Letter Re: Northern Idaho Versus Northwestern Montana as Retreat Locales

As a family we all live in Montana. Now our whole family is considering relocating to a larger parcel in different part of NW Montana, or to Priest River area or Bonners Ferry area of Idaho. We have found several suitable parcels. Politically why is Idaho better than Montana? Are the people in Idaho more stable than those in Montana? Strategically why is North Idaho better than northwestern Montana?
It seems to me the people in both states are very freedom minded. It also seems to me that the area around the capital of Idaho is becoming very liberal. What are your thoughts on this?
As I recall Clinton signed a paper while in office making the Border Patrol the ultimate law enforcement agency within 26 miles of our northern and southern borders. That is one
of the reasons you will see them participating on many sheriff’s calls here. What do you think about living within the 26 mile Federal Clinton Border Zone in Idaho or Montana? What do you know about the US Dragon Troops being deployed along the Canadian Border?
I’m looking forward to your comments regarding these issues in SurvivalBlog. – Martin in Montana

JWR Replies: To begin, from the criterion of scale of government gun laws, home schooling regulation, and taxes, I consider Idaho and Montana roughly comparable. Unlike Idaho, Montana has no sales tax, but has fairly expensive car registration. Both states have moderately low property taxes. Most counties in Montana do not require residential building permits. Both Idaho and Montana are open range states. Both states have excellent hunting and fishing, with relatively inexpensive licenses and tags.(Their “sportsman’s package”combination licenses are very similar in features and prices.) As you can see from my state level rankings, I rate Idaho #1 and Montana #2. They would probably be tied for first place if it weren’t for the colder climate east of the Great Divide (which limits crop diversity), and Montana’s nuclear targets. (None of which are in the northwestern part of the state, which would be safely upwind.) Parts of the USFS land in both states are currently targeted for expansion of designated wilderness areas under the pending Northern Rockies Ecosystem Act, which could be an issue when selecting retreat properties. (This law would curtail vehicular access, firewood cutting, and hunting rights for adjoining landowners.)

The reference to the 3rd Chemical Brigade “Dragon Soldiers” that you read was a piece of typical hyperbole from Sorcha Faal. She is notorious for mixing truth, half-truths, and absolute lies into her unique brand of “alternative journalism.” I consider her a gray propaganda asset of the Russian Federalnaya Sluzhba Bezopasnosti (FSB) the successor to the Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti (KGB.) Anything that appears under her byline should be read with strong suspicion. (For each of her stories, ask yourself: Cui bono?)

I generally recommend avoiding buying property that is within 30 miles of the national border. The Border Patrol is indeed authorized to enter private property along the border without permission or prior notice. I have heard a few horror stories about Border Patrol agents zipping around on private property in SUVs or on quad ATVs, just to flex their jurisdictional muscles.But thusfar nearly all of these incidents have occurred within 10 miles of the border and only in a few enforcement “sectors.” Parenthetically, I recently spent an afternoon with Todd Savage and a consulting client, touring two prospective retreat properties up in north Idaho. One of these parcels was several hundred acres, and it was literally right on the border. (The north property line was the national border.) I gave the client a thumbs-up on the retreat’s water resources, agricultural potential, and defendabilty, but I also issued a strong proviso that they needed to interview the seller and the neighbors about how often they see Border Patrol officers and what enforcement access rights they have exercised.