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American Redoubt

see American Redoubt firearms companies Mediawiki version: Big Sky Practical Shooting Club - Missoula, Montana

Bigfork Gun Club, Bigfork, MT (Grizzly Pistoleros) Bitterroot Blasters, Hamilton, MT Cutbank Sportsman Club, Cutbank, MT Gallatin Action Shooters, Bozeman, MT International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC) Magic City Action Shooters, Billings, MT National Shooting Sports Foundation Peters Custom (custom pistols, gunsmithing for practical shooters) Spokane Practical Pistol League, Spokane, WA Steel Challenge United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA) USPSA Area 1 WMFGA / Deer Creek Shooting Center

Select Local shooting club below for more information :

Gem County Speed Shooters (GCSS) - USPSA club Idaho Society of Practical Shooters - USPSA club Magic Valley Practical Shooters Association - USPSA club Powder River Practical Shooters - USPSA club South East Idaho Practical Shooters - USPSA club

Shooting Organizations

USPSA - United States Practical Shooting Association IPSC- International Practical Shooting Confederation ICORE- International Confederation of Revolver Enthusiasts SASS- Single Action Shooting Society IDPA- International Defensive Pistol Association Idaho & Surrounding Area Shooting Clubs

IdahoUSPSA - Idaho Section, USPSA web portal GCRGC - Gem County Rod & Gun Club - Emmett ISPS - Idaho Society of Practical Shooters - Nampa LPC - Lewiston Pistol Club PRNG - Parma Rod & Gun Club - Parma TBB - Twin Butte Bunch - Rexburg USC - Unified Sportsmans Club, Inc. - Rexburg GAS - Gallatin Action Shooters -Bozeman BSPSC - Big Sky Practical Shooting Club - Missoula MCAS - Magic City Action Shooters - Billings Utah Shooters - Utah Section, USPSA web portal JHGC - Jackson Hole Gun Club DGC - Dubois Gun Club NNRPA - Northern Nevada Rifle & Pistol Association - Elko.

Re·doubt: noun \ri-ˈdau̇t\ 1b : A defended position : Protective barrier 2: A secure retreat : STRONGHOLD)


see also Redoubt, Refuge, vote with your feet

Snippet from Wikipedia: American Redoubt

The American Redoubt is a political migration movement first proposed in 2011 by survivalist novelist and blogger James Wesley Rawles which designates three states in the northwestern United States (Idaho, Montana, Wyoming), and adjoining portions of two other states (eastern Oregon, and eastern Washington) as a safe haven for conservative, libertarian-leaning Christians and Jews. Rawles chose this area due to its low population density and lack of natural hazards.

It is difficult to measure how many people have been influenced by the proposal to move to these states; USA Today estimated that anywhere from "hundreds" to "a few thousand" people may have come, although some may have moved for reasons of general cultural affinity rather than being directly influenced by Rawles's proposal.

The American Redoubt movement is an conservative political migration initiative created by New York Times best-selling author James Wesley Rawles of The Survival Blog. The American Redoubt where citizens are encouraged to pull up stakes and to move to a more open and free state, a safe haven similar to a Galt's Gulch – to vote with their feet – in the Intermountain-West of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Eastern Oregon and Eastern Washington.

The American Redoubt concept was endorsed by former presidential candidate Rev. Chuck Baldwin, who had recently relocated his entire extended family to western Montana. It also soon inspired the launch of a weekly survival-preparedness podcast by Christian libertarian journalist John Jacob Schmidt, called Radio Free Redoubt<ref> accessed December 4, 2014</ref>, as well as a volunteer network of amateur radio operators called AmRRON (the American Redoubt Radio Operators Network) established in 2012.

The second podcast is by Alex Barron (, an African American Catholic redoubter, who founded the Charles Carroll Society podcast ( Alex is the self-proclaimed Bard of the American Redoubt who speaks from a Traditional Catholic, Constitutional Conservative, American Patriot viewpoint. Alex says, “Jim Rawles coined the term, but it is actually a simple concept, it is called political migration. There are many groups who have done this over the years; Protestants and other minority religious groups escaping the Catholic church in Europe (I guess that would actually be religious migration but you get the point), liberty-minded people escaping the Protestant King of England. Native Americans moving West to escape the European colonization (I guess forced ethnic cleansing, but again I hope you get the point). Americans of African descent escaping the South (racial migration?). Many, many groups move because of various reasons including political reasons. The American Redoubt is Christian and Jewish liberty-loving traditionalist politically migrating from militant progressive secular states.”.. – Blue states such as California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wisconsin, Washington DC and others.<ref> accessed December 4, 2014</ref>

People move to the American Redoubt from Nanny states such as the “Left Coast” and the East Coast. “The East Coast and West Coasts had the most liberal states including Vermont, Massachusetts, Delaware, New York, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Maine, California and New Jersey.” <ref> Accessed December 4, 2014</ref>

American Redoubt Relocation

Because of its low population density and diverse economy, Skousen<ref></ref>, James Wesley Rawles, Chuck Baldwin and Boston T. Party, <ref></ref> all recommend the Intermountain west (American Redoubt - Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Eastern Oregon, Eastern Washington, northern Utah) region of the United States, as a preferred region for relocation and setting up survival retreats.<ref> The American Redoubt – Move to the Mountain States</ref>

See Also



American Redoubt Idaho Montana Wyoming Oregon Washington Strategic Relocation Christians Conservatives Conservatism Libertarians Libertarianism Pro Second Amendment Survivalism Preparedness Glossary Anti-Communism Geography Pro Second Amendment Red States Western United States Regions of the Western United States Regions of the United States United States Geography United States of America Immigration

The American Redoubt is a strategic relocation movement first proposed in 2011 by best-selling survivalist novelist and blogger James Wesley Rawles<ref name=“latimes1”>


</ref> which designates three states in the northwestern United States (Idaho, Montana, Wyoming), and adjoining portions of two other states (eastern Oregon, and eastern Washington) as a safe haven for survivalists, conservatives, Christians and Jews.<ref name=“latimes1”/><ref>

</ref> Kim Murphy, a reporter for The Los Angeles Times summed up one motivation for the movement: “For a growing number of people, it's the designated point of retreat when the American economy hits the fan. When banks fail, the government declares martial law, the power grid goes down.”<ref name=“latimes1”/> The same article identified Rawles as “the guru of the movement.”<ref name=“latimes1”/>

Summarizing one of his reasons for formulating the relocation strategy, Rawles, who is outspokenly anti-racist<ref>

</ref><ref>How to Survive The End of the World as We Know It, Plume (Division of Penguin Books), New York, 2009, p. 13</ref> and pro-Israel<ref>

</ref> stated: “I'm often asked why I make such a 'big deal' about choosing conservative Christians, Messianic Jews, or Orthodox Jews for neighbors. The plain truth is that in a societal collapse there will be a veritable vacuum of law enforcement. In such times, with a few exceptions, it will only be the God-fearing that will continue to be law-abiding. Choose your neighborhood wisely.”<ref>


In an interview by G. Jeffrey MacDonald published by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Rawles was quoted as saying: “It’s time to distance ourselves from the vile corruptness that we see inside the Washington, D.C., Beltway… [The American Redoubt movement] is analogous to the Puritan exodus (from Europe). They couldn’t fit in and said, 'We’re going to move to completely virgin territory and start afresh.' … In effect, we’re becoming pistol-packing Amish.”<ref>

</ref> Rawles advocates a gradual demographic consolidation through political migration to the American Redoubt, but predicts that the federal government will “hammer” any states that attempt to secede under the current political order.<ref>

</ref> Rawles also stated: “People who recognize that they are of the [Christian] remnant, that they are God’s elect, will in increasing numbers choose to vote with their feet.”<ref>



The American Redoubt concept was endorsed by former presidential candidate Chuck Baldwin, who had recently relocated his entire extended family to western Montana.<ref>

</ref> It also soon inspired the launch of a weekly podcast by Christian Libertarian journalist John Jacob Schmidt, called Radio Free Redoubt,<ref>

</ref> as well as a volunteer network of amateur radio operators called AmRRON (the American Redoubt Radio Operators Network) established in 2012.<ref>


In February 2012, The Seattle Times characterized the American Redoubt movement as appealing to “a growing number of people” but, citing unnamed “analysts”, concluded that as of that time “not all that many so far” had actually moved to the area.<ref>

</ref> In April 2012, the business/arts columnist for The Ferry County View, a weekly newspaper in Republic, Washington (located inside the Redoubt region) was critical of the Redoubt movement, characterizing it as driven by fear.<ref>

</ref> By contrast, in October 2013, The 700 Club aired a news segment that favored the American Redoubt relocation concept. In an aside, the news story mentioned how the growth of the movement has even inspired the minting of silver coins.<ref name=“700 Club”>


See also


Cultural spheres of influence Geography of the Pacific Northwest Human geography Human migration Independence movements Northwestern Organizations established in 2011 Philosophical movements Political philosophy Political theories Politically motivated migrations Politics of the United States Regions of Oregon Regions of the Western United States Religion and politics Social movements Survivalism in the United States

Map of The American Redoubt.jpg

The American Redoubt movement is an initiative created by James Wesley Rawles of where citizens are encouraged to pull up stakes and to move to a more open and free state – to vote with their feet – in the Intermountain-West.

The American Redoubt refers to this strategic relocation movement first proposed in 2011 by best-selling survivalist novelist and survival blogger James Wesley Rawles which designates three states in the northwestern United States (Idaho, Montana, Wyoming), and adjoining portions of two other states (eastern Oregon, and eastern Washington) as a safe haven for survivalists, conservatives, Christians and Jews.<ref> accessed January 17, 2014</ref>

The American Redoubt concept was endorsed by former presidential candidate Rev. Chuck Baldwin, who had recently relocated his entire extended family to western Montana. It also soon inspired the launch of a weekly survival podcast by Christian Libertarian journalist John Jacob Schmidt, called Radio Free Redoubt (<ref> accessed January 17, 2014</ref>), as well as a volunteer network of amateur radio operators called AmRRON (the American Redoubt Radio Operators Network) established in 2012.

The second podcast is by Alex Barron (, an African American Catholic redoubter, who founded the Charles Carroll Society podcast ( Alex is the self-proclaimed Bard of the American Redoubt who speaks from a Traditional Catholic, Constitutional Conservative, American Patriot viewpoint. Alex says, “Jim Rawles coined the term, but it is actually a simple concept, it is called political migration. There are many groups who have done this over the years; Protestants and other minority religious groups escaping the Catholic church in Europe (I guess that would actually be religious migration but you get the point), liberty-minded people escaping the Protestant King of England. Native Americans moving West to escape the European colonization (I guess forced ethnic cleansing, but again I hope you get the point). Americans of African descent escaping the South (racial migration?). Many, many groups move because of various reasons including political reasons. The American Redoubt is Christian and Jewish liberty-loving traditionalist politically migrating from militant progressive secular states.” <ref> accessed January 17, 2014</ref>

Todd Savage founded Survival Retreat Consulting (<ref> accessed January 17, 2014</ref>) and American Redoubt Realty (<ref> accessed January 17, 2014</ref>) in response to the demand of citizens wanting to migrate from corrupt, statist, liberal-Democrat, high-crime Nanny States to low population density, extremely low-crime, limited government, libertarian, Constitution-loving, pro-Second-Amendment, patriotic, moral conservative, God-fearing, safe-haven refuge states.

See Also




External Links

Survival Retreat Locales

Real Estate Prices in the American Redoubt


“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.”

– Ronald Reagan

“This is where Americanism lives. And there's not room here for anything else”

– Violette Szabo (on-air thoughts about the American Redoubt)

American Redoubt Pledge

I solemnly pledge that I am able and willing to join the American Redoubt movement and/or Free State Wyoming movement and their effort to populate the American Redoubt, especially Wyoming (or Idaho, Montana, Eastern Oregon, Eastern Washington) with individuals of demonstrably ethical character who — forsaking fraud, theft and aggression — desire to peaceably co-exist as reasonable neighbors for the goals of political liberty, free trade, and voluntary cooperation.

By hereby joining the American Redoubt and/or Free State Wyoming, I solemnly pledge my best effort to legally establish bona fide voting Wyoming residency (preferably in Crook County, Wyoming, Weston County, Wyoming, or Hot Springs County, Wyoming) or alternately Idaho residency, Montana residency, Oregon residency, or Washington residency, no later than seven years from today.

Tri-Cities, Washington ©2006 James Wesley, Rawles

The American RedoubtMove to the Mountain States

Updated: March, 2013

Recognizing both the fact that “all politics are local”, and the international readership of SurvivalBlog, I naturally de-emphasize politics in my blog. However, a recent article got my blood boiling: Motorists illegally detained at Florida tolls - for using large bills! So, not only are Federal Reserve Notes not redeemable “on demand” for specie, but effectively they are now no longer “…legal tender for all debts public and private.” It is often hard to pinpoint a breaking point–the proverbial “straw that broke the camel's back”–as impetus for a paradigm shift, but reading that news article was that last straw for me. Consider my paradigm fully shifted. I'm now urging that folks Get Out of Dodge for political reasons–not just for the family preparedness issues that I've previously documented. There comes a time, after a chain of abuses when good men must take action. We've reached that point, folks!

