Letter Re: Why No Retreat Recommendations for the Northeastern US?

I’m curious as to why you have not included the Northeast in your list of Retreat Areas–like Vermont, New Hampshire & Maine, very good candidates. Especially the northern areas of these states. Regards, – Wayne B.

JWR Replies: You might have missed this subsection in my Recommended Retreat Areas page:

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: DarkSky.org. A picture tells a thousand words.

I stand by that guidance. Yes, I continue to get flack about it from easterners. But they’d take the time to travel through the western US and see just how lightly populated much of it is, I think they’d change their tune.

If your work and family situations allow it, then move to one of my recommended retreat areas!