The following article comes to us from our friends at Strategic Relocation and has been contributed by well known relocation specialist Joel Skousen. As is usually the case with Mr. Though this review centers in large part on Northern Idaho, the many variables involved in finding your perfect home are discussed and can be applied to potential retreat locations anywhere in the country.
Skousen has been asked to do a weekly column on different places of interest to people looking to relocate for security, both in the US, Canada and abroad —for those interested in international retreats. Be sure and check back each week for more detailed analysis of great safe places and check out Mr. As you contemplate relocation to a safe area you should carefully consider what threats you are seeking to mitigate.
I cover the full range of threats in Strategic Relocation —including some very serious ones that few have on their radar a future nuclear world war with Russia and China, for example. In your assessment you need to consider many competing factors, including acceptable climate, distance to town and needed services, neighbors, physical safety from potential refugees and lawlessness, and how to do all this while maintaining your financial lifeline.
Both Todd Savage and Nick Matthews of Survival Retreat Consulting SRC and I spend a lot of time with our separate consulting clients trying to balance out these conflicting needs of safety and security with location and convenience during good times. Others, who need to be closer, or in town for work, should establish a semi-rural suburban residence for convenience and a separate retreat or rural farm for ultimate safety. The more rural you are, the higher the cost of building, maintaining equipment and commuting to civilization—and, the higher your expenses for services including utilities, alternate energy and internet connectivity.
The more your priorities emphasize closeness to a community, the higher your risks will be during a social meltdown, and the more precise must be your preparations to bug out to a separate retreat. In many ways this northern panhandle of Idaho is one of my favorite areas in all of the United States because it combines distance from large population centers, good forestation at low altitudes, plenty of water for agriculture, and very low government regulation for building permits.
If there is any downside, it is its far northern latitude that brings very cold winter weather, although there are noted microclimates in Boundary County. The occasional heavy snowfall, however, is clearly a benefit as in all the Rockies , because that provides the reserve of water to grow fir trees, and fills the lakes and aquifers that abound in the area. This area has unique geographic features that determine the weather patterns.
The Idaho mountains are close enough to the Pacific coastal areas that the panhandle receives waves of moisture from the Pacific Maritime flow during October through April when the storms are strong enough to push through and over the Rockies—giving northern Idaho constant cloudy and rainy weather—just like the Pacific Northwest. But during the late spring and summer, those storms are weaker and reach the Idaho Panhandle less often yielding very nice summer weather.
The other great feature of this area, and a product of the adequate rainfall, is the predominance of pine and fir forests at low elevations, which is a much sought after feature in my retreat philosophy, not only for beauty but for creating a private homestead. Sandpoint offers excellent skiing in the winter and spectacular boating and fishing on Lake Pend Oreille in the summer. From a security standpoint, Boundary County to the north is even more remote.
The main threat from social unrest and the resulting refugee flows comes from I which will channel people from Seattle into Spokane—the largest city in Eastern Washington, and right on the Idaho border.
Fortunately, there are a eight key tactical points that may slow or stop travel northward to Sandpoint and then to Boundary County, including a number of bridges SEE MAP.
Remember, that it is actually beneficial for your safety to have numerous towns between your location and major cities, to absorb refugees. For example, the Paradise Valley bench outside Bonners Ferry is a spectacular spot, for both sun exposure and food production, however there is a layer of silt that can be as deep as feet before hitting the water table.
The local community has tapped into a large aquifer on the bench and built a community system that is fed by this aquifer. These seem to work fine and the only improvement you would have to consider if you tap into the community system is to install a cistern to store water, or drill your own well if funds are available, for back up. This not to say not to look in these areas, just ask your Prepper Realtor or Consultant to pull well logs for the surrounding properties before your final property selection and subsequent purchase.
Not in any order they are as follows; First, along District Two Road just north and running east of the bridge in Bonners Ferry is some of the most fertile ground in the county along with the North Bench and Kootenai River bottom heading towards Porthill, Idaho along the Kootenai River.
You will have to ascertain your risk level of being about 63 miles down stream from the Libby dam which has had previous seismic issues and the rate of flooding should the dam give way for any reason. There is a spectacular retreat for sale at the end of District Two Road. It features varied terrain from cliffs to many acres of fertile and defensible ground, and feet of Kootenai River frontage. This spectacular retreat is located 2 miles past a locked gate at the end of the county road.
The Point Retreat will meet even the most discerning Preppers retreat shopping criteria. As the Kootenai River runs north the large fertile basin on both sides of highway 95, as it heads toward the Canadian border. The Eastport area is higher in elevation and the growing season is shorter, although there are several retreats just south of Eastport that have spectacular water and defensibility. Staying on the west side and going north on Highway 1 to the Porthill border crossing is some of the most spectacular views and property in all of Boundary county.
The growing season on the North Bench near Porthill is better with good sun exposure and abundant water from spring runoff from the mountains. Several such gravity fed springs make up a local community water system in Porthill that is gravity fed to the under residents.