Voting With Our Feet

I concur that Pastor Chuck Baldwin was right when he “voted with his feet” and moved his family from Florida to Montana. Like Chuck Baldwin I believe that is time for freedom-loving Christians to relocate to something analogous to “Galt's Gulch” on a grand scale.

In March 2011, Ol' Remus of The Woodpile Report quoted an essay by economist Giordano Bruno, titled The Return Of Precious Metals And Sound Money. In it, Bruno stated: “If there is anything good to come out of our present predicament, it is that Americans, from average citizens to elected officials, are beginning to understand the reality of coming collapse and are preempting it with measures designed to insulate their communities from the inevitable firestorm. Eventually, as this movement escalates, certain states will come out ahead of the pack, gaining a kind of “safe haven” status, and attracting liberty minded people from around the country to the protective shelter of their borders.”

Giordano Bruno identified a trend that has been developing informally for many years: A conscious retrenchment into safe haven states. I strongly recommend this amalgamation, and that it be formalized. I suggest calling it The American Redoubt. I further recommend Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, eastern Oregon, and eastern Washington for the réduit. Some might call it a conglomeration, but I like to call it an amalgamation, since that evokes silver. And it will be a Biblically-sound and Constitutionally-sound silver local currency that will give it unity.

On April 15, 2011, the first movie in the planned Atlas Shrugged trilogy was released. I predicted that this film would both re-energize the Tea Party movement in the U.S. and also spark serious discussion of establishing a real-life Galt's Gulch. (Or Gulches, plural.) I anticipate that this nascent movement, and the gulch itself will be a lot bigger than most other pundits anticipate. It could very well be a multi-state amalgamation like The American Redoubt, that I've advocated.

Why Not Some Adjoining States?

I'm sure that I'll get e-mail from folks, suggesting expanding the Redoubt concept to include Utah, the Dakotas, and Colorado. Let me preemptively state the following: Utah is a conservative state, but its desert climate makes it unsuitable to feed its current population, much less one swelled by in-migration. North and South Dakota have some promise, but I have my doubts about how defendable they would be if ever came down to fight. Plains and steppes are tanker country. It is no coincidence that the armies of the world usually choose plains for their maneuver areas, for large scale war games. Some might argue that I shouldn't have included eastern Oregon and eastern Washington. The population densities are suitably low, and the populace is overwhelmingly conservative, but the folks there are still at mercy of the more populous regions west of the Cascades, that dictate their state politics. But who is to say that their eastern counties won't someday separate to form new states, like West Virginia? This same factor is even more pronounced in rural Colorado. Just a few large cities call the political shots, and they have been assimilated by ex-Californians. For this reason I reluctantly took Colorado off the list.

To Clarify: Religious, Not Racial Lines

I'm sure that this brief essay will generate plenty of hate mail, and people will brand me as a religious separatist. So be it. I am a separatist, but on religious lines, not racial ones. I have made it abundantly clear throughout the course of my writings that I am an anti-racist. Christians of all races are welcome to be my neighbors. I also welcome Orthodox Jews and Messianic Jews, because we share the same moral framework. In calamitous times, with a few exceptions, it will only be the God fearing that will continue to be law abiding. Choose your locale wisely. I can also forthrightly state that I have more in common with Orthodox Jews and Messianic Jews than I do with atheist Libertarians. I'm a white guy, but I have much more in common with black Baptists or Chinese Lutherans than I do with white Buddhists or white New Age crystal channelers.

I also expect that my use of the term Redoubt will inspire someone to accuse me of some sort of neo-Nazism. Sorry, but I use the term in honor of Switzerland. When I chose the name I was thinking of the Schweizer Alpenfestung (aka Réduit Suisse), rather than any reference to the Nazi's “National Redoubt” scheme at the end of World War II. I am strongly anti-totalitarian, and that includes all of its forms, including Nazism and Communism.

I'm inviting people with the same outlook to move to the Redoubt States, to effect a demographic solidification. We're already a majority here. I'd just like to see an even stronger majority.

One important point: I do not, nor have I ever advocated asking anyone already living here to leave, nor would I deny anyone's right to move here, regardless of their faith, (or lack thereof).

Closing ranks with people of the same faith has been done for centuries. It is often called cloistering. While imperfect, cloistering got some Catholics in Ireland through the Dark Ages with their skins intact and some precious manuscripts intact. (It is noteworthy that other copies of the same manuscripts were burned, elsewhere in Europe.) Designating some States as a Redoubt is nothing more than a logical defensive reaction to an approaching threat.

Are You With Us?

Read my Precepts page. If you aren't in agreement with most of those precepts, then I don't recommend that you relocate to the Redoubt–you probably won't fit in.

Your Checklist

I suggest that you follow these guidelines, as you prepare and then move to the American Redoubt:

   Research geography, climate, and micro-climates very carefully.
   Develop a home-based business.
   Lighten the load. Keep the practical items but sell your junk and impractical items at a garage sale.
   Bring your guns.
   Sell your television.
   Sell your jewelry and fancy wristwatch. Buy a Stihl chainsaw instead.
   Choose your church home wisely, seeking sound doctrine, not "programs"
   Leave your Big City expectations behind. There probably won't be cell phone coverage, high speed Internet, or Pilates.
   Expect a long driving distances for work and shopping.
   Sell your bric-a-brac and collectibles. What is more important? A large collection of Hummel figurines, or having a lot of good hand tools and Mason jars?
   Switch to a practical wardrobe and "sensible shoes".
   After your buy your land, convert the rest of your Dollar-denominated wealth into practical tangibles.
   Begin homeschooling your children.
   Sell your sports car and buy a reliable crew cab pickup.
   Expect persecution and hardship. You will be despised for being true to your faith. (Just read 2 Timothy 3:1-12. and Matthew 5:10-14, and John 15:18-19.)
   Encourage your kids to XBox and Wii less and read more.
   Make a clean break by selling your house and any rental properties. You aren't coming back.
   If you buy an existing house, get one with an extra bedroom or two. Some relatives may be joining you, unexpectedly.
   Donate any older bulky furniture to the local charity store before you move.

After you move:

   Don't try to change things to be like the suburb that you left behind. You are escaping all that!
   Pitch in by joining the local Volunteer Fire Department (VFD), Ski Patrol, Sheriff's Posse, or EMT team.
   Be a good neighbor.
   Patronize the local farmer's market and craft shows.
   Respect the property rights and the traditions of your neighbors.
   Be active, politically, but use a pseudonym in letters to the editor an internet posts.
   Use VPN tunneling, RSA encryption, firewalls, and anonymous remailers.
   Support local businesses, and companies that are headquartered inside the Redoubt, not Wal-Mart.
   Encourage like-minded family and friends to join you.
   Stock up heavily on storage foods for lengthy power failures, or worse.
   Do your banking locally, preferably with a credit union and/or a farm credit union.
   Be active in local home school co-ops and service organizations.
   Find and visit your local second-hand stores. Watch for useful, practical items that don't need electricity.
   Conduct as much business as possible via barter or with precious metals.
   Gradually acquire a home library that includes self-sufficiency books and classic books--history, biographies, and novels.
   Join the local ham radio club. (Affiliated with the ARRL.)
   Expect to be the subject of gossip. Live a righteous life so there won't be much to gossip about.
   Loyally support your local church with tithes and support your local food bank.
   Get used to eating venison, elk, moose, antelope, trout, and salmon.
   Attend some farm auctions in your region to gather a good collection of useful hand tools and a treadle sewing machine.
   Attend gun shows in your state. (This keeps money circulating in the state and keeps you legal, for private gun purchases.)
   Choose your fights wisely. Don't tilt at windmills, but when you feel convicted, don't back down.

I am hopeful that it is in God's providential will to extend his covenantal blessings to the American Redoubt. And even if God has withdrawn his blessings from our nation as a whole, he will continue to provide for and to protect His remnant. Pray and meditate on Psalm 91, daily! Addenda (April, 2011): 33 Ways to Encourage Atlas to Shrug

Ayn Rand's 1957 novel “Atlas Shrugged” is enjoying renewed popularity following the release of the new Atlas Shrugged movie. Rand's story describes a group of American industrialists that lose patience with onerous regulation and taxation, and “shrug”–disappearing from their normal lives to relocate to a hidden valley called Galt's Gulch. While this tale is fictional, it has some strong parallels to modern-day America. And despite the fact that Ayn Rand was an atheist and favored legalized abortion, she was a good judge of both character and the inevitable tendencies of elected governments. When I consider the regulatory and tax burdens that have been implemented in my lifetime–I was born in 1960–I believe that Rand had amazing prescience. Let's face it: We no longer live in a free market capitalist nation. At best, it could called a “mixed” economy with statist tendencies, and verging on socialism.

Reading the news headlines in recent months has led me to believe that the Galt's Gulch concept has a lot of merit. If The Powers That Be wanted to encourage the Atlases of the world to shrug, they couldn't have done a better job. What is the best way to get the most productive Citizens of our nation to go on strike, and retreat to “gulches”? Consider the following “to do” list for those whom Ayn Rand called “The Destroyers”:

   Remove the homeowner's mortgage interest tax deduction. Yes, they're pushing for it.
   Reinstate the Federal estate tax and pre-Bush Administration income tax levels. They want to impose the old tax rates on anyone with an income of $250,000. Oh, and the CBO's budget predictions are all using the assumption that the 2001 tax cuts are reverted. Is this wishful thinking (to make the increases in the Federal debt not look quite so bad), or a fait accompli?
   Nationalize IRAs and 401(k)s. Yes, its under discussion.
   Increase taxes for unemployment-insurance funds. This is already in progress.
   Drag out approval of new mining operations with endless Environmental Impact studies. They're already doing it.
   Inflate the currency to rob those who save money--a hidden form of taxation. Standard practice for 40 years.
   Drag out approval of newly-developed medicines. Now the status quo.
   Push up the rates for "sin" taxes on tobacco, alcohol, and other items. Already implemented in 2010.
   Increase the Minimum Wage. Several states have done so, but even worse yet, some unions are pushing for more socialist "Living Wage" laws
   Raise import tariffs. Each new tariff causes problems. Didn't they ever hear Ben Stein's high school Economics lecture on the Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act? (OBTW, Ben Stein is now warning about an economic collapse.)
   Increase the tax paperwork burden by requiring "1099-MISC" reporting of all cash transactions over $600. (Attempted, but thankfully set aside for the time being.)
   Increase the cost of doing business through mandatory insurance. (The "labor burden" for an employee with a nominal salary of $17 per hour ($35,360 gross, annually) is an additional $20,029 per year.) Workman's compensation, in particular, is getting painfully expensive.
   Increase sales taxes. Several states have increased sales taxes, since 2009.
   Increase property taxes, as home values decline. Many counties have hiked their tax rates.
   Continue to increase the size of the government (and its debts). The Federal debt increases are looking inexorable.
   Push for increased mandatory employer-paid benefits for company employees like mandatory health insurance for part-time employees and European-style long term parental leave. Also, push toward excluding companies from government contracts unless they have expanded health care coverage.
   Mandate payment of state sales taxes on out-of-state purchases for Internet and mail orders. Yes, they're still pushing for these taxes, and for regulation of the entire Internet.
   Create a pervasive Nanny State mentality. For example: penalize companies and consumers for high trans-fat foods, and alcoholic beverages that taste too good.
   Sue the makers of guns that actually work just as they were designed. (At least a partial law shield law was enacted, in 2005.)
   Use taxpayer funds to destroy classic cars that are in running condition, while subsidizing hybrid cars that use batteries that will pollute landfills for centuries.
   Over-regulate small firms out of business. Dry cleaners are a prime example.
   Fine farmers and ranchers for using traditional practices.
   Create a European-style Value Added Tax (VAT). Yes, they're still pushing for it.
   Legislate expansion of company-paid health insurance to cover everything from same sex "domestic partners" and autism to sex change operations.
   Lobby for mandating that companies pay for three weeks of paid vacation per year for all employees.
   Institute dozens of unfunded mandates from the Federal level, that must be compensated for with higher state, county, and local taxes.
   Increase license, permit, and vehicle registration fees. In progress. Meanwhile, institute "temporary" tax increases. These surtaxes on income, sales, or real property are described as "temporary." (But don't be surprised if they are not repealed.)
   Providing free education to illegal immigrants while levying taxes on home schooling families for services that they don't use.
   Make it illegal for owners to protect their livestock from predators.
   Remove the salary cap on Social Security tax "contributions". The liberal think tanks are pushing for it.
   Encourage a litigious society where huge lawsuits are filed over trifles, and where the makers of products can be sued even if product buyers intentionally misuse products.
   Implement carbon taxes and credits. Still in early stages of implementation.
   And lastly, the big one: Implement socialized medicine. Despite a strong public outcry, it is now Federal law. But thankfully there is a push to rescind part or all of it.

