Black Rock Rangers

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A Ranger helping out

Black Rock Rangers are participants who volunteer a portion of their time at Burning Man in service of the safety and well-being of the Burning Man community. Rangers act as non-confrontational community mediators, providers of reliable information, facilitators of public safety (with the expectation that everybody read the back of their ticket, of course!), and navigators of the edge of chaos.

Day or night, pairs of Rangers can be found walking and bicycling the streets of Black Rock City, engaging with the community, enjoying the art, and always ready to help sort things out.

Responsibilities

Among their many duties, Rangers:

  • Provide outreach and education to help Burners acculturate to Burning Man
  • Act as an information resource to the community
  • Respond to emergencies and help get the appropriate resources to the scene
  • Facilitates the reunification of lost children with their legal guardians
  • Help disoriented participants get back to their camp mates
  • Listen to participants who are having a particularly rough day
  • Facilitate problem solving, mediation, and conflict resolution (without telling people what to do)
  • Build rapport with fellow Burners as participants and integral members of the community
  • Ranger at a fire perimeter
  • BRR also run The Sanctuary (not to be confused with the art car of the same name)

Rangers come from all parts of the Burning Man community and share a common desire to ensure its continued well being.

History

Rangers traditionally protect life and natural environments. They patrol a range, by definition an expanse of land, and are members of one or more regional communities. Historically, Rangers were an alternative to local or federal law enforcement covering vast territories, e.g., the Texas Rangers, Arizona Rangers, etc. Rangers are the traditional guardians of our community.

In 1992, Danger Ranger founded the Black Rock Rangers to serve a search and rescue function in the Black Rock Desert. Before 1997, the Burning Man event did not have a perimeter fence and participants were stretched over vast areas of the playa; the Rangers were created to monitor and assist participants in the desert environment. With the dawn of the trash fence in 1997, this search and rescue function evolved to address life and safety issues within the perimeter of Black Rock City.

Since their formation, the Rangers have always seemed to go where needed; in 1998 the Rangers established what is now the Emergency Services Department (ESD), which later spun off as a separate department in 2003. They have been the starting point for a few other Departments in Black Rock City, including the Gate, Perimeter and Exodus teams.

Today, as the population of BRC grows larger and more diverse, the role of the Rangers as servants to the safety and well-being of the community becomes more critical than ever before. Truly, the Ranger role is an echo preserving the shared values of the Burning Man event within our ever-expanding and changing community.

Locations

Outside links