Letter Re: Two Thousand Miles Into the American Redoubt

Dear Hugh,

For the benefit of your readers allow me to comment on the author’s list of top 15 locations in the Redoubt. By way of disclosure, I do not live in any of those communities, but I am ten miles away from one of them. Also, my business travels in the region over the last fifteen years has taken me to most of those locations many times. All of those towns are wonderful places, with wonderfully solid people living in them and around them. Any disparaging remarks I have about the location is solely based on our assessment of the survivability of the area in a TEOTWAWKI scenario. I do not concur with the author’s assessment of the value of being close to the Canadian Border for three reasons. 1) The further north you go, the colder the winters and the less arable the land is by-in-large 2) Canada’s gun laws are draconian, at best. 3) The number one rule of survivalism is NEVER BECOME A REFUGE. What the author is implying is that if things start to go south at his location in the Redoubt, he plans to do just that…become a refugee. I am also not sure how serious the author was about that criteria, as his number one choice is more like 200 miles from Canada and can be a very treacherous drive in winter.

Dayton, Washington– an extremely good choice; color me impressed. Dayton is the county seat for Columbia County and last I checked the population of Dayton is around 2,500 and the entire county has around 4,000 people. It is an agriculturally-based economy primarily of dry land wheat. The people are wonderful, and trust me he would not be the first “prepper” who came to that conclusion and moved to Dayton. The local hardware store sells #10 cans of freeze-dried food, and there are some wonderfully-solid churches in Dayton. It has close proximity to the Blue Mountains and unlimited outdoor activities, including a very nice little ski resort. Personally, I would live outside of town; for example, I recently saw a listing for a property– 15 acres completely fenced and ready for livestock, two manufactured homes, a barn, off the road seclusion about six miles from Dayton with 800 feet of South Touchet river frontage for $190k. You could do worse than being in a place like that.

Newport, Washington– a nice community but too far north for my taste, and it is more densely populated than you might think, as the Priest River and Pend Oreille Rivers are very popular and are lined on both sides with “cabins” that are stacked on top of each other in some places. Those “Cabins” (many of them are large beautiful homes costing several hundreds of thousands of dollars that just sit on a lot) are primarily owned by Spokane residents who will all decide to “bug out” to their “cabin” and none of them are preppers, so they are just going to bring their city problems to Newport/Priest River, and they won’t be able to drink the water without purification, much less feed themselves. Poor Choice.

Priest River, Idaho– basically the same as Newport, as they are very close. In addition the only way into and out of Priest Lake (where a lot of people live) is through Priest River. As well, the primary route of choice for someone trying to bug out from Spokane over to North Idaho and into Montana (Sand Point, Bonners Ferry, Libby, etc) is right through downtown Priest River. Because of the river the only other way would be I-90 through Coeur d’ Alene.

Republic, Chewelah, Sagle– the same; they are too far north and not good growing conditions. With Chewelah and Sagle being too close to the Spokane/Coeur D’ Alene metroplexis for my taste.

Bonners’ Fairy, Idaho and Libby/ Eureka, Montana– way too far north, not to mention the asbestos problems in Libby from their Vermiculite mining. If you like that general vicinity, I would look a bit south around the Clark Fork area. There are some solid homesteaders in that area and a strong Mormon community who allow non-Mormons to use their well-stocked cannery.

Orofino and Grangeville– beautiful country! And if you want to find some isolation off the beaten path, you can certainly do it around there. Yet a lot of the ground in the surrounding area is steep and densely tree covered. It’s not where I would want to put a homestead/retreat, but you certainly could do worse.

Enterprise, Joseph– nice country also; I could find a place to put down stakes in that area. Just understand you are at elevation (around 3,700’) with an average annual snowfall of 41 inches and a record low temperature of Minus 33 degrees.

Hungry Horse– I’ve been through it but don’t know much about it other than it’s close to the Flathead Valley that over the years has attracted some of the world’s richest people, so the ground is very expensive.

One area not mentioned that would be high on my list is “The Palouse”. After all that’s where I presume the Rawles Ranch is, and the setting for “Patriots” as well as other noted homesteader survivalists, such as Enola Gay of Paratus Familia blog and Patrice Lewis of Rural Revolution blog.

I hope this “boots on the ground” analysis has been helpful to the author and other readers of Survival Blog. – Blakely O