The shrugging and gulching has already begun…

   Because many states define "small business" as a company with less than 50 employees, some business owners have frozen their employee headcount at 49, to avoid onerous costs.
   Companies are now consciously relocating from high tax states to low tax states.
   Wyoming has neither a personal income taxes nor corporate income taxes, so some wise individuals are moving there, or at least incorporating there.
   Millions of Americans are moving offshore and some have even renouncing their citizenship, in part to avoid high taxation. (It's not just Mel Gibson buying property offshore.)
   There is a Walter Mitty-esque interest in living on "Seasteads" outside of any national boundaries. Although it probably impractical at present, the concept is nonetheless captivating.
   Glenn Beck recently mentioned an article about restaurateur Jerry Della Femina selling his business and parking the proceeds in gold and silver. He was quoted as saying: "I'm just not ready to have my wealth redistributed. I'm not ready to pay more tax money than the next guy because I provide jobs and because I work a 60-hour week and I earn more than $250,000 a year."
   One recent headline: 69 Companies Leave California in First Quarter: Fastest Rate Ever.
   [Update, July 2011:] Alabama coal mine owner Ronnie Bryant became so exasperated by over-regulation that he declared: I'm quitting."

Many folks are now ready to vote with their feet. Atlas is starting to shrug. Addenda (May, 2011, with several updates in 2012): Finding a Prepper-Friendly Church

Many readers of SurvivalBlog are Christians. For us, the search for a desirable “vote with your feet” relocation locale includes a very important criteria: finding a good church home. I am of the opinion that finding a good church home is our Christian duty, and that it honors God. It is also an important factor in finding acceptance in a new community. By joining a church congregation that shares your world view, you can very quickly become part of a community, rather than being perceived as just “that new guy”. In many locales, this shortens the time required for a high level of acceptance and inclusion as a part of “the we”, by years.

In my experience in the western United States, Reformed churches tend to have a very high percentage of families that are both preppers and homeschoolers.

When I put forth my American Redoubt plan, a key aspect was that it would be primarily geared toward fellow Christians, Messianic Jews, and conservative Jews.

Here is a list of my own criteria, for you to consider, perhaps as your baseline. (Note: I come from a Reformed Baptist background, so your criteria may differ):

   Reliance upon and belief in the literal truth of the 66 books of the Old and New Testament as the Inspired Word of God.
   Sound doctrine, with Christ as the cornerstone, and preferably in accord with the Five Solas and the Five Points of Calvinism. (Or at least four of them.)
   A strong emphasis on the Gospel of Christ.
   Some interest in family preparedness. (Not a necessity, but a nice plus.)
   A commitment to Christian Charity.
   An " the World but not of the World" outlook.
   Biblical evangelism--the pastor, elders, and congregation all take The Great Commission literally. (Avoid churches with any racism or anti-Semitism.)
   Expository preaching. (Systematic exposition of scripture.)
   An emphasis on teaching and memorizing God's word with exhortation rather than "programs".
   A congregation where a substantial portion of the body home schools their children. (Not a necessity, but a nice plus.)
   Congregants with a conservative outlook, modest dress, humble attitudes, and avoidance of worldly trappings.
   An edifying church that gives glory to God.

Reformed Churches in The American Redoubt States:

My initial list has about 25 Reformed churches that I've either attended or that have been recommended to me.

Note: The pastors of these churches will undoubtedly soon hear about the mention of their churches. I'd appreciate them sending me an e-mail mentioning whether or not they agree with the Redoubt concept, and with their recommendations for similar churches inside the five Redoubt States. Thanks!


   Columbia Bible Church, Meridian (An anonymous congregant wrote: "Columbia Bible Church is definitely Reformed Baptist in outlook, strong on families, home-schooling, and business minded, as well as many who are preparing. The church's emphasis is the spread of the Gospel, by word and actions, so any "prep" outlook is based upon developing a comprehensive Christian worldview. Some of us help in that direction.")
   Twin Falls Reformed Church, Twin Falls
   New Geneva Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Idaho Falls
   The Well, Boise
   United Reformed Church of Nampa, Nampa
   Port Cities Reformed Baptist Church, Lewiston
   Christian Reformed Church, Grangeville
   Calvary Independent Baptist Church, Post Falls
   Post Falls Prebyterian Church, Post Falls
   Highlands Reformed Church, Coeur d'Alene
   Victory Baptist Church, Sagle
   Grace Sandpoint Church, Sandpoint
   Bonners Remnant Church, Bonners Ferry (Saturday Sabbath congregational church)


   Christ Covenant Reformed Church, Billings
   Bozeman Christian Reformed Church, Bozeman
   Grace Bible Church, Bozeman
   Old Paths Strict Baptist Church, Choteau
   Beaverhead Baptist Church, Dillon
   Westside Baptist Church, Great Falls
   Liberty Fellowship, Kalispell (Pastor Chuck Baldwin agrees with the Redoubt concept.)
   Grace Baptist Church, Missoula
   Fellowship Baptist Church, Sidney
   Three Lakes Community Bible Church, Troy
   Wolf Creek Baptist Church, Wolf Creek
   Yaak Community Church, Yaak

Eastern Oregon

   Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church, Bend
   Living Water, La Pine
   Grace Bible Church, La Grande
   Berean Baptist Temple, Pendleton

Eastern Washington

   Grace Reformed Church, Clarkston
   Trinity Reformed Church, Pullman
   Emmanuel Church (OPC), Colville
   Covenant Of Grace Protestant Reformed, Spokane
   Covenant Presbyterian Church (PCA), Walla Walla


   Laramie Reformed Presbyterian Church, Laramie
   Sovereign Grace Church Casper
   Trinity Bible Church, Powell
   Covenant Presbyterian Church (PCA), Lander
   Providence Reformed Church, Rock Springs

Orthodox Jewish Synagogues and Congregations in The American Redoubt States:

Try to find a truly conservative congregation. The word “conservative” (shamrani) has different meanings to different Jewish people! (Political conservatism is not always synonymous with religious conservatism and a traditional moral code.)

SurvivalBlog reader Yorrie in Pennsyvania mentioned in a recent e-mail that conservative Jewish preppers should seek out congregations that are: “…Torah knowledgeable and observant = Orthodox religiously or similar. Which usually overlaps with conservative politically. The more traditional end of the Conservative Jewish movement did not accept the liberal swing [that began in the 1950s] and is called Traditional, Conservadox (Halfway between Conservative and Orthodox), or sometimes Masorti (Hebrew for Traditional). There are Orthodox and Traditional Jews in Flathead County, Montana, and more formal congregations of the Chabad movement (a Torah Judaism movement with roots over 300 or more appropriately over 3,000 years).

Chabad congregations in the Redoubt area are in Bozeman, Montana [The Shul of Bozeman], Jackson, Wyoming, [Chabad-Lubavitch] and elsewhere in most major cities around the world.”

Messianic Jewish Congregations in The American Redoubt States:

Many of these congregations tend to be small “home churches”. Make inquiries, locally.

Here is just one example of what you will find, in eastern Washington:

Kehilat HaMashiach 13506 E. Broadway Ave Spokane Valley , Washington 99216 509-465-9523 (Phone) / 509-465-0451 (FAX) Rabbi David D'Auria


I'm sure that the foregoing will inspire a lot of correspondence. I don't have plans to create a nationwide directory of prepper-friendly churches and congregations. (That would go beyond the scope of my project.) But I would appreciate your feedback on any of the churches and congregations listed.

I would also appreciate recommendations on specific Jewish and Messianic Jewish congregations inside of the Redoubt region. Addenda (June, 2011): The Yellowstone “Super Volcano”

I'm often asked about the Yellowstone supervolcano caldera. There have been plenty of sensationalistic news reports that have exaggerated the risk. More realistically, volcanologists tell us: “It could still be tens of thousands of years before the next eruption”. And, the “rapid uplift” that was widely reported in 2004 in 2005 has slowed, significantly.

Because of the prevailing winds, the anticipated volcanic ash fall is actually more of threat to eastern Montana, eastern Wyoming, the Dakotas and the Plains states than it its to anywhere west of Yellowstone. If you consider it a threat in the next few generations, then simply buy property that is at least 100 miles UPWIND of Yellowstone. If there ever is an eruption, anyone in northern Idaho or Northwestern Montana will only get ash fall that first circles the globe. It it will be people the Plains states that would get buried by several feet of ash.

As a bonus, locating UPWIND of Yellowstone will also put you upwind of Montana's missile fields. It is noteworthy that Malmstrom AFB (which BTW is a locale in the second sequel to my novel “Patriots”) has dozens of strategic nuclear targets. If we are ever engaged in “nuclear combat toe to toe with the Rooskies”, each silo could be targeted for a nuclear ground burst. (It is ground bursts rather than air bursts that create significant fallout.) Again, I wouldn't want to live downwind.

And as a further bonus, the climate is also much more livable west of the Great Divide. East of the Great Divide, the winters can be bitterly cold, but west of the Great Divide it is more mild.

But also consider: U.S. Game Changing Renewable - Geothermal Power. Note that the preponderance of the nation's geothermal potential is in the Rocky Mountain States and the Intermountain West. The Redoubt just keeps looking better….

James Wesley, Rawles

About the Author: James Wesley, Rawles is a former U.S. Army Intelligence officer and a noted author and lecturer on survival and preparedness topics. He is the author of the best-selling nonfiction book “How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It” and the novel “Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse” He is also the editor of–the popular daily web journal for prepared individuals living in uncertain times.

Copyright 2011-2013. All Rights Reserved by James Wesley, Rawles -™ Permission to reprint, repost or forward this article in full is granted, but only if it is not edited or excerpted. A directory of listing agents, agencies, and property owners specializing in survival retreats. What is a Retreat? Most people interested in buying a property for a retreat are looking for some combination of:

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   The ability to defend the retreat, in the case of a total collapse, in which crime becomes rampant.
   Potential for solar, wind, or microhydro power.

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Copyright 2008. All Rights Reserved by Jonathan Edwards, Rawles - www.SurvivalRealty.comPowered by Movable Type Personal ©2006 James Wesley, Rawles Recommended Retreat Areas

This page is divided into three sections: Criteria for Choosing a Retreat Locale in the Continental United States (CONUS) State Level Data and Rankings Very special thanks to “Wise Tioga”, who out of the goodness of his heart laboriously converted my data on 19 western states into a handy Excel (.xls format) spreadsheet. Detailed Retreat Locale Data Note: The contents of this web page are brief draft excerpts from the much larger and more detailed hard copy book “Rawles on Retreats and Relocation”, available from Cafe Press.

(Click for high-resolution maps.) Criteria for Choosing a Retreat Locale in the Continental United States (CONUS)

When doing radio interviews or when giving lectures, I'm often asked where the “perfect” place is for a survival retreat. The short answer is: There is none. Granted, there are a lot of places that are much better than others, but there is no single “one size fits all” perfect place. Like buying a pair of boots, the decision has as much to do with the size and shape of the foot as it does the maker of the boots. Everyone has their personal needs and expectations, as well as their own ideas of how a retreat should be configured. (See my Profiles page for many examples that show this diversity.) Some people prefer dry climates while others can't stand them. Some folks like the feeling of privacy provided by a wall of trees where others would feel claustrophobic. Some need the stimulation of exposure to the arts, while others could care less. And some have good health, while others need to live close to medical specialists.

Even more importantly, before deciding where you might move, you have to weigh the Risks and Benefits of moving at all. From an actuarial standpoint, you might have nearly as good a chance of living to a ripe old age if you stay in the suburbs. It all depends on your personal “worst case scenario”. If your envisioned worst case is an economic depression similar to that of the 1930s–with a relatively intact infrastructure–then you might conclude that there is no need to relocate. (You can just “stock up” and stay put where you are.) But if your worst case is a full scale whammy–such as a terrorism campaign that levels cities and/or causes a long term grid-down societal collapse, then you will probably want to move to a remote, lightly populated farming region with plentiful water. I'm not in the business of making scenario-based decisions for people. Those decisions are up to you, as an individual. Once you decide that you definitely want to move, then, yes, I certainly have some good suggestions on potential locales for you.

As a Christian, I believe that any major decision should be preceded by prayer. Seek God's providence for your life. You can only do that if you have repented of you sin and have begun a Christian walk. In deference to the nature of this forum and the wide range of views held by my readers, I won't go into great detail about this. But you know where I stand.

Deciding exactly where to relocate is not an exact science. You can gauge the potential threat and plan accordingly. But you can never be sure what will happen and where you will truly be safe. But you can sleep well, knowing that at least your percentage chances will be higher if you make the move.

There is an apocryphal story about a man who was living in Virginia in the late 1850s. He could see the U.S. Civil War brewing, and he wanted no part of it. He realized that his native Virginia was likely to be heavily contested territory, so he set about finding the safest place possible where he could shelter his family during the coming war. After much searching and deliberation he finally found a peaceful place that was far, far away from where the anticipated the battles would occur. He moved his family up to Pennsylvania–a little farming town called Gettysburg.

