Ranger Policies and Procedures

The Fine Print

All Black Rock Ranger Policies and procedures can be accessed from the home page of the Ranger Secret Clubhouse and are available for perusal by all current Rangers.

We’ve called out some key policies and procedures in this section:


  • All Black Rock Rangers and Prospective Rangers must attend an annual training session in order to Ranger on playa that year.
  • Prospective Rangers, Active Rangers who have Rangered on playa for less than two years, and Inactive and Retired Rangers need to take the full day of training.
  • Active Rangers who have Rangered on playa for 2+ years need to attend the afternoon portion of the training.

For more information about Ranger training, check out our Training page.

Ranger Status

Ranger “status” has implications for that individual’s annual training requirements, access to Ranger email lists, and whether the Ranger Department will reserve an individual’s handle. The Ranger Council reviews and updates the status for all Rangers after each event cycle (or as necessary). You can find a detailed Status Policy in the Policies and Procedures folder, but we wanted to call out a few key ones here:

  • Active: Has Rangered on playa within the past three events. Active binary Rangers (Rangered 0 or 1 years on playa) must take a full-day training each year. Active veteran Rangers (Rangered 2+ years on playa) may elect to attend only the afternoon portion of training.
  • Inactive: Has Rangered on playa within the last 5 events. Must attend a full day of training before returning to Rangering.
  • Retired: Has NOT Rangered in the last 5 events. Must attend a full day of training and pass a Cheetah shift before returning to Rangering. The handles of Retired Rangers are returned to the handle pool, unless the handle is vintage.

Vintage: Vintage is not a status (like Active, Inactive, Retired, etc.) but rather a designation given to a Ranger after displaying extended commitment and dedication to the Ranger department. A Vintage Ranger’s handle will be unavailable for use by others in perpetuity.

Any of the following qualify a Ranger’s handle for Vintage status:

  • Rangering at 10 events on playa
  • Serving on the Ranger Council for at least one year
  • Serving as a member of one or more Cadres for at least three years

In addition to the above automatic qualifications, the Ranger Council may designate a Ranger’s handle vintage at its discretion.

Active, Inactive, Retired, and other statuses apply to Rangers with vintage Rangers as they do to all Rangers.

Returning to the Rangers after an Extended Absence

The Rangers have implemented the Cheetah program to review Rangers who wish to return to active volunteering in the Black Rock Rangers, either after they have gone into inactive extension or retired status, or after a temporary disciplinary removal.

The Cheetah program is administered by the Mentor Cadre, functions much like Mentoring, and occurs during a regular dirt shift. A returning Ranger walks half the shift with one Cheetah and half with another.

At the conclusion of the shift, if both Cheetahs agree that the Ranger is good to go, the Ranger is returned to active status and can work shifts effective immediately. If the Cheetahs don’t agree, the returning Ranger will be unable to work in the Ranger Department that year, though they may check in with the Ranger Personnel Manager about trying again the next year.

Ranger Social Media Policy

As Rangers, we witness things during shift that are not meant for public consumption. We are expected to be discrete about them. This has always been a part of our ethos, due to the nature of our role in the community.

Part of our role is to act as rumor control, rather than churning the rumor mill. Even though we have information that others do not, we rarely have the entire story, and the story is often not ours to share.

Please do not post about things you encounter on shift that are not public knowledge, or about sensitive or privileged information to social media, or discuss them outside of the Rangers.  Please note that social media includes the Black Rock Ranger Facebook group.

Example categories of information that is public knowledge are:

  • Things that anyone walking down the street is able to see
  • Things publicly available on the internet or in the news

Example categories of privileged information are:

  • Information shared on an internal department email list that is not meant for general distribution
  • Something you witness because you have special access or proximity to the situation as a Ranger
  • Something that you got from the Ranger information systems (e.g., the Clubhouse or the IMS) that is not generally known
  • Other people’s personally identifying information

In addition, please be mindful of the fact that if people know you are a Ranger, they often have a tendency to equate that you are representing Burning Man, or the Ranger Department. Anything you say may carry more weight than the average participant. “News” or controversy can be manufactured simply by prefacing any bit of information or opinion with the phrase “Hubcap, a Black Rock Ranger commented…”

Many of us process our personal experiences by posting narratives to social media. This is an area where we as Rangers need to be particularly careful. It can often be hard to disconnect our personal experiences and feelings at an event we witnessed from privileged operational information. Please use caution before posting. If you need to process something that happened on shift and aren’t sure of the best way to do this, please reach out to a Shift Lead, OOD, Green Dot Lead, or the Ranger Personnel Manager. The Ranger Personnel Manager is available year-round at ranger-personnel@burningman.org. We’ll be happy to listen to your experience and help you through it.

Ranger Logo Usage Policy

Wearing the Black Rock Ranger logo (in general):

The Black Rock Ranger logo is a tool that signifies your affiliation with the Black Rock Rangers and allows you to dip into the pool of social capital that you and many who have gone before you created.

Because the logo signifies a set of expectations to the public, we expect that while wearing logoed gear you behave in a way that protects and enhances the pool of social capital the logo gives you access to (i.e., don’t be a chooch).

Wearing the Black Rock Ranger logo at events:

It is the policy of the Ranger Department that Black Rock Ranger logoed gear can only be worn during the Burning Man event and at year-round events that are officially affiliated with and sanctioned by the Burning Man organization.

Please don’t wear your logoed gear at unsanctioned events where you could be mistaken for someone acting in an official Black Rock Ranger capacity.

Communication Within the Rangers

Ranger New Volunteer Announce Email List

New-Volunteers-Announce is the list for prospective new Ranger volunteers. This is where we post information and reminders about all the things you need to do to complete your Ranger Application Process. This is also a discussion list where you can ask questions that will benefit the entire group.

Rangers Announce Email List

Rangers Announce is the place where you will get official updates, reminders, and information about stuff that’s happening in the Ranger Department.

Once information is sent to the Announce list, you are expected to know it, so it is important to stay subscribed to Announce throughout the year. Shiny Pennies are added to Announce in September, after the event.  

Most of the year, Announce is a relatively low volume list. The traffic picks up a little in September with post-event announcements, around April, as training season begins, and in the summer, as we start gearing up for the event.

Ranger Allcom Email List

Ranger Allcom is an optional list for Rangers who want to engage in year-round conversation about topics from “How do I Ranger that?” to “I need Rangers for [some Regional Event]” to “What’s the best way to cook bacon while in the nude?”

You can unsubscribe from and re-subscribe to this list any time, as long as you remain a Ranger in good standing. Please review the Allcom Protocols before subscribing to this list. Shiny pennies will receive an invitation to join Allcom in September.

Getting in touch with individuals and groups

Rangers can directly contact other Rangers through the Secret Clubhouse by using the Contact Ranger feature.

If you’d like to get in touch with a special team (in general) or an individual on a special team whose handle you can’t quite recall, a great way to reach them is to email the Cadre for that team. Contact info for the Cadres is listed in the Black Rock Ranger Organization section of this manual, as well as in the “How to Join Special Teams” document, linked from the home page of the Clubhouse.

If you have a question about a policy, or would like to talk to someone about changing something within the Ranger department, email the Ranger Council at ranger-council-list (at) burningman.org. To reach the Personnel Managers, email ranger-personnel (at) burningman.org.

Joining Ranger Special Teams

Interested in getting more involved with the Green Dots, Trainers, RNR, or any of our Ranger Special Teams? Check out the How to Join Ranger Special Teams document, linked from the front page of the Clubhouse.

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