I’ve been going to this little “thing in the desert” for going on twenty years now. As a man of many hats (white hat, grey hat, black hat) it only made sense that I’d put on a Black Rock Ranger hat, pick up a radio and a partner, and disappear into a sandstorm.
Who are the Black Rock Rangers?
The Black Rock Rangers are veteran burners who help participants and staff work through problems and make everyone’s Burn awesomer.
Rangers only assist the community when needed. Our ideal outcome is to have people solve their own problems with a gentle nudge in the right direction, and then fade into the background when we’re not needed.
What do Black Rock Rangers do?
Rangers are Burning Man’s “first response” team. We are out in the city, connecting with participants and keeping an eye out for situations that need attention. Things we do include:
- Providing information to participants and staff
- Helping new people “get” Burning Man culture
- Maintaining burn perimeters and doing crowd control
- Providing support for participants or staff members in psychological distress
- Mediating conflict between participants and between camps
- Supporting emergency services on medical and fire calls
- Identifying and mitigating safety hazards, including unsafe driving
- Providing support for sexual assault and domestic violence victims and their campmates
- Facilitating positive interactions between law enforcement and participants or staff
- Finding lost children
- Supporting Leave No Trace (LNT) compliance
- Being first on scene and calling in additional resources as needed for issues ranging from medical to hazmat spills, to found chickens – and more! You have a weird issue, we have a radio to help.
When do we get involved?
Rangers only intervene in a situation in two instances:
- When someone specifically asks for help, or…
- When someone’s behavior is impacting (or likely to impact) someone else’s experience.
We are emphatically not law enforcement or a paramilitary organization. We do not:
- Enforce rules, unless there’s an obvious safety-related reason to do so
- Protect property or art against theft or vandalism
- Act as lost and found (that’s Playa Info!)