Basic Criteria Once you have selected a potential region to concentrate on, select an experienced local real estate agent. Odds are that you won’t be able to find one that specializes in retreat properties. So it may take a while and a few false starts before your agent starts showing you the right type of properties. The following is a basic criteria list that you can give a real estate agent. (Tailor to suit your particular needs):

   Plentiful water--preferably spring fed or an artesian well. (Pumped well water would be an inferior second choice.)
   Good exposure for gardening and photovoltaics.
   Not on a flood plain and in aregion with minimal natural disaster risks. (See this map: Where to Live to Avoid a Natural Disaster.)
   Southern exposure (for those reader in the northern hemisphere, naturlich)--particularly important at higher elevations
   "Panoramic views.” This usually means a hilltop location with open fields of fire and defendable terrain. The concept of holding high ground goes back to pre-history. Yes, I know, that this is mutually exclusive with the concept of having a house that is not in line of sight of any major road. TANSTAAFL. Decide on one or the other. But don't buy a place that has neither attribute.
   A diverse and healthy local economy. (See the City Data web site to do your reserch on demographic information.)
   Minimal noxious weeds. (Russian Thistle, Teasel, Russian Knapweed, Yellow Star Thistle, etc.)
   Not in the path of real estate developers. Look at where suburban developments have been established in the county. Suburban tracts tend to follow a “line of march” in certain directions—especially where there is level terrain. Note that in most regions row crop farmland and orchard land is at the greatest risk because it is easy to subdivide. Put on your thinking cap and do some extrapolation. If your intended area is in the path of the sprawl within 10 to 15 years then start looking in a different direction in less advantageous terrain, or a little further out of town.
   If it has an existing house, a house with fireproof/ballistically-protected (e.g. masonry) construction. Note: If it is also in an earthquake prone area, you might weigh the odds in this regard and opt instead for more earthquake safe timber-frame construction.
   Low housing costs. As discussed in detail in some of my previous blog posts, don’t overlook examining as many factors as possible including home and car insurance rates, property taxes, and so forth. This useful Internet tool compares cost of living in two cities.
   An active, growing farmer's market. I have found directories of Farmer's Markets posted on the web for Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming. The presence of farmer's markets is a good indicator for towns with retreat potential. Furthermore, in a post-collapse America, itr will likely be the farmer's markets that will be the genesis of a revived economy.
   Not near any nuclear power plants.

My personal preference is to select a retreat in a mixed farming/ranching/timber region in low-humidity area of one of the American Redoubt states. I generally discourage folks from living in coastal regions for health reasons, risk of tidal waves or hurricanes, oil tanker mishaps, visits by foreign terrorists, and the outside chance of dramatically rising or falling sea levels in the event of a climate shift. I also discourage relocating to anywhere within 150 miles of the Mexican border. (Note: I'm not a racist–just a realist. The crime rate is higher near the border, and in the event of civil war in Mexico or any number of variations on TEOTWAWKI there could be a huge influx of illegal immigrants.) State Level Data and Rankings

The following data (also available in an Excel spreadsheet) describes 19 western states. After much consideration, all of the eastern states were intentionally excluded from this analysis because they are all either downwind of nuclear targets and/or are in areas with excessive population density. (See my post on population density, back on August 5, 2005.) This wasn't just the result of subjective bias. I try to use the dispassionate mindset of an actuarial accountant.

Take a look at this population density map of the US, Mexico, and Canada. Sometimes a picture truly does tell a thousand words. And on a global scale, The Human Footprint Composite Map hosted by NASA's web site is similarly enlightening.

SurvivalBlog reader C.D.V. kindly sent me a map of the most rural counties in the U.S., compiled by Purdue University. By the way, you can right-click → zoom. Do you notice a correlation with my designated American Redoubt states? Interesting. (And BTW, here is the source page and there is an accompanying Rural-Metropolitan Levels map, and here is the key for the second map. And it is interesting to correlate that data with the Frontier designation of some counties.

Also consider the relative grid power independence and stability various regions. The Pacific northwest is perhaps the best, because it is a producer of abundant hydroelectric power. For starters, take at look at these maps: Visualizing The U.S. Electric Grid. Note that these are interactive map page. Be sure to click on all of the tabs and pull-down menu options!

You will also note that I don't write a lot about overseas locations with retreat potential. That is outside of my area of expertise. I would appreciate hearing from folks who have viable retreats in other countries. I will gladly post your letters to the blog. (Anonymously, of course.)

Look West of the Missouri River

As evidenced by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, population density is perhaps the most crucial factor to consider when selecting a safe haven. The big cities on the Gulf Coast became hell holes, whereas the small towns got by fairly well. I know that this will cause acrimony with a lot of my readers who live east of the Missouri River, but the plain truth is the East has too much population! The northeast is also downwind of some major nuclear targets. Unless you are among the uber-rich and can afford to buy an elaborate fully hardened bunker with HEPA filtration deep in the Smoky or Appalachian Mountains with a five year food supply, then I firmly believe that you will be safer west of the Missouri River. That is just my opinion, so your mileage may vary (YMMV). However, before you write me a tirade about how wrong I am and how safe you'll be in upstate New York, please re-read my August 5th through August 10th, 2005 posts in the early SurvivalBlog Archives. Also, take a long hard look at the “Lights of the U.S.” photo maps at: A picture tells a thousand words.

When thinking about where you’d prefer to buy your retreat and/or retirement home don’t just look at climate. Look at all the factors. Depending on your age and interest in true independence from “the system” you might also consider factors like home schooling laws and home birth laws.

Here is my overall Retreat Potential ranking of 19 western states, which I will explain in detail:

1 Idaho 2 Montana 3 Oregon 4 Washington 5 Wyoming 6 Utah 7 South Dakota 8 North Dakota 9 Arizona 10 Colorado 11 Nebraska 12 Kansas 13 Texas 14 Nevada 15 New Mexico 16 Arkansas 17 Oklahoma 18 Louisiana 19 California

As a point of reference, here is an excerpt from Boston T. Party's Gun Law ranking (for the 19 states on my list), from Boston's excellent book Boston's Gun Bible.

1 Idaho 2 Louisiana 3 Wyoming 4 Montana 5 Arizona 6 New Mexico 7 Texas 8 Oklahoma 9 Nevada 10 Utah 11 Colorado 12 South Dakota 13 Kansas 14 Arkansas 15 Oregon 16 Nebraska 17 North Dakota 18 Washington 19 California

And as yet another point of reference, here are the same 19 states, ranked by the length of their growing season (in the warmest part of each state):

1 Arizona 2 Texas 3 Louisiana 4 California 5 Nevada 6 Oregon 7 Washington 8 Idaho 9 Utah 10 Kansas 11 Arkansas 12 New Mexico 13 Oklahoma 14 Colorado 15 Wyoming 16 Montana 17 Nebraska 18 South Dakota 19 North Dakota

For comparison, consider the population density of the 50 States, versus available farm land, in the following table kindly supplied by SurvivalBlog reader Dr. Hugh: State



Sq. KMs of Farmland


Pop. per Sq. KM

of Farmland WY 498,703 13,366 37 MT 909,453 21,903 42 ND 634,110 15,220 42 SD 761,063 16,997 45 NE 1,729,180 17,924 96 NM 1,855,059 16,997 109 KS 2,715,884 18,311 148 IA 2,936,760 12,593 233 OK 3,493,714 13,134 266 ID 1,341,131 4,597 292 CO 4,506,542 12,091 373 TX 21,779,893 50,606 430 MN 5,019,720 10,971 458 AR 2,710,079 5,640 481 MO 5,672,579 11,512 493 UT 2,316,256 4,481 517 OR 3,521,515 6,644 530 AZ 5,456,453 10,237 533 MS 2,871,782 4,249 676 KY 4,092,891 5,254 779 NV 2,173,491 2,627 827 WI 5,441,196 6,142 886 WA 6,068,996 6,065 1,001 IN 6,159,058 5,949 1,035 IL 12,600,620 10,701 1,178 VT 616,592 518 1,191 TN 5,797,289 4,520 1,283 WV 1,801,873 1,391 1,296 AL 4,486,508 3,438 1,305 LA 4,482,646 3,110 1,441 AK 643,786 355 1,811 OH 11,421,267 5,679 2,011 GA 8,560,310 4,249 2,015 VA 7,293,542 3,361 2,170 SC 4,107,183 1,854 2,215 HI 1,244,898 556 2,238 NC 8,320,146 3,515 2,367 MI 10,050,446 4,018 2,502 ME 1,294,464 487 2,659 CA 35,116,033 10,701 3,282 DE 807,385 216 3,732 PA 12,335,091 2,975 4,147 FL 16,713,149 3,940 4,242 NY 19,157,532 2,936 6,525 MD 5,458,137 811 6,728 NH 1,275,056 158 8,050 CT 3,460,503 139 24,883 MA 6,427,801 216 29,713 RI 1,069,725 23 46,509

The preceding is based on land in current farm production and the cited “245 people per square kilometer” is a worst case average. As was pointed out in some of the follow-up letters, if you have an area with higher yields per acre, such as rice producing regions, this figure can increase, but it should give us an idea of how bad the dislocations are going to be in a societal collapse.

Important Note: Dr. Hugh took out grazing lands, CRP lands, etc. and only had square kilometers of land under actual cultivation. This is based on a USDA estimate since exact figures are not kept except on a county by county level. This is why the “final” number is square kilometers is much less than it would appear to be on the surface.

For example a piece of land Dr. Hugh is looking at – 160 acres – only has 10 acres under active cultivation. The rest of the section is either open range grazing land or CRP land.

He ruled out the original colonies and adjacent areas. (Those have the figures shaded light red.) He ruled out the states west of the Mississippi River but with population densities that are far too high for sustainable agriculture. (Those are shaded dark red.)

He evaluated the states west of the Mississippi that are adjacent to “basket case” states with high population densities, and shaded them yellow.

This leaves us with a list of only 11 states (shaded in green) that would make a good retreat/relocation area, so long as you choose wisely within the state itself.

For example, Dr. Hugh rates Wyoming high on his list, but if limit your criteria to only areas that are in the milder climate zone west of the Great Divide, then that leaves only parts of the western third of Wyoming. Similarly, he rates Montana highly, but if limit your criteria to only areas upwind of nuclear targets and that are in the milder climate zone west of the Great Divide, then that leaves only northwest corner of Montana. He also discounts Oregon and Washington, but the eastern halves of both of those states are very lightly populated.

Dr. Hugh's short list is then: State



Sq. KMs of Farmland


Pop. per Sq. KM

of Farmland



Dr. Hugh's


Rank MT 909,453 21,903 42 2 1 WY 498,703 13,366 37 5 2 ID 1,341,131 4,597 292 1 3 SD 761,063 16,997 45 7 4 ND 634,110 15,220 42 8 5 NE 1,729,180 17,924 96 11 6 NM 1,855,059 16,977 109 15 7 KS 2,715,884 18,311 148 12 8 CO 4,506,542 12,091 373 10 9 OK 3,493,714 13,134 266 17 10 TX 21,779,893 50,606 430 13 11

Why not Alaska? A year ago, I heard one “expert” on the radio recommend Alaska as a retreat destination because it has the lowest population density of any State, and has low taxes. IMHO, he couldn’t be more wrong! The biggest problem is that from an economic standpoint, Alaska is essentially a big offshore island. Many essential items are shipped or flown in. What happens when the ships and planes stop arriving? It won’t be pretty–at least not in Alaska's cities. (Ironically, although it is the most lightly populated state, Alaska has the second highest crime rate in the country!) Coastal Alaska is also earthquake prone. Further, you may think that because of the North Slope oil that the state will have plentiful fuel. Bzzzzzt! Wrong answer! There is insufficient refinery capacity of meet Alaska’s “domestic” needs, and insufficient transport to get refined fuels where they are needed. (Current transport is geared to distributing fuel and lubricants brought in from the Lower 48–not locally produced fuel and lubricants.) So the little fuel left in Alaska post-TEOTWAWKI will be jealously guarded–doubtless saved for critical tasks like running farm tractors and chain saws. So there will be virtually none available for fishing boats or between-town commerce.

In a long term collapse, the residents of Alaska's densely populated coastal cities will likely starve and/or freeze to death. Meanwhile, those in inland towns, albeit better fed, will be geographically isolated so that commerce with the coast will be difficult if not impossible. Bush pilots will eventually be grounded due to lack of fuel, lubricants and spare parts. The only people I foresee surviving are a few seasoned Sourdoughs and native tribe members that still have well-honed outdoor survival skills and are still capable of reverting to a self-sufficient mode. The best set up for this would be a small settlement on a clear water (non-glacial) stream with an active salmon run and a couple of productive “fish wheel” salmon traps.

Another consideration is that the Alaska Pipeline is vulnerable if the power grid goes down. As of 2007, grid power is needed for the four giant electric pumps used to pressurize the oil pipeline. These replaced the pipeline's original diesel-powered pumps.

My prediction: In the event of TEOTWAWKI, the Al-Can highway will have heavy traffic with heavily-laden pickup trucks carrying beau coup gas cans, going in both directions: Greenhorns from the lower 48 thinking that Alaska is the place to be and Alaskan Citizens who realize that Alaska is not a viable place to stay in a long term Crunch.

