Gate, Perimeter and Exodus (GPE) is one of the first departments to arrive on playa, and one of the last to leave. Operations begin in early August and run until mid-September, 24 hours a day. We work closely with nearly every other department on playa.
GPE’s primary function is to regulate the flow of traffic into and out of Black Rock City:
- Gate ensures that anyone entering the city has a valid ticket or credential.
- Perimeter patrols the closure zone to help those who wander outside the city limits, or intercept those attempting to sneak in.
- Exodus regulates the mass egress of 70,000+ participants leaving the Black Rock City in the same 72-hour period.
In support of these three functions, our teams have grown and refined their processes, creating one of the most intricate and interwoven departments in Black Rock City. Overall GPE has seven departments with additional operational groups or supporting functions. GPE staff and volunteers talk to and process 99% of Black Rock City’s 70,000+ participants, staff, artists, vendors and other cooperators.
Gate staff usher thousands of people from the blacktop to the playa. Some mistake us for Greeters, some refer to us as security, and to some we are those folks in black who search your cars and tear your tickets. It is mostly the latter, but we do so much more than that. The Gate itself is situated between one and three miles outside the city on Gate Road. There, several containers house our supplies and provide shelter, and the Apex kiosks between the lanes mark the beginning of Gate processing.
Gate procedures fulfill various stipulations of the BLM permit. Our top priority is to ensure each inhabitant of Black Rock City gets in safely and with the proper credentials (read: ticket in hand). We search vehicles for stowaways, potential MOOP-makers (Matter Out Of Place), firearms, fireworks, and dogs. We ensure all Mutant Vehicles entering are pre-registered with the DMV. We get the ice trucks, water trucks, and “poop pumpers” into the city as rapidly as possible. All this while making sure that traffic on the highway doesn’t back up.
Perimeter Scouts watch the city’s boundaries and ensure anyone entering or exiting the city uses the correct routes. Perimeter’s tasks include patrolling the fence line, intercepting those who attempt to gain unlawful entry into the city, and helping participants who wander outside the fence. Perimeter works with the Bureau of Land Management to monitor the 51,000-acre closure area around the event site.
Exodus supports Burning Man participants—starting at Greeters—as they make their way on Gate Road to pavement from Saturday Burn night through Tuesday post-event. We closely monitor traffic flow to ensure the process is running smoothly and fairly, and to maintain the stipulated number of vehicles that can be released per hour to County Route 34. Our Traffic Operations Center tracks egress traffic from Greeters to State Route 447, reporting any circumstances that might affect efficient traffic flow (accidents, breakdowns, wildfires, etc.) We operate the Gate Advisory Radio Station, or GARS, at 95.1 FM, providing regular updates on wait times and weather, and any extraordinary events that may delay traffic. Our Pulsing teams strategically hold and move traffic—saving fuel and keeping vehicles from overheating. And the last contact participants have as they hit the pavement are our Nevada-certified highway Flaggers, keeping the intersection safe and flowing for participants and other users of County Route 34.
Volunteer with Gate, Perimeter and Exodus
GPE is a dedicated and diverse group, and many of our core staff have worked for the department for years. We’re a tight bunch with a keen sense of camaraderie. The work can be physically grueling and mentally taxing. Dust storms don’t faze us–we can’t let them. We have a job to do. This is our Burning Man, and we love it.
We have many types of positions to suit people with different skills, interests, and abilities. There are, however, a few traits and skills that will serve you well in our department:
- A willingness to work hard, in rough conditions, and be part of the team
- Responsible, self-reliant, and maintain a sense of humor in challenging situations
- Patience, composure, and ability to roll with the sometimes rapidly-changing flow
- Good people skills and a desire to interact with everyone entering or leaving BRC
- And, of course, a readiness to have fun while doing all of this
We look for people to help us make a positive impact on everyone’s experience as they transition into and out of Black Rock City. We need volunteers 24 hours a day during event week, and a few days after for Exodus. Most shifts are six hours, and given we operate 24 hours a day that means we surely can find a shift that suits you best.
Volunteers must have attended the event at least once before they work with Gate and Perimeter. First-year Burning Man participants can volunteer with Exodus. You must also be able to take training before signing up for shifts. There is an online portion to the training that is available before the event, with a separate and mandatory hands-on training occurring on playa for new volunteers.
If you wish to join the Gate, Perimeter and Exodus crew, please indicate this on the Volunteer Questionnaire by checking the appropriate box. Our Volunteer Coordinator will email you with more information. Please note that by the beginning of August we make our way to the playa to set up the Gate (which means we may not be checking email) and other department operations, so if you want to volunteer with us for the current year, please fill out the questionnaire as far in advance as possible.
For other questions or comments, email email@example.com.