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The Summerisle Guide is for First Timers, Veterans, and Everyone In Between! Click on on a topic or download a printable copy.

Leave no trace

Summerisle is a Leave No Trace event, and no trash cans or dumpsters will be provided. Each participant must depart with all items they brought with them — including ALL trash and gray water — when they leave the site. Make a plan for how you will handle your trash/recycling at your camp, bring trash bags, clean up after yourself, and respect the land.

DUMPSTERS

There will be NO dumpsters at Summerisle, so pack it right and pack it out with you. 

Our event is Leave-No-Trace, but that doesn’t mean you should be looking to unload as soon as you leave the property. Please be mindful and respectful of the fact that local communities around and near the venue cannot tolerate the enormous influx of trash that would result if every departing burner left their load at the first dumpster or gas station dumpster they came across. We urge all burners to be good neighbors to our new home and our neighbors. When in doubt, consider this: if every burner who participated in Summerisle did with their trash what you are considering doing with yours, would the result be untenable? 

MOOP

MOOP, or “matter out of place,” is anything that was not already on the land when you arrived (even things that would be considered biodegradable – a banana peel is still MOOP!). MOOP is the responsibility of every burner, and many veteran burners are known to carry ziplock or drawstring bags around with them to assist in maintaining a beautiful burn space. Smokers, bring a portable ashtray (altoid tins are great for this) and do not drop your butts on the ground. After you have packed up camp, do a sweep of your area for anything, however small, that may have fallen or been trampled into the grass – think hairties, twist-ties, caps on fuel canisters, etc.

MOOP FROM COSTUMING & OUTFITS

The visual aesthetic of the burn is unique every year, and we feel a deep gratitude and awe toward those who contribute meaningfully through their bizarre, beautiful and mind-boggling costuming and outfits. (Though, bear in mind nudity is as celebrated as any state of dress here! Be respectful and loving.)

That said, please be mindful that no amount of aesthetic or wow-appeal is worth creating a MOOP-mageddon. Major don’ts are as follows:

  • Glitter. EVEN if it is biodegradable, glitter is a huge burner faux pas! Microplastics are an environmental disaster, please don’t contribute. And as noted, MOOP is anything that was not there when you arrived regardless of whether it biodegrades, so even biodegradable glitter is a big ole “no,” and an easy way to out yourself as either unfamiliar with the community or, worse, as someone who puts their personal fashion and appearance over the Principles and broader community.
  • Feathers. All feathers degrade over time, snap, or shed.
  • Fringe in a woodland environment guarantees it will unravel
  • Beading of any kind WILL run/pop off
  • Sequins, all it takes is one loose thread to start shedding them.
  • Rhinestones. Even if glue-reinforced, it is always only a matter of time before they start poppin’ off.

This is by no means a complete list, and we encourage everyone to give items of costuming and clothing a close look and a good, hard shake when deciding whether it will tolerate a camping environment well.

FIRE & FIREWOOD ASH

Fires must be contained in a raised pit or bowl off the ground.  A fire extinguisher or vessel of water must be nearby.  In accordance with LNT observance, doused ash must be removed from your site and brought to the venue compost dump. It is not permitted to merely add your ash to the central effigy fire pit. All untended fires will be extinguished by Rangers, no exceptions.

GREY WATER

“Grey water” is in between drinking water and “black water,” which requires a septic waste system for disposal. Grey water ranges from ice-melt in coolers to shower water with soaps, cosmetics, and debris, to kitchen waste like dishwashing water, toothpaste, and saliva. 

Grey water that has purely been generated from ice melting in coolers is okay to dump on the ground if it does not contain any food or beverage contamination. Participants are expected to walk cooler melt water away from any personal camp sites or theme camps.

Water with chemicals, food debris, human waste, etc. may not be disposed of on site. You should be prepared to pack out any grey water that is not cooler runoff. Empty plastic milk jugs, 5 gallon buckets with lids, and even cat litter containers with screw on lids are good for this purpose. 

Remember, the easiest grey water to dispose of is the grey water you don’t produce. Use waterless disinfectant lotion (available at drugstores) to sanitize your hands before you handle food. Choose an eco-friendly soap for your personal washing and kitchen, and use a spray bottle rather than spigot to wet things. You’ll need remarkably little water to wash up with, given the short duration of the event compared to Burning Man. You can even save up your cooler’s ice-melt water to refill your solar shower bag. When you shower, first get wet and turn the water off; then soap up and scrub down, then turn the water back on to rinse off. Or shower with a friend, and trade off controlling and directing the water supply. 

FOOD WASTE

Leave No Trace, contrary to popular belief, has nothing to do with whether or not something is organic or biodegradable. Rather, it focuses on leaving the environment as you found it. Which was probably without banana peels and firewood ash all over the place! If you brought it with you, pack it back out. This includes apple cores, banana peels, the shells from sunflower seeds and pistachios–all things that have been left behind in the past. The food and waste you leave behind can be disruptive to the natural ecosystem. Please be respectful and take it with you when you leave. We have a burner in Camp Elemental who provides a limited amount of compost buckets to borrow and give back filled with your food stuffs. First come, first serve!