A SurvivalBlog Reader in Alaska Adds:

Mr. Rawles, As a long-time resident of Alaska, I agree in general [with your Retreat Locales page assessment] that it's just not a viable survival location for most people. Someone wanting to move here should carefully consider whether it would work for them. Alaska is huge, with a low population. While 275,000 people live in the Anchorage area, only 400,00 live in the rest of the state, comprised of over 1/2 million square miles. But more than 99% of the land is off limits to settlement, because it's owned by either government or native corporations. Even if land were available, most of it is inaccessible if you can't afford a helicopter or float plane. Much of it is treeless, windblown, and covered with ice and snow more than six months per year. When the ice finally melts, the roads buckle and heave due to the cycle of freezing and thawing. This requires expensive maintenance that would not be sustainable if TSHTF.

The economy of Alaska is driven by oil income and government spending, both of which would cease if the U.S. economy collapsed. There is very little local manufacturing capability. Sadly, even most natives have lost the ability to live off the land, due to income from various government programs and business ventures.

Home heating is a huge expense in Alaska; $6,000 or more per winter for some households. Even if you have a source of wood and cut it yourself, it's going to occupy a lot of your time.

On the plus side, there's unlimited pure air and water. While wildlife isn't as abundant as most people think, there are more than enough fish to keep everyone alive in a survival scenario. There are almost no insects to bother crops, and although the growing season is short, some vegetables do very well in the long daylight hours in summer. Alaska has one of the best concealed-carry laws in the country, and most prisoners are outsourced to other states, so they would not be a problem in a collapse. Alaska has a high concentration of military and former military personnel, who generally have a sound grasp of Constitutional issues.

Alaskans understand survival. Many who live in villages or in the bush have no running water. Some have no electricity. Alaska is a great place to practice survival skills. But you might not want to stay after TSHTF unless you're in extremely good health, you tolerate cold well, and you're prepared to do the hard work it would take to survive in a hostile environment. - K.L. in Alaska

And Why Not Hawaii? Just as in Alaska, what happens when the ships and planes stop arriving? Too much population (1,250,000 and growing!) and too little self-sufficiency. Lousy gun laws, too. The only thing that Hawaii has going for it is a mild climate and the fact that each island produces its own power—albeit with imported fuel. If and when the North American grid goes down, it will be something that Hawaiians will see reported on the evening news. Yes, I know, fish are plentiful and you can walk through the jungle and forage enough fruit in just an hour to feed your family for a day. But the two-legged predators will be out in force. It probably won't be safe to go out fishing or foraging. Perhaps the residents of some of the smaller islands will pull through a Crunch. Certainly they might on Ni`ihau–the small western island reserved for natives only and their traditional lifestyle–subsistence agriculture, and fishing. But of course: “Haoles need not apply…”

Taxes and Cost of Living Before making a move to another state, be sure to research the various tax rates and the relative cost of living. These web site might prove useful:

Overall Tax Burden by State

State Income Tax Rates

State Sales Tax Rates

Cost of Living Comparison Profiles/Data/Commentary on 19 Western States Arizona

Population: 5.1 million. Population Density: 44.7 per square mile (Rank 7 of JWR’s top 19 states). Area: 114,000 square miles (rank 6 of 50). Average home insurance cost: $438/yr. (rank 30 of 50). Crime Safety Ranking: 48 of 50. Boston T. Party’s State Firearms Laws Ranking: 91%. Per capita income: $24,988 (rank 37 of 50). ACT & SAT Scores Ranking: 25 of 50. Plusses: Mild winters at lower elevations. Has the nation’s top rating in “education freedom” (the state is at the forefront of the charter school movement.) Open carry of handguns is legal and perhaps the most commonplace in the Lower 48. “No-permit required” concealed carry was enacted in 2010. Minuses: Intensely hot summers at lower elevations. Fairly high population density (by western states standards.) Water is scarce in much of the state. Very high crime rate! Expensive car insurance rates. (Because it has the highest car theft rate in the nation.) Nuclear targets. Proximity to the Mexican border. Some northern parts of the state are recommended (with provisos). Has a high ratio of illegal aliens. Note: I probably should have given Arizona a higher ranking, due to its favorable gun laws and long growing season. However, its very crime rate, high insurance costs, and proximity to the Mexican border pushed it down the list. JWR’s Combined Retreat Potential Ranking: 9 of 19.

An Arizona Citizen Adds the Following Comments Just adding some thoughts on your assessment of Arizona. There are two Arizonas, the lower half at an average elevation of less than 3,000 feet, and the half up on the Colorado plateau at 5,000-8,000 feet, and the two are totally different. You are absolutely correct about Southern Arizona being too populated, too close the border, and too much crime, almost all of which is in metropolitan Phoenix. If ones does their research (and I am not going to spell it all out here), there are some locations that come in very high. First check your groundwater availability, some areas have intermittent surface water, and no aquifer. Other areas have excellent, clean, well flowing, deep aquifers. You will probably have to put in a well, either wind or solar powered. Solar power has an advantage in that it can be hidden better, but it had the disadvantage of being more technologically complex. [JWR Adds: The folks at Solarjack/SunPumps of Safford, Arizona are both knowledgeable and reputable PV powered pump dealers. I first did business with them in 1991.] With a good well, you not only have drinking water, you can grow crops. There are large concentrations of LDS members in some areas, this is a good thing to look for, crime is low, and they make good neighbors, even if you are not LDS. Land is reasonably cheap ($200-$500/acre) out of the towns a few miles, but you will have the added expense of your well, which will cost $12-$15K including the windmill or solar, and solar electric generation for lights, and other power, which can add that much again, for a modest system. Game is available, and the population density is these localized areas is measured in square miles per person. My nearest neighbor is 3/4 of a mile away, the next closest is two miles in the opposite direction, and more than three miles each in the other two directions,yet there is a town of about 5,000 people, only nine miles by rough road, away. (The place I selected, allows my retreat to not be seen from the little traveled rutted dirt road in front of my place; the only indication that someone is even there, is a slightly overgrown track leading over a low ridge through some trees, from a nondescript barb wire fence gate. After one rainstorm, the track looks like it hasn't been traveled for months. The CONEX boxes are painted olive drab, and hidden by trees. blackout curtains are used at night in the neutral colored dwelling, you cannot see the place, day or night, from 40 yards away, even though there are large meadows on two sides, as I made sure at least some trees were between the open areas and the structures.) Cattle and crops are grown in the area, and there is game, ranging from rabbits to antelope to elk. Topography ranges from savannah, to juniper to tall pines, depending on the elevation. You are close enough that you can work/live in Phoenix, if needed, yet have a retreat available less than 200 miles away, just know ALL the ways out of town, and have stuff propositioned. And, if you have the money for $20-40K an acre, there are a few select areas in the 4000-5000 foot elevation that have year round running surface water, good flat ground for crops are isolated, surrounded by high mountains and easily defended, as the only two roads in, can be easily defended, or blocked - AZDoug Arkansas

Population: 2.67 million. Population Density: 50.2 per square mile (Rank 5 of JWR’s top 19 states). Area: 53,187 square miles (rank 27 of 50). Average car insurance cost: $721/yr. (rank 30 of 50). Average home insurance cost: $494/yr. (rank 19 of 50). Crime Safety Ranking: 8 of 50. Boston T. Party’s State Firearms Laws Ranking: 66%. Per capita income: $21,995 (rank 49 of 50). ACT & SAT Scores Ranking: 23 of 50. Plusses: Low property taxes. Minuses: High population density (by western states standards.) Tornado prone (ranked #5 out of top 20 States). Poverty. The Arkansas economy barely scrapes by, even in good times. The state has a fairly large welfare dependent under class. This could prove problematic in the event of TEOTWAWKI. Poorly educated populace. For example: High school graduates, percent of persons age 25+, (2000 stats): 75.3%, versus 80.4% nationwide. Bachelor's degree or higher, percentage of persons age 25+, (2000 stats): 16.7%, versus 24.4% nationwide. Note: Look for natural gas producing areas so that you can run your pickup on “drip” oil. (See my posts in the Archives on alternate fuels.) JWR’s Combined Retreat Potential Ranking: 16 of 19.

A Recent Relocatee to Arkansas (and Regular SurvivalBlog Contributor) Comments:

I researched for several years and made five trips to Arkansas in 18 months or so and as a “retreat” area North Central Arkansas wins on many levels for my needs. The statistics you quote, I'm sure, are valid as an overall state average, BUT most of the population seems to be in the Southern and West/East portions of the state and that seems to be where most of the tornados occur, and also where welfare recipients live. [JWR adds: This adds credence to my theory that tornadoes are mysteriously guided by some unseen force toward single-wide trailer parks.] There is a very homogenous population in this area with lots of well-attended churches and close family ties. One does not need a Bachelor's to take over Dad's logging or sawmill business or river/fishing guide business. Up here in the North Central area in the Ozarks things are really not fitting your averages. My criteria on a new AO was an sparsely populated area, a longer growing season than the maybe 90 days I had [in northern Nevada] for the last 16 years, better/shorter winter season, water availability, less expensive cost of living for basics, and lack of bureaucratic interference. The northern counties of Arkansas seem to fit the criteria perfectly. So far my propane, building supplies, fencing, food costs, and car insurance/license/tags are far less than I had been paying. Yes, the education system is poor and conventional jobs are scarce. However, the folks are friendly to newcomers without being nosey, one does not seem to need a permit for doing any improvements to property, and self-employment (under the table income) is rampant here and the work provided to customers is excellent. Land is, in my opinion, very cheap here to buy compared to lots of other areas in the U.S. - averaging $500-to-$1000 per acre with the higher pricing on lakeside properties. Good fishing, good hunting, good weather, good friends - just what I was looking for. Cities are cities anywhere one goes and that seems to be where the “problems” or potential problems congregate. Rural is rural, by the same token. I know your focus is/has been communities of like-minded folks banded together for safety and survival. I, personally, think that will happen much more shortly after a SHTF scenario than before such an event(s). I, like many others I know, have been laying the groundwork for that latter scenario, but it's not that comfortable to do it now, in advance. The plans are there, ready to put into action, but in the meantime, we are all working on our own plans for now and in the future and we stay in communication regarding such plans while still maintaining our privacy and property, if that makes sense to you. We, amongst my friends, know who will/can do what and provide what in most any disaster and we keep those plans in mind while we develop our individual projects. California

Population: 34 million+. Population Density: 214 per square mile (Rank 1 of JWR’s top 19 states). Area: 158,706 square miles (rank 3 of 50). Average car insurance cost: $765/yr. (rank 23 of 50). Average home insurance cost: $592/yr. (rank 9 of 50), Crime Safety Ranking: 39 of 50. Boston T. Party’s State Firearms Laws Ranking: 30%. Per capita income: $32,149 (rank 8 of 50). ACT & SAT Scores Ranking: 37 of 50. Plusses: Mild climate and a long growing seasons in most parts of the state. High wages. Minuses: Excessive population density, high crime rate, copious smog, high cost of living, aggravating traffic, earthquake prone, over-inflated real estate prices, expensive building permits, restrictive zoning, high sales tax (as much as 8.5% in some counties!), draconian gun control laws, MTBE-tainted municipal and well water, high income and property taxes, multiple terrorist and WWIII targets, mediocre public schools, a cluttered radio spectrum, a state budget crisis that has reduced the state’s bonds to junk bond status, a proliferation of anti-small business and environmental regulations, exploding illegal immigration, anti-home schooling legislators, expensive car registration, high car insurance rates, the highest worker’s compensation insurance cost in the nation ($5.23 per $100 in payroll!), high health insurance rates, a very litigious and biased court system, and an ever-expanding socialistic Nanny State. California K-to-12 students ranks 48th of the 50 states in academics. California is definitely not recommended, except perhaps for those committed to the anti-gun pacifist school of survivalism and willing to home school their kids, and then only if you live in the most remote portions of the state–far northern California. (Such as Humboldt, Modoc, or Trinity County) or perhaps the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.(Such as the Bishop or Lone Pine areas.) JWR’s Combined Retreat Potential Ranking: 19 of 19.

JWR adds: I included California in my rankings of 19 states partly to show some contrasts to the other states listed. Because so many SurvivalBlog readers live in California, I hope that this serves as encouragement for them to “vote with their feet.” Three Letters from SurvivalBlog Readers About California

Dear Mr. Rawles, I'm a CA resident and a CA high school history teacher, and just read your retreat observations regarding my state. My experience with out-of-state critics of CA is that they often exaggerate wildly about conditions here as well as frequently blame voters here for the conditions we have (I've voted against all aspects of the present socialist nightmare but look what we have). In your case, however, I can honestly say that your analysis and summary are 100% accurate and spot-on. I regret only that your summary isn't printed in the Op-Ed section of the Los Angeles Times and circulated.

FWIW, I am looking for a teaching job elsewhere so I can get the heck out [of California] before TSHTF. When it happens here, it will make Katrina's aftermath look like a kindergarten dance. Take care and keep up the great work, - S.