The Meadow Creek Road region just off Highway 2 and heading north to the Canadian border is a wonderful retreat area as well. However, properties are few and far between on both Meadow Creek and Old Highway 2 Loop, and when the good Prepper properties come for sale they go quickly.
Staying north of the Kootenai River in Bonners Ferry is highly recommended, if possible. In Bonner County, the Selle Valley area is a wonderful location known for excellent growing, sun exposure and on most properties, live year round water and some springs, depending upon property location. This is a great area for those that may want to be closer to town for various reasons and enjoy a bit more interaction in the town of Sandpoint pop There are a lot of higher altitude areas that are not suitable for growing, but make excellent high-security retreats.
Be aware that some snow levels can reach over 20 feet plus, so be sure to ask neighbors as you identify properties and pay attention to elevation and snowfall records. The lowest elevation in the County is at the Porthill river crossing at about feet above sea level, which has only slight to moderate snowfall—with allot of rain in the winter, like downtown Bonners Ferry.
Sandpoint offers a wide variety of multi-cultural restaurants and entertainment venues. It has an old town atmosphere and even has a local city beach. Security concerns during good times are limited to petty crimes with violent crimes few and far between, as you would expect from a small rural town anywhere USA.
For a post-collapse scenario, there is still the Sandpoint Long Bridge over Lake Pend Oreille and the Newport Bridge to help slow and stop any moving threat. The application does not require the divulgence of your building plans, so your safe rooms and storage will not be public record and subject to scrutiny.
If you are installing a septic system, a permit is also required from Panhandle Health; if you are drilling a well, a permit is required from the Idaho Department of Water Resources; and if you are building a new driveway connecting to a county road, a permit from County Road and Bridge is required.
Boundary County wants to ensure that the parcel meets the minimum lot size for the zone district in which construction is taking place or that the parcel is a legal non-conforming lot of record, that set-back requirements are met, that the property where the home is being placed does not lie within wetland or flood zones identified by the Federal Emergency.
In Boundary County, this is literally a one-man show: Walk in and talk to Dan Studer and chat about the parcel and placement before making the one page application.
Subdividing Property, if you need to, is a simple process as well, depending upon the parcels location and current zoning. A simple subdivision application to divide an un-platted parcel into five or fewer parcels, each meeting minimum parcel size within the zone district and each with approved driveway access to an existing public street or road in Boundary County can still be HAND DRAWN on a one-page application! If you plan to build a fully sustainable retreat off-grid, alternative energy and wish not to have a state inspector in your home, you can purchase your supplies and then hire a local state certified contractor to do the install and sign-off for you.
This applies to your plumbing and septic as well. Bonner County, Idaho Sandpoint , is very similar in requirements, with several additions, which will impact those of you that intend to build safe rooms and storage in your new home.
First, Bonner County requires a Building Location Permit with Diagrammatic floor plans and elevations of the structure in sufficient detail to identify the size and use of all components and floors of the structure, stamped by Panhandle Health septic permits. This is an easy solution if you have found a great parcel in Bonner County.
The entire region is very beautiful, with lots of mountains, lakes and rivers for recreation like camping, mountain biking, hiking, hunting and fishing. Soils range from sandy loam to clayish, and are of sufficient depth in most areas that building a basement is not a problem. There are some areas that are very rocky, so be sure to ascertain this before any purchase. I find most of the people in the area open and friendly, generally, with a strong mix of religious conservatives and libertarians, but as in all rural areas, you find a few strange ones.
Although I wholeheartedly disagree with their racist beliefs, I did interview him and his cohorts many years ago and came away with evidence that this was an infiltrated government operation meant to tarnish the reputation of all conservative dissidents everywhere, just like the Ruby Ridge fiasco which also happened in Boundary County.
Butler died in and his followers were run out of the county by a lawsuit and the compound was torn down. The good news is, however, that his attempt is looking like a failure. Realistically, this kind of extremist association, often driven by government agent provocateurs, is something we have to deal with in any highly sought after retreat area—and one of the prime reasons I caution against joining formal survivalist or militia organizations that draw the attention of government.
Build your own informal network of people you trust. Idaho is one of two 5 star out of a possible 5 rated states in Strategic Relocation. You will be surrounded by spectacular beauty, good access to moderate sized cities without urban blight, and be amongst a significant concentration of like-minded people with family values. Also of high importance—the Pacific Northwest, in general, is very open minded, so their acceptance for quality newcomers is high.
Be sure to check out www. Nick brings years of experience to the SRC team as an officer and a Bronze Star recipient from his combat action overseas with the U. Click here to subscribe: Join over one million monthly readers and receive breaking news, strategies, ideas and commentary. Read by 46, people Date: July 11th, Website: This content has been contributed to SHTFplan by a third-party or has been republished with permission from the author. Please contact the author directly for republishing information.