If you’ve been through Gerlach in the last year, you may have noticed our favorite desert town has a little more hustle and bustle. The last stop on the journey between Reno and the Black Rock Desert, Gerlach has long been home to a handful of resident Burners who have grown to more than 30% of the town’s population.
Over the years, Burning Man Project has acquired several properties in and around Gerlach. These were historically used to support Black Rock City crews during event season (and still are). It took a pandemic year to muster the vision and human power to begin converting these properties into year-round hubs for bringing Burning Man culture into the world.
Enter Matthew ‘Chef’ Kwatinetz, Senior Director of Nevada Operations and Burning Man Project Board Member. Burning Man Live host Stuart Mangrum sat down with Chef to learn all about the past, present, and future of Burning Man in Gerlach.
Working with a team of devoted builders, community engineers and educators, Chef is taking the lead in rehabilitating and activating the various Gerlach properties owned by Burning Man Project. So much more than an infrastructure project, his team is busy upgrading Gerlach’s power and internet capabilities, helping Northern Nevada locals and Burning Man Project staff develop skills, opening up new employment opportunities, and visioning a maker space for Black Rock City creators.
Cover image: Chef gives a tour of the 360, Burning Man Project’s ranch outside Gerlach (Photo by John Curley)