Mr. Rawles, I love your site. It is the first thing that I read in the morning now. I just wanted to point out Alameda County [California] sales tax is now 8.75%, the highest in the state except for Catalina Island! I drive to Monterey (the nearest county with the state minimum 7.25% sales tax) for any decent sized purchase, except autos because the DMV charges you by the county of residence. BTW, the county listed on the registration determines your insurance and whether or not you need a smog inspection. (yes some counties don't require smog tests or not as stringent tests) if you have property or a friend with an address you can use. Modoc County car insurance will be much cheaper than Alameda County, I guarantee you. Since the hurricane, I have doubled my efforts and consolidated down my BOB, working on one for my wife's car. I picked up three times the amount of canned goods this last weekend at our regular shopping trip (stuff we actually eat on a regular basis). I sold a few more of my excess firearms, put the funds towards supplies and hard money investments (no debts except mortgage) one benefit of CA gun laws is that no 'out of production' guns can legally be brought into the state for sale This includes vintage Smiths and Colts and even recent stuff like Colt Delta Elites. So the price of these in the People's Republic of Kalifornia (PRK) is way out of whack compared to the rest of the country, as seen by prices on the firearm auction sites. I sold a few old S&Ws that I was into for $200 and $300 for $650 and $750.. just because you can't 'legally' get them here! After I move to free America, I can repurchase at lower prices if I want. Acreage properties in Modoc, Plumas and Trinity or Sierra counties up in extreme northern CA as you suggest are way too expensive (relative to acreage on the Oregon or Nevada side of the line) now, There is little to NO industry or jobs up there and logging is being legislated out of existence. Unless you have money or have a home-based job that you can do from your computer, good luck up there. Possibly as a retreat location but you are still sometimes 4-8 hours drive to some of those places on Friday night from the [San Francisco] Bay area. Double or triple that time in Katrina like escape traffic on I-5 or I-80. Though fishing and hunting up there is second to none! BTW some of your profiles are awesome. If I had even 1/100 of Bill Gates' budget mine would be even better. - T.L.

James, You sure hit the nail on the head when you wrote about California, and the northern counties of Humboldt and Trinity. Life is different up here, but you still have to contend with the lunatics down south, and the stupid laws they make. (Not to mention that some parts of Humboldt (Arcata) are just full of “hippy” types….Yes, there are many left, and this is where they pooled.) Many people up here just do not seem to understand that they are subject to these laws. I have been told not to worry so much about certain things, because even the cops (up here), just don't care. But the bottom line is the fact that this creates a huge “if they want ya, they got ya” type situation. Now most people already live with this to some extent, but it is far worse out here. Then there is the fact that the people that were born and raised out here, if they are under 30, just have no idea what it's like to live in a semi free state. Some just cannot believe it when I tell them what is still legal in a state like Florida or Wyoming. It is very sad. This is a beautiful part of the country, with a great climate…but I know I will not be able to stand it long. - Gung-Ho Colorado

Population: 4.3 million. Population Density: 41.3 per square mile (Rank 8 of JWR’s top 19 states). Area: 104,000 square miles (rank 8 of 50). Average car insurance cost: $881/yr. (rank 11 of 50). Average home insurance cost: $571/yr. (rank 12 of 50). Crime Safety Ranking: 26 of 50. Boston T. Party’s State Firearms Laws Ranking: 74%. Per capita income: $32,434 (rank 7 of 50). ACT & SAT Scores Ranking: 15 of 50. Plusses: A low “total tax burden” of 8.4%. Has a high rating in “education freedom” for home schooling (ranked #8 of 50). Minuses: Fairly high population density (by western U.S. standards.) The emerging Nanny State mentality is also troubling. Parts of the state are recommended. JWR’s Combined Retreat Potential Ranking: 10 of 19. Idaho

Population: 1.3 million (and about 2.1 million cattle.) Population Density: 15.5 per square mile (Rank 15 of JWR’s top 19 states). Area: 83,437 square miles (rank 13 of 50). Average car insurance cost: $608/yr. (rank 48 of 50). Average home insurance cost: $326/yr. (rank 50 of 50). Average Home Price in Clearwater County: $112,725 Average Home Price in Idaho County: $109,500 Average Home Price in Kootenai County: $112,849 Average Home Price in Latah County: $118,325 (skewed because of the large number of 120+ acre farms and ranches) Crime Safety Ranking: 9 of 50. Boston T. Party’s State Firearms Laws Ranking: 97%. Per capita income: $23,727 (rank 41 of 50). ACT & SAT Scores Ranking: 15 of 50.

Plusses: Low Very low crime rate. (For example, it ranks second from the bottom in car thefts of the 50 states.) Low property taxes. Inexpensive building permits. Minimally intrusive government. Inexpensive car registration ($20 to $50 per year, plus a one-time-only $15 plate fee.) Low car insurance rates. Low health insurance rates. Extremely low home insurance rates. (An average of $326 per year. Ranks #50 in the country!)

The most wilderness area in any of the 48 Continental United States. (Only Alaska has more.) 21.6 million forested acres.

Minimal gun laws.

Class 3 guns (machineguns short barreled rifles and shotguns, and suppressors) are legal to own after the $200 Federal tax and background check.

Open carry of handguns is legal and fairly commonplace.

CCW permits must be issued unless someone has a prior criminal record. (“Non-discretionary.”)

No CCW permit is required for concealed carry outside of city limits.

Vehicular carry of loaded guns is legal and very common.

Automatic knives are legal to own and carry.

Minimally regulated home schooling.

Low population density.

Low elevation portions of the state have a fairly mild climate. Hunting and fishing are excellent in many parts of the state, so there will be no shortage of protein WTSHTF. High ratio of horse ownership, so I anticipate that transportation will be available in the event of a long term TEOTWAWKI. By 2025, Idaho is projected to be the 40th most populous with 1.7 million people. (It is currently the 39th most populous state.) Affordable property: The median home price for all of Idaho is $105,403. One useful web site: Idaho Department of Commerce Community Profiles.

Minuses: Has a relatively high state income tax. Sadly, 63.7% of Idaho’s lands are owned by federal government. (Mostly National Forest and BLM land.) But at least that provides a “really big back yard” for hunting and cutting firewood. Cold winters at the higher elevations. (Look for property in the low river valleys if you can’t stand snow!) Low wages compared to most coastal states. JWR’s Combined Retreat Potential Ranking: 1 of 19. (JWR’s top choice!) Kansas

Population: 2.6 million. Population Density: 31.7 per square mile (Rank 10 of JWR’s top 19 states). Area: 82,000 square miles (rank 14 of 50). Average car insurance cost: $688/yr. (rank 36 of 50). Average home insurance cost: $593/yr. (rank 8 of 50). Crime Safety Ranking: 23 of 50. Boston T. Party’s State Firearms Laws Ranking: 68%. Per capita income: $27,374 (rank 27 of 50). ACT & SAT Scores Ranking: 4 of 50. Plusses: Minuses: Little crop diversity. Few local firewood sources. Tornado prone (ranked #2 out of top 20 States). High car insurance rates. High home insurance rates. The flat terrain is difficult to defend. (Because there are too many avenues of approach.) JWR’s Combined Retreat Potential Ranking: 12 of 19. Louisiana

Population: 4.5 million. Population Density: 94.2 per square mile (Rank 2 of JWR’s top 19 states). Area: 47,751 square miles (rank 8 of 50). Average car insurance cost: $928/yr. (rank 30 of 50). Average home insurance cost: $721/yr. (rank 2 of 50) Crime Safety Ranking: 50 of 50. Boston T. Party’s State Firearms Laws Ranking: 94%. Per capita income: $23,090 (rank 45 of 50). ACT & SAT Scores Ranking: 34 of 50. Plusses: Mild climate. Low property taxes. Firearms freedom. Minuses: Coastal Louisiana and +/- 50 miles inland is in the hurricane zone. Very high population density (by western U.S. standards.) Louisiana has the lowest crime safety ranking the U.S.! (New Orleans is ranked one of the least safe cities in the country: It is ranked #13 in the “Top 20 Most Dangerous Metropolitan Areas.) The second least well-educated population of any state–ranked 49 of 50. Very high car insurance rates. Extremely high home insurance rates. (Average of $721 per year. Ranks #2 in the country!) In a true TEOTWAWKI situation, folks in some rural areas may see non-Cajuns as expendable “outsiders.” High humidity (over 60% in the southern half of the state.) Low wages. Some northern portions of the state are recommended, with strong reservations. Note: I probably should have given Louisiana higher ranking, due to its favorable gun and tax laws and favorable climate–at least in the northern half of the state. However, its extremely high crime rate and high insurance costs pushed it far down the list. JWR’s Combined Retreat Potential Ranking: 18 of 19.

JWR Adds: Note that I wrote the following long before Hurricane Katrina arrived in September of '05. I certainly was right when I warned “Coastal Louisiana and +/- 50 miles inland is in the hurricane zone”–but I didn't need to be any sort of sage with arcane knowledge to figure that out… Montana

Population: 903,000. Population Density: 6.1 per square mile (Rank 18 of JWR’s top 19 states). Area: 147,000 square miles (rank 4 of 50). Average car insurance cost: $671/yr. (rank 38 of 50). Average home insurance cost: $451/yr. (rank 26 of 50). Crime Safety Ranking: 10 of 50. Boston T. Party’s State Firearms Laws Ranking: 92%. Per capita income: $22,518 (rank 46 of 50). ACT & SAT Scores Ranking: 8 of 50. Montana Agriculture reference: Montana Crops: Potatoes, sugar beats, sorghum, alfalfa, grass hay, and grains. Plusses: Very low crime rate! Very low population density. Minimal gun laws. Good schools. A very non-intrusive government. (For example, in the 1990s there were a few years with no daylight speed limit on most of Montana’s highways outside of city limits.) Low car insurance rates. Minuses: Very cold winters, especially east of the Great Divide, and a short growing season. (The number of frost free days range from 139 days in Glendive to just 39 days in Ovando!) Insufficient crop diversity. Low wages. Montana's missile fields are still in the Russian target structure. Lower elevation areas west of the Great Divide (and upwind of the missile fields) are recommended. Note: I probably should have given Montana a lower ranking, due to its cold climate and short growing season. However, because of Montana’s favorable gun laws, low crime rate, and light population density, I bumped it up the list. JWR’s Combined Retreat Potential Ranking: 2 of 19.

A Recent Relocatee to Montana Adds The Following: Jim: I am not a religious nut when I tell you the Holy Spirit impressed my entire family we were all to leave where we lived and head to Montana. So I started visiting the real estate web sites searching for homes that might fit our particular requirements. We arrived with a list of 46 homes in a binder sorted by area/city etc. After spending seven days working out of the Flathead Lake / Kalispell area and looking at 28 homes we were discouraged. We looked at properties up to $450,000. Price was not the issue. The issue was being at peace with our purchase. After seven days my son in law called to say we should go up to Eureka and look at the houses we had printed out for that area. So I called a realtor's agent and gave her a list of eighteen properties with the liberty to weed out those that she thought would not fit. We looked at eight properties and one twice. All of the properties appeared to belong to Christians of one flavor or another. Some we met just outright stated they were believers. After leaving the realtor we discussed the merits of one property some more. It had all the things we require: five bedrooms, two for offices, 2 plus acres, multiple bug out routes, two tillable acres, about two feet of snow per year, plenty of wood nearby, a lake filled with ducks and geese. Plus we have plenty deer, elk, bears, game birds, chickens in the spring, and more available land in the general area. The growing season is 158 days. The land is sub irrigated and we have a deep thirty gallon per minute well. Water is just seven feet down. After several hours of contemplation, some prayer the Holy Spirit simply said you will be safe here. After purchasing we learned the seller failed to disclose the presence of a questionable unrecorded easement and spring. These undisclosed issues will work themselves out in time. We are about 20 miles from the Canadian Border. I am an American, so I will stay here regardless of what happens. This is a very nice home, but it may just prove to be our base camp while establishing something more remote. In the coming times of confusion, I believe that boldness, good planning, stealth and mobility will be key to retaking our nation. The wind currents are favorable to protect us from most fallout. We are situated on the edge of a valley between two mountains. I can close the roads with chain saws and some old vehicles stored nearby without trouble. The hillside provides three good LP/OP positions with places for many spider holes. Bug out into the National Forest is behind the home or down the road. The plus side of living here is that most of the people profess to be Believers without ever asking them. There are the drug pushers and users in the high school and we will gather their names for future reference. Everybody works hard at whatever they do. The down side of moving to a non-affluent area is that the people do not have the wherewithal to prepare for what is coming. Some are on welfare. So if they do not leave they will eventually become part of the problem. The only thing I will be able to help them with is seed and prayer. Unless we get a windfall my family of twelve is all I can prepare for. I am 64 years old and splitting six cords of wood. We have sufficient food to carry us for a good while plus seed, game, and fish. We will be putting in a garden and canning vegetables and storing, smoked meats (am building a smoke house in the spring). We are putting up enough fuel to last us for at least two years. My priorities are water, food and seeds, fuel, fire heat, natural medicine, clothing, shoes, trade goods, tools, trade coins etc. We have sufficient weapons and supplies. Our choice of weapons are .45 ACP, .22, .223, .308, plus other hunting calibers. We would like to see things remain stable for two more years so I can pay this place off, but can get by if things crash ten minutes from now. All of us need to remember if we have a real financial crash as the result of any disaster, all of us will be in the same boat. This includes the bankers as well. The crash will be worldwide. We who survive the crash, food riots, anarchy, civil war and the attack on America that follows can purchase property for reasonable prices with real money. My home insurance is about $1,000 per year but my rural auto insurance just went down. License plates for vehicles twelve years and older are a onetime $76. Food costs are not too bad yet. We make a weekly trip to the larger stores in Kalispell to buy in bulk. We are filling our fuel tanks quietly. I recently learned that before 911 there were sixteen Border Patrol in the area. Now there are about seventy. They appear to have police powers twenty five miles south of the Canadian border and they act like we Americas were the enemy. Something to remember when you move close to the Canadian border. Lord bless you and your family with happiness and joy. - M. in Montana. Nebraska

