Tune Into the Latest Burning Man LIVE Episode: Building the Future in Gerlach

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)

About the author: Kirsten Weisenburger

Kirsten Weisenburger (aka Kbot) began her Burning Man journey in 2004 when she touched down in Black Rock City with a handful of disoriented Canadians. Since that early misadventure, she has shared in the wondrous emergence of Montreal’s Regional Burning Man community. A Black Rock Ranger and occasional theme camp organizer, Kirsten spends her summers bounding between Regionals in Eastern Canada and the Northeastern US. Her biggest adventure yet involves joining the Burning Man Project Communications team, where she identifies storytelling opportunities and co-creates the global nonprofit’s communication strategies.

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