Every year thousands of items are lost (and found!) on the Playa. There really is no such thing as a Playa gift; what you find in the dust belongs to someone who has lost it. Besides, picking up and turning in items to Lost and Found is a leave-no-trace action.
We VOLUNTEERS at Playa Info try our best to reunite items with their owners. That is one of the service gifts Playa Info provides to Black Rock City (BRC). But, there are steps you can take pre- and on-playa to help yourself, others and us before you lose anything!
Prevention is the best cure. Consider putting a label or a luggage tag on anything precious or--better yet--on everything, while you are packing for the playa. Think about the “real estate” area on the item. If you have a large space (big real estate) label the item with your name, phone number, email address, facebook page and playa camp location, if you are sure of it. If small real estate--label with minimum of name and phone number or e-mail address or other reliable way to contact you. Airline counters are great places to get free luggage tags.
Write up your info on a sheet of paper and take a photograph with your camera, and leave the image as the first one in your photo set. Better yet, simply label the camera. We get hundreds of cameras, and it takes a long time to look through each camera for your information. Take address labels with you so you can tag everything you didn't think you needed to tag. The mighty wind can whisk away the most essential items. Yes, we have had tarps, small tents, back packs and sleeping bags all turned into Lost and Found. Label everything you want to get back!
Consider leaving very precious items at home: your childhood bike, your great-grandmother's ring, or that special item of clothing that means so much to you.
Speaking of bikes, they are the only thing we don’t take at Lost and Found. There is a separate process for dealing with lost bikes: firstname.lastname@example.org
. Better yet, simply lock your bike at all times. After your bike is stolen once, you probably will lock the next bike.
You don’t want to lose your car keys, right? Get a hide-a-key box, put your vehicle key in it and hide it on your vehicle, where you’ll remember where it is a week later. We get a lot of car keys turned in to Lost and Found…..bummer, huh? Lock up your wallets, passports, airline tickets in your vehicle, hide your spare key, and party/sleep easy.
Next, check your ID! Many passports and driving licenses are sent back to the owner every year, only to be returned because the owner has moved on. Write your current address in permanent ink on your ID. For on playa travels, make a copy of your official ID and health insurance and carry it instead of the original.
Finally, if you do lose something at BRC, come on down to Lost and Found, behind Playa Info, in the Center Camp keyhole and let us help you. We are open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm every day. Although our primary goal is to return as much stuff on playa as we can, post-playa we take all of the remaining items back to BM in San Francisco. There, a dedicated number of volunteers continue to reunite people with their lost stuff for the next five months. So, you can see that labeling your stuff is sooooooo important, to you and us.