Population: 1.7 million. Population Density: 21.9 per square mile (Rank 12 of JWR’s top 19 states). Area: 77,355 square miles (rank 15 of 50). Average car insurance cost: $649/yr. (rank 42 of 50). Average home insurance cost: $499/yr. (rank 18 of 50). Crime Safety Ranking: 12 of 50. Boston T. Party’s State Firearms Laws Ranking: 64%. Per capita income: $27,630 (rank 26 of 50). ACT & SAT Scores Ranking: 5 of 50. Plusses: Low crime rate. Minuses: Tornado prone (ranked #4 out of top 20 States).There are missile fields (see map) Few local firewood sources. JWR’s Combined Retreat Potential Ranking: 11 of 19. Nevada

Population: 2 million. Population Density: 18 per square mile (Rank 13 of JWR’s top 19 states). Area: 110,561 square miles (rank 7 of 50). Average car insurance cost: $937/yr. (rank 7 of 50). Average home insurance cost: $479/yr. (rank 21 of 50). Crime Safety Ranking: 49 of 50. Boston T. Party’s State Firearms Laws Ranking: 76%. Per capita income: $29,506 (15 rank of 50). ACT & SAT Scores Ranking: 25 of 50. Comments: One editor listed in the acknowledgements stubbornly insists that my ranking below is unfair to parts of Nevada. Nevada is really “a tale of two states”: Las Vegas and then all the rest. Las Vegas has the same urban problems as Los Angeles, which affects the insurance and crime numbers above. Las Vegas has a severe desert climate that is hostile to agriculture, and most residents are dependent on water from elsewhere. Las Vegas is not worth of consideration, and its influence on the state’s statistics conceals a very viable and potentially desirable relocation alternative in Northern Nevada. Plusses: No income tax, relatively pro-gun ownership, except for Clark County's (Las Vegas) handgun registration laws. Northern Nevada, particularly Reno and the Carson Valley (which will be listed second tier relocation region in my subsequent posts) have mild summers not requiring air-conditioning, ample water from snow melt from the Sierra Nevada mountain range, widespread ranching and hay production, better schools than Las Vegas, and solidly conservative political demographics (except for inner Reno). Healthy economy with many companies relocating from California. Northern Nevada is considered an ideal off-the-grid solar power location, with plenty of sun during the moderately chilly winters.

Nevada is not recommended for a survivalist with a small to moderate budget. However, for someone who is wealthy and who can stand the climate, Nevada should be bumped up a notch or two. Taxes will be a big issue for you—and Nevada has no income tax. As someone “of means” you will be able to afford lots of food storage, voluminous fuel storage, and a large greenhouse to make up for the hot summers/cold winters climate of the Nevada high country. (See my posts in a week or two for specific recommendations within Nevada.) Minuses: Expensive land in the more desirable areas with plentiful water. May suffer from the “Golden Horde” effect–a huge wave of refugees and looters pouring in from more populous California in in the event of an abrupt TEOTWAWKI. Water is scarce in Nevada, at least south and east of the Sierras.Also consider: extremely high crime rate (Las Vegas severely skews this statistic), minimal agriculture (except for some hay growing and ranching in the northern portions of the state), high sales tax, expensive car registration for newer cars (but a friend in Nevada reports that a 10-year-old vehicle that was originally purchased for $50,000 costs only $68 per year to register), exploding population growth (the fastest in the U.S. due primarily to Las Vegas), the lowest church attendance rate in the country (ranked 50 of 50 - the state is more libertarian than conservative), and heavy dependence on gambling for tax revenue. Has a low rating in “education freedom” (ranked #47 of 50). While Nevada's calculated per capita “tax burden” is 12% higher than the national average for all 50 states, much of this comes from tourist gambling revenues, so those non-gamblers in their prime earning years may still find Nevada to be a relatively low tax haven. Nevada has refreshingly lax incorporation laws. There is a risk that statewide political control could shift to the pro-tax liberals of Las Vegas (although the state Constitution requires a 2/3 majority to create an income tax). Some central and northern regions of the state with plentiful surface water are recommended—but with provisos. JWR’s Combined Retreat Potential Ranking: 14 of 19 (Note: I’d probably rank it at 7 or 8 if it weren't for Las Vegas.) New Mexico

Population: 1.8 million. Population Density: 14.8 per square mile (Rank 15 of JWR’s top 19 states). Area: 121,593 square miles (rank 5 of 50). Average car insurance cost: $828/yr. (rank 14 of 50). Average home insurance cost: $450/yr. (rank 27 of 50). Crime Safety Ranking: 44 of 50. Per capita income: $21,931 (rank 48 of 50). Boston T. Party’s State Firearms Laws Ranking: 87%. ACT & SAT Scores Ranking: 30 of 50. Plusses: Low population density. Minimal gun laws. People in New Mexico's rural areas are already highly self-sufficient, out of economic necessity. Minuses: Proximity to Mexican border. Water is scarce in much of the state. (Many families haul all of their drinking water from town and store it in large cisterns. That would have dubious utility in a TEOTWAWKI-style collapse.) Economically, New Mexico is essentially like a Third World country within the U.S. The least well-educated population of any state. Expensive car insurance rates. Unfortunately the most mild climate zone in New Mexico (the southwest corner) is also very close to the Mexican border. Low wages. High crime rate. Note: Look for natural gas producing areas so that you can run your pickup on “drip” oil. (See my posts in the Archives on alternate fuels.) Some portions of the state with low population density are recommended. JWR’s Combined Retreat Potential Ranking: 15 of 19. North Dakota

Population: 642,200. Population Density: 9 per square mile (Rank 17 of JWR’s top 19 states). Area: 70,700 square miles (rank 17 of 50). Average car insurance cost: $601/yr. (rank 49 of 50). Average home insurance cost: $426/yr. (rank 33 of 50). Crime Safety Ranking: 2 of 50. Boston T. Party’s State Firearms Laws Ranking: 61%. Per capita income: $24,708 (rank 38 of 50). ACT & SAT Scores Ranking: 6 of 50. Plusses: very low population density. Extremely low crime rate. Extremely low car insurance rates. With the decline in family farming, the state has actually de-populated, leaving real estate prices low. In eastern North Dakota, in-town lots can be had literally for free–to encourage re-settlement. For various economic and demographic data, see: Minuses: Brutally cold winters. Short growing season.With the de-population, crop diversity has decreased. (Practically a monoculture.) Many small towns in North Dakota now lack key commerce such as grocery stores, hardware stores, and so forth. (People in many small towns are now forced to drive long distances to do their weekly shopping.) Some small towns in the de-populated regions are verging on desperation, hence the aforementioned “free lots”offers. (Some schools are being closed for want of pupils.)

Although the last of the ICBMs in North Dakota were removed in 1998, much of North Dakota is downwind form the missile fields in Montana and Wyoming, with the prevailing winds. That makes the statet less than inviting in a nuclear war scenario. North Dakota also has highly regulated home schooling. JWR’s Combined Retreat Potential Ranking: 8 of 19.

In 2009, A reader had the following commentary to add on North Dakota: I have read for quite awhile of these folks that write with their questions and concerns for a survival retreat and where to locate and many have substantial resources to do so and yet many others (like myself ) didn't/don't have those resources. This is why I choose North Dakota which is notably in your top 18 states for retreat areas and I want to tell you why.

I have traveled extensively over the years to every state in the US and lived in several. I spent many years in the North Georgia mountains until it got to crowded like most areas there such as Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. Not to mention that they expensive as well.

I spent a summer in Alaska, and loved it there but that state as beautiful and less populated and with the bounty it offers, still lacks many staples needed and which as you have noted, has to be trucked,shipped or flown in and is very expensive.

Idaho, Montana,and Wyoming are beautiful and also less populated but through my travels over the years, I've found property far too expensive for the average working “Joe” with limited funds.

I could go on in reference to other states,but those I have listed were always what I thought to be a safe bet,but there came the money issue again. I didn't want a loan or mortgage on a “survival retreat” that might possibly end up in foreclosure if and after TSHTF, so I kept looking.

And through those travels I started taking a closer look at North Dakota. [Some information that has since become obsolete removed.] So, what I did was to buy a very small home in a very small rural area of north central North Dakota, kinda up wind of the “sites” for the most part yet very, very affordable. I bought this place to “try out” North Dakota and see if it offered what my bank account could stand. Could I live here for limited funds and use the balance to “stock up” for the future? Could I pay cash for the place so I would never have to worry about loosing it if and when TSHTF and money would become scarce,if there even was any money anywhere?. Could this piece of property sustain me and my wife in the interim through a garden,chickens etc?. And was there a possibility of making an income in the area or a population source near enough to get to that I could?.

What I found was nearly an acre with a small well kept home on the edge of a very,very small town for just $11,000 with all the amenities of the big city like Internet, cable, satellite television, water, sewer, garbage, phone and electric and my very own cistern for a backup. And my annual property taxes are less than most people spend for a night out– under $75 per year.

That small place was a great starting place and allowed us to venture and learn about North Dakota and all it offers. I will add as well that North Dakota is a major Beef producing state and I have never had trouble finding hamburger for far less than grocery store prices and farm raised,not to mention unlimited hunting and fishing.

What few realize is that most of North Dakotas small rural towns are experiencing a decline at about 10% over the past 10 years due to the older folks passing on and the younger ones moving on and the small farms giving way to huge 3,000 to 5,000 acre spreads and the cold winters all add up to smaller towns.

But we found it perfect and the cold is usually the worst the end of January through the first two weeks of February and then it gets down right cold-d-d. The beautiful spring,summer and fall make up for it though, in our opinion.

But we still wanted to be a little farther out with a little more acreage and fewer people. After nearly two years we found a seven-acre farmstead. This place has a nice home with basement walls from stone that are 24 inches think.Two garages and a granary make up the buildings. With this prized piece we can grow more food,have more chickens and raise some beef and pork. Our closest neighbor is 1-1/2 miles away and the closest larger town is 28 miles with smaller towns in the 17 to 18 mile range. We did lose a few things by moving here: No unlimited long distance, no cable television (only satellite) and we had to get a new cellular provider. No town water or sewer. We have our own here with a well and septic and we lost our garbage pickup so we burn and recycle and/or haul to the landfill.

We can see anyone coming a mile before they get here yet we are still on a main road for winter snow plows. And all of this was under $20K, that's right, under $20,000 so that was again, well within our means to pay for and use that money we would have spent on a mortgage or loan to invest in our future,so it is possible and we are living proof of this and we have seen many deals such as this in North Dakota.

So we offer that North Dakota is a beautiful place and affordable for those that (like us) don't have unlimited funds,or don't want to spend all they do have for a survival retreat. A place that is peaceful ,quiet and far enough from everyone, yet close enough for a day trip to any big city and still only has 650,000 people in the entire state. A state where there is presently a budget surplus and the lowest unemployment rate in the USA. - Fred Oklahoma

Population: 3.4 million. Population Density: 48.5 per square mile (Rank 6 of JWR’s top 19 states). Area: 70,000 square miles (rank 18 of 50). Average car insurance cost: $736/yr. (rank 26 of 50). Average home insurance cost: $612/yr. (rank 5 of 50). Crime Safety Ranking: 33 of 50. Boston T. Party’s State Firearms Laws Ranking: 80%. Per capita income: $23,650 (rank 42 of 50). ACT & SAT Scores Ranking: 23 of 50. Plusses: Minimally regulated home schooling. Minuses: Fairly high population density (by western U.S. standards.) Fairly high crime rate. Tornado prone (ranked #3 out of top 20 States) High home insurance rates. (Average of $612 per year. Ranked #5 in the country!) Low wages. High car insurance rates. High population density (by western U.S. standards.) Low wages. Tribal governments create an extra layer of bureaucracy within the Indian reservation boundaries. JWR’s Combined Retreat Potential Ranking: 17 of 19. Oregon

