Letter Re: What I Like and Dislike About North Idaho


I thought I would write a note for those who are planning on moving to the American Redoubt about what I like and dislike about North Idaho.

I wasn’t sure if I should start with the good or the bad but have decided that because the good far outweighs the bad, I’ll start with the bad. There are only a couple things that really come to mind that I don’t like. The first is kind of a bigger one, though, and that is that work has been hard to find. I bring this up only because I don’t want anyone else making the mistake that I did. My main mistake was not researching enough myself. I listened to the realtor and what information he and the people whose property we bought provided. That was a big lesson there– be very careful when a person benefits, in this case financially, from how they answer your question. That was entirely my fault. I didn’t do my due diligence.

Most of the jobs I have been able to find were part time. A lot of that was due to Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, if you prefer. The second is kind of related to the first. The cost of living here isn’t that much less than where I moved from. I recently read an article that stated that Idahoans are among the lowest paid in the nation and pay among the highest for essentials, like food. Vehicle registration is a lot cheaper here and so are property taxes and some other things like that. The third is that it took a year, almost exactly, to get to know the neighbors. Once we got to know them, we were told that it took them that amount of time to kind of feel us out and get to know what we were like and also to see if we would stick around after our first Idaho winter. It may be better in the more populated areas, but where I’m at– in a rural area– the people are a bit closed off. It takes time to get to know them. I’m not saying they’re bad people or that taking the time to feel someone out is bad either. It’s just what I have found. I find that no matter where you go there are going to be some bad people. A couple of our neighbors have had druggies steal from them.

There are a lot of things that I do like about living here. It’s absolutely beautiful. I like the more conservative, Constitutional view that the majority of people have. It’s nice being around people that are more like minded. Whether they know it or not, a lot of people here are naturally more prepper minded. Unlike a lot of the western United States, there is still water here. If you’re researching northern Idaho, there is a good chance you’ll come across a lot that has to do with racism. I can’t say that I haven’t seen any of it here. There was a KKK rally near here. I believe that maybe six KKK members showed up for it, but a lot of people showed up in opposition to them. So while there are some racists here, they are the vast minority. I saw more racism in the more liberal states that I have lived in than I have here. I was hesitant to bring it up at all, but it does come up when people look into this area. So I figured it was a good idea to bring up here.

I don’t regret one bit moving here. I love it here. The only thing that I wish was different is that I would have liked to have known more about the couple of things mentioned above. I guess the most important thing I can recommend is that anyone thinking that they want to move this way should research it a lot for themselves. Come visit the area for a little bit. I recommend coming up in the winter. To me it’s the hardest season of the year. If you like it in the winter, you’ll probably love it the rest of the year. The first couple of winters will probably be the hardest on you, if you haven’t lived in a place that has winters like here. Once you get used to it, it’s not that bad–you just have to adjust and get used to it. – G.J.

JWR Replies: That July rally in Spirit Lake got some publicity, but it was not the norm. Just consider that it attracted less than 10 people out of a state population of 1.6 million. That hardly constitutes a “rally,” and it was roundly condemned.