind, and earlier this month announced a one year
experiment with continuing to allow fires, but only in designated burn
platforms/fire rings. They've partnered with The Surfrider Foundation
(http://surfrider.org/), a great conservation group made of concerned
surfers, to figure out what they should look like, and how they should
Recently, volunteers from Burners Without Borders, a group of people
connected through attending the Burning Man event, dedicated to creating
community through art and public service
(http://www.burnerswithoutborders.org) began doing monthly beach clean
ups on Ocean Beach. BWB heard about the fire pit design issue, and
offered to help. (For those of you that don't know, Burning Man began on
Baker Beach in 1986, and continued access to fires on the San Francisco
shore is very near and dear to our heart.)
In a meeting last week, the National Park Service and Surfrider agreed
to partner with BWB, to take advantage of our expertise in both fire and
cleaning up after them (Burning Man is the world's largest Leave No
Trace event) by having BWB manage the submission and award process for
these fire rings. We're obviously thrilled and honored, and happy to
help, and our first thought was -- let's get as many people involved as
There will be a dozen fire pits to begin with. No two designs need to be
the same, but preference will be given to those that are artistic in
nature, since people are likely to be more protective of something
that's attractive--so show us your best stuff!
A couple things to keep in mind:
They should either be too heavy to be removed (400lbs+) or anchored
beneath the sand in some way. Conversely, they should be removable by
Park Service heavy machinery during the big storm season of winter.
The designer should keep in mind ease of maintenance including emptying
ash and debris. Surfrider has offered to help clean them on a regular
basis, but making it easy to do so is key.
They should have reflective markings on them so that Park Service
vehicles can see them when driving on the beach at night, and so there's
no trip/fall hazard.
They should be made of durable materials that can take the pounding from
the ocean and fire.
They should be no more than six feet across, and should contain all
flame and ash. (Tip: Concave designs will more efficiently burn wood and
leave less debris).
They should either not trap drifting, blowing sand, or be easily dug out
if they do.
But Wait, There's More:
In our meeting with the Park Service last week, one issue that came up
was concerns about the limited number of fire rings -- since not
everyone could light a fire, would there be conflicts over who got to
use them? The Park Service figured yes, which is why the fire rings are
to be installed near stairways, to facilitate access for law
enforcement. It also came up that there aren't really any iconic images
of Ocean Beach, like there are for, say Chrissy Field or the Golden Gate
However, it's been Burning Man's experience that fires can actually
create community, rather than cause tension. In fact, around a fire is
about the only place where two strangers can stand next to each other in
silence, and not feel uncomfortable.
So BWB also agreed to help create design multilingual signs for possible
placement on Ocean Beach, explaining that the fires are a community
resource, and that everyone will be welcome around them--they won't be
for exclusive use without getting prior permits from the Park Service.
Any other time--they're open for anyone to join.
Which means we're also looking for some designs for signage. Messages
must include: Anyone is welcome around the fire--find the right vibe,
contribute your fire wood, and make new friends. There will also likely
be some other regulatory messages regarding appropriate types of wood.
Another suggestion: Clean It Forward--people should be encouraged on
arrival at a fire pit to clean out the ash from the previous user,
before using it themselves. And we're also looking for some nice iconic
imagery that says "Ocean Beach." Suggestions as to fabrication
(materials) and placement of signs are also welcome; keep in mind that
the Park Service is conservative about signage and generally follows the
"less is more" approach.
This is going to happen in a big hurry:
Initial proposals should be in by January 14th.
Final designs will be chosen on January 28th.
Fire pits will be installed and lit for the first time in a community
celebration at dusk, on Earth Day.
It should go without saying, but just to be clear: if you suggest a
design, you should have the ability to create it, because the Park
Service can't afford to contract this out.
Which brings up the next point: some funds are available for this
project, from the Park Service, other stakeholder groups, as well as
perhaps Burning Man. However, there are a lot of fire rings to make, so
please include reasonable expected costs in your proposal, and also
remember the value you'll get from this experience being able to create
a (semi, perhaps ) permanent work of fire art in a public place.