Population: 3.4 million. Population Density: 35 per square mile (Rank 9 of JWR’s top 19 states) (The highest density is in the northwest part of the state. It is much lower elsewhere, particular eastern 2/3rds of the state.) Area: 97,000 square miles (rank 10 of 50). Average car insurance cost: $704/yr. (rank 35 of 50). Average home insurance cost: $343/yr. (rank 47 of 50). Crime Safety Ranking: 18 of 50. Boston T. Party’s State Firearms Laws Ranking: 65%. Per capita income: $27,660 (rank 25 of 50). ACT & SAT Scores Ranking: 10 of 50 (tied with Washington). Plusses: No sales tax. Very low home insurance rates. (Average of $343 per year. Ranks #47 in the country!) Has a high rating in “education freedom” (ranked #5 of 50), since Oregon has relaxed home schooling laws. Relatively low car insurance rates. Note: In the late 1970s, the much-respected survival writer Mel Tappan touted southwestern Oregon–particularly the Rogue River Valley–as a survival haven. But that was back when California had a population of only around 20 million people. Today, I'm not sure that southwestern Oregon will have sufficient geographic isolation to be immune from California's “Golden Horde” in the event of an abrupt TEOTWAWKI. Presently, I recommend the Grande Ronde Valley of eastern Oregon. I will have more on specifically recommended Oregon locales in subsequent posts. Minuses: High property taxes. Creeping Californication. Second lowest church attendance rate in the country. Restrictive zoning and expensive building permits in many western counties. Private party gun sales at gun shows were recently banned. All transactions involving modern (post-1898) gun at gun shows must now be processed through a FFL -licensed dealer, with the requisite paperwork. Sadly, since gun shows are the best place to find a decent selection of used guns, and since many metropolitan newspapers now refuse to run gun ads in their classified sections, I consider this change in the Oregon law a significant hit against firearms freedom. Parts of the state are recommended, (with reservations). Note: I probably should have given Oregon a lower ranking, due to its mediocre gun and tax laws. However, its favorable climate and long growing season pushed it up the list slightly. JWR’s Combined Retreat Potential Ranking: 3 of 19. South Dakota

South Dakota: Population: 754,800. Population Density: 9.78 per square mile (Rank 16 of JWR’s top 19 states). Area: 77,100 square miles (rank 16 of 50). Average car insurance cost: $618/yr. (rank 46 of 50). Average home insurance cost: $380/yr. (rank 42 of 50. ) Crime Safety Ranking: 4 of 50. Boston T. Party’s State Firearms Laws Ranking: 69%. Per capita income: $25,958 (rank 34 of 50). ACT & SAT Scores Ranking: 12 of 50. Plusses: Very low population density and crime rate! A low “total tax burden” of 8.9%. Low car insurance rates. Minuses: Cold winters and a short growing season. Like its northern sibling, South Dakota has major nuclear targets, so I only recommend that you look west (upwind) of the missile fields. JWR’s Combined Retreat Potential Ranking: 7 of 19.

A SurvivalBlog Reader Adds: Having just left South Dakota after 16 years there, I might add concerning the cold and short growing season: 20 below for weeks on end, pretty hefty wind on top of that, and a 90 day growing season if you are lucky. One year I had to replant beans 3 times, the last after they were snow killed in June. Another drawback for the state is lack of potable water. My well put out 5 GPM and that was considered a good well and at it was 300 feet deep, to boot. The majority of the water there is very alkaline, or from natural hot water underground sources and extremely heavy on the minerals. That really plays havoc with water faucets and water heater elements. Lastly, there is no wood in the state to speak of for heating purposes either except pine, in the very western part of the state. Best, - “Mrs. Golf”

Another SurvivalBlog Reader Adds: South Dakota can be seen having two distinct climate regions: West River (west of the Missouri), and “East River”. East River has a steady population growth, especially south of Sioux Falls. This is mostly due to the explosive growth of the medical industry. Much of it is zone 5 for growing, with some zone 6 (and zone 4) microclimates. They have excellent rainfall, lesser amounts of snow and more moderate seasons. Winter nights rarely reach -20 F. There is a cold period usually in January that lasts about three weeks. At this time, temps can reach the -20 F range for a few days, and highs can be 0 to 10 above. This is usually mitigated quickly by southern air flow. Some of the smaller, family-held farms grow peaches and even a cold-hardy variety of almonds. There is abundant game, due in part to the large tracts of corn, soybeans and alfalfa.

East River has more tornadoes than West River, on average, but all South Dakota tornadoes tend to be smaller (EF3 or less) and shorter-lived than those further south in Tornado Alley. As a storm chaser myself, South Dakota is rarely in my prime target area during chase season.

West River is quite a bit drier and has a much lower water table. However, south central South Dakota is on the northern edge of the Oglala Aquifer, which has excellent water at around 180 feet (or less, depending on the lay of the land). Again, smaller ranches have grown and managed tree rows, not only for protection from winter winds but also as a continual source of firewood.

Game is abundant in West River areas, too. Turkey, mule deer, whitetail deer, pheasants, and even elk are found on the plains. There are cougars, coyotes and lynx too, so it is prudent to guard livestock.

There is a big difference in various areas of South Dakota, and it is worth checking out places south of I-90 and west of the Missouri River. North of I-90 is cold and dry, and some areas have problems with shifting topsoil, especially around the Pierre area. However, a well-managed retreat could easily and comfortably farm small areas to produce enough food for their group and still have leftovers to barter. Numerous windmills make irrigation of small areas simple. The water does contain a lot of minerals, but this is a plus. It dramatically reduces the mineral requirements (vitamin supplements) for livestock and humans. And the extremely low human population makes it very attractive.

There are numerous small “canyons” and buttes in which to create housing that commands a view of the area, but is hidden to all but the most astute observers. People are courteous and helpful to their neighbors, but will close ranks on obnoxious “outsiders” and tourists. Most are competent with firearms, many are veterans, and virtually all ascribe to basic Christian values. There is also a huge homeschooling base and an availability of competent midwives (although their practice is still illegal in the state).

I’d say South Dakota should be a tad higher on the list. - Bobbi from South Dakota Texas

Texas: Population: 20.8 million. Population Density: 77.9 per square mile (Rank 4 of JWR’s top 19 states). Area: 266,800 square miles (rank 2 of 50). Average car insurance cost: $759/yr. (rank 25 of 50). Average home insurance cost: $880/yr. (rank 1 of 50). Crime Safety Ranking: 41 of 50. Boston T. Party’s State Firearms Laws Ranking: 82%. Per capita income: $27,752 (rank 24 of 50). ACT & SAT Scores Ranking: 47 of 50. Plusses: Has a high rating in “education freedom” (ranked #6 of 50), since Texas has relaxed home schooling laws, but the public schools are far below average. Texas is just plain huge. The population density figure cited above is skewed by the Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston metro areas. A lot of Texas out in the hinterboonies is very lightly populated. Minuses: High population density (by western U.S. standards.) Major population centers. Very high crime rate. Hurricane prone (ranked #1 of the coastal states.) Coastal Texas and +/- 50 miles inland is in the hurricane zone. Extremely high home insurance rates. (Average of $880 per year–ranked #1 in the country for 2005–but probably soon to be surpassed by Louisiana.) High ratio of illegal aliens. Some rural parts of the state are recommended, with reservations. JWR’s Combined Retreat Potential Ranking: 13 of 19. Utah

Population: 2.23 million. Population Density: 26.2 per square mile (Rank 11 of JWR’s top 19 states). Area: 84,900 square miles (rank 11 of 50). Average car insurance cost: $718/yr. (rank 32 of 50). Average home insurance cost: $378/yr. (rank 43 of 50.) Crime Safety Ranking: 14 of 50. Boston T. Party’s State Firearms Laws Ranking: 76%. Per capita income: $23,436 (rank 44 of 50). ACT & SAT Scores Ranking: 7 of 50. Plusses: A great state to live in if you are a LDS (Mormon) Church member. On average Utah has the best prepared families in America. (By church doctrine, one year of food storage is recommended.) That is commendable. The norm for home construction in the state is to include an extra large pantry to accommodate storage food. (Commonly called a “fruit room” in LDS parlance.) Nearly every LDS ward has its own food storage cannery. Fairly low crime rate. (Utah has two of the safest metropolitan areas in the country: Orem, ranked #7, and Provo, ranked #9.) The only significant street crime is on the west side of Salt Lake City. Low car insurance rates. Minuses: Ground water is scarce in parts of the state, so check on well water before buying. Utah might be a poor retreat/relocation choice if you are not a LDS Church member. Non-LDS members of any religious persuasion are still derisively called “gentiles” by some LDS members. In practice, many LDS families do not have a true full year of storage food. Highly regulated home schooling. JWR’s Combined Retreat Potential Ranking: 6 of 19. Washington

Washington: Population: 5.9 million. Population Density: 86.6 per square mile (Far less in the eastern half of the state!) Very high population density (by western U.S. standards.) (Rank 3 of JWR’s top 19 states). Area: 68,100 square miles (rank 20 of 50). Average car insurance cost: $803/yr. (rank 19 of 50). Average home insurance cost: $428/yr. (rank 31 of 50). Crime Safety Ranking: 30 of 50. Boston T. Party’s State Firearms Laws Ranking: 57%. Per capita income: $31,230 (rank 11 of 50). ACT & SAT Scores Ranking: 10 of 50 (tied with Oregon). Plusses: Low property taxes in some of the eastern counties. (But rising!) Whitman county Washington taxes rose 80% from 1988 to 1995. In 2002, the annual tax bill was $3,047 on a $200,000 home. (Second highest in the state.) The median home value in 2000 for Washington was $168,300, up 38 percent since 1990, adjusted for inflation. The average statewide property tax rate in Washington is $13.53 per $1,000 of assessed value. Minuses: Creeping Californication. Highly regulated home schooling. Fairly high crime rates in the Western counties and in the larger cities in the eastern half of the state—such as Spokane, Yakima, and the Tri-Cities (Richland/Pasco/Kennewick) region. A draconian business gross receipts tax of 1.5%-to-3%. Marginal gun laws. Very high sales tax. (8.8%) Parts of the state are recommended. (See my detailed retreat locale recommendations posted starting September 24, 2005.) Note: I probably should have given Washington a lower ranking, due to its mediocre tax and gun laws. However, like Oregon, its favorable climate and growing season pushed it up the list. JWR’s Combined Retreat Potential Ranking: 4 of 19.

A Reader in Washington Adds: Sales taxes vary per county over a very wide range. Gas tax is $0.28 per gallon. Just for fun, check out this link for “major” taxes in the Evergreen state. Yikes. There are also more than a few badges (not obvious, but there nonetheless if you know what to look for) at our local gun shows at the County fairgrounds. Keeping an eye on who, what, and how much. Not particularly comfortable about that one. Best Regards, and keep up the good work. - T.S. Wyoming

Population: 493,780. Population Density: 5 per square mile (Rank 19 of JWR’s top 19 states). Area: 97,800 square miles (rank 9 of 50). Average car insurance cost: $646/yr. (rank 44 of 50). Average home insurance cost: $484/yr. (rank 20 of 50). Crime Safety Ranking: 7 of 50. Boston T. Party’s State Firearms Laws Ranking: 93%. Per capita income: $27,372 (rank 28 of 50). ACT & SAT Scores Ranking: 16 of 50. Plusses: Low population density, very low crime rate, no income tax. Open carry is legal is fairly commonplace. “No-permit required” concealed carry was enacted in 2011. Low car insurance rates. Minuses: Brutally cold winters, especially at higher elevations. Minimal growing season. (Snow has been reported in every month of the year in every county in Wyoming!) There are missile fields (see map) in the southeast corner of the state. (Part of the large array of missile sites that overlaps into northern Colorado and parts of Nebraska.) These ICBM missile silos would be primary targets in the event of a full scale nuclear exchange.

Wyoming is not recommended for a survivalist with a small to moderate budget. However, if you are someone who is wealthy and who can stand the cold, Wyoming should be bumped up to your top choice. Taxes will be a big issue for you—and Wyoming has no income tax. As someone “of means” you will be able to afford lots of food storage, voluminous fuel storage, and a large greenhouse to make up for the severe climate. Look for natural gas producing areas so that you can run your vehicles on “drip oil.” Anyone considering relocating to Wyoming should read Boston T. Party’s novel Molon Labe, which depicts a Libertarian political coup in the state, as part of the nascent “Free States” migration movement. Two related groups are currently encouraging libertarians to move to New Hampshire and Wyoming to create a political sea change. See: and Note: I probably should have given Wyoming a higher ranking, due to its favorable gun and tax laws. However, its severe climate and minimal growing season pushed it down the list. If you can stand hard winters, by all means consider Wyoming a top choice. JWR’s Combined Retreat Potential Ranking: 5 of 19. Detailed Retreat Locale Data For detailed recommendations within the aforementioned 19 states, see my book Rawles on Retreat and Relocation . Available Retreat Properties Some worthy properties are listed at our spin-off web site,

Copyright 2005-2011. All Rights Reserved by James Wesley, Rawles -™ The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of my employer. ©2006 James Wesley, Rawles

American Redoubt "American Redoubt"

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Snippet from Wikipedia: American Redoubt

The American Redoubt is a political migration movement first proposed in 2011 by survivalist novelist and blogger James Wesley Rawles which designates three states in the northwestern United States (Idaho, Montana, Wyoming), and adjoining portions of two other states (eastern Oregon, and eastern Washington) as a safe haven for conservative, libertarian-leaning Christians and Jews. Rawles chose this area due to its low population density and lack of natural hazards.

It is difficult to measure how many people have been influenced by the proposal to move to these states; USA Today estimated that anywhere from "hundreds" to "a few thousand" people may have come, although some may have moved for reasons of general cultural affinity rather than being directly influenced by Rawles's proposal.

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