What do I do next?
Sketch out your design ideas for signs and fire rings, in as much detail
as possible, and email them to Tom Price at email@example.com, or
mail them to him c/o Burning Man, 1900 3rd Street, SF, CA, 94158.
Questions? Call him at 801-712-5371. Designs must be in by January
14th--so hurry! Please include estimates of cost, and obviously
preference will be given to designs you can manufacture.
Thank you for your participation in helping preserve the right to fires
on Ocean Beach!
Burners Without Borders
BURNING MAN STAFF MEMBERS GET POLITICAL
Burning Man is proud to announce the appointment of several of its staff
members to various political boards and organizations.
Burning Man Board Member Will Roger Peterson was recently appointed to
the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) Sierra Front-Northwestern Great
Basin Resource Advisory Council (RAC). Will is representing the
interests of recreational users for issues such as wildlife habitat,
range permits, wild horses, mineral and geothermal rights, land issues,
development problems, off-highway vehicle problems, water transfers,
power plants, trash clean ups, transportation management and various
other issues. Will's involvement with Friends of the Black Rock
<http://www.blackrockfriends.org/>, a non-profit devoted to the
enjoyment and preservation of the Black Rock NCA, helped him attain his
position on the RAC.
Joseph has been a Commissioner on the San Francisco Entertainment
Commission since 2003 and was reappointed again in 2005 for a four-year
term. As the Public Health Representative on the San Francisco
<http://www.ci.sf.ca.us/site/entertainment_index.asp>, Joseph is heavily
involved with reviewing the safety of, and permitting, events in the
City of San Francisco. Joseph has been working in public safety since
1989 and has been been the Emergency Services Operations Chief for
Burning Man since 1996.
Manager of Burning Man's Information Technology Department, Heather
Gallagher is helping shape the future of Treasure Island, the former
Naval Station in San Francisco Bay that was turned over to the City and
County of San Francisco by the federal government in 1993. As a Board
Member on the Citizens Advisory Committee, Heather is advising the
Treasure Island Development Authority
<http://www.ci.sf.ca.us/site/treasureisland_index.asp?id=265> on issues
of affordable housing, recreation, arts, commercial redevelopment and
other various interests.
These appointments will increase Burning Man's voice when it comes to
matters of land use in Nevada, and arts and entertainment in the San
Francisco Bay Area. Congratulations to Will, Joseph and Heather!
BURNING MAN SPECIAL EVENTS TEAM OPEN MEETING 1/8/07 SAN FRANCISCO
SAVE THE DATE AND SPREAD THE WORD: Burning Man Special Events Team Open
Call For Participation Meeting and Mixer Jan 8th, 2007!
Want to get involved and help shape Burning Man events in SF this year?
Then join us at Burning Man Headquarters for a Special Events Team mixer
and our first planning meeting of 2007!
Last year's January meeting was FANTASTIC and completely shaped 2006
events and the 11 events currently in the hopper for 2007! We are
seeking brand spanking new volunteers to add to our amazing team. If you
are curious about what we do and/or know you'd like to be part of
year-round Burning Man events, come on by!
Burning Man HQ
1900 3rd St - 2nd floor (between 16th St and Mariposa) San Francisco, CA
7:00pm-9:00pm Bring snacks and an open mind--preferably with a silly hat
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org, so we know how many to expect
- Mission of team
- Exciting events we have planned for 2007!
- Ways you can immediately plug in and help bring Burning Man to the Bay
- Open discussion/feedback, new event ideas and mixer, as time permits
If you have ideas or suggestions for new venues and cannot come in
person, e-mail them to email@example.com. We'd love to hear
If you'd like to be added to our Special Events volunteer announce list,
Happy New Year! And thanks for keeping the fires burning all year long!
Burning Man Special Events Team & Regional Outreach
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