Some people in our region are preparing for a storm. It is not related to the weather, but rather a societal storm.
Fears of financial collapse, nuclear attack and political discourse are pushing a migration to parts of the Northwest called the American Redoubt, a term to describe a settlement of largely conservative Christians. They are often preppers who stockpile food, ammunition and other supplies in the event of a catastrophe.
“I think the biggest potential threat is a financial collapse,” said prepper Chris Walsh. “If and when that happens it will not be a very pretty sight.”
For a growing number of preppers, the place of refuge is North Idaho.
Walsh moved to North Idaho from Detroit, a place he described as immersed in chaos. Today, he owns Revolutionary Realty, which caters to preppers, like himself, moving to North Idaho.
“I cater to the crazy people. Sure. The nuts. The ones everybody labels as being insane people who want to live in the woods. The big deal is and the reason I’m doing this interview is, I want to tell you and your viewers that they’re not crazy,” said Walsh.
Walsh said the reality TV show Doomsday Preppers wreaked havoc on the preppers reputation.
“Unfortunately, a lot of people watched that and came to the conclusion that preppers all live in bunkers,” said Walsh. “I don’t have anybody moving to North Idaho with the idea they’re going to move up here in these woods and then live in a hole in the ground.”
Walsh said business is moving at breakneck speed. He has sold more than 100 properties a year to buyers from across the globe.
“Everywhere. Absolutely everywhere. Germany, Britain, France, Canada, Japan, China,” said Walsh. “In the United States, I’d say just about every state in the union.”
According to Walsh, people want to be in a place where they can have plentiful water, grow fresh food and be around like-minded people.
“Sure, some people say that sounds racist. Right? And it’s not. Like-minded people means you want to be around people who have the same thoughts about how to protect their family as you do,” said Walsh.
In many cases, protecting family means avoiding homes sitting out on main street.
“So, the idea is it’s up on a hill, right? And it has good defensibility all the way around and anyone who needs to approach you is coming from below you. So, you can always watch them,” said Walsh.
The idea is if the order of society broke down, you need to weed out friend from foe.
“If things ever did go wrong and there were people actually needing food, this type of thing, you’re going to be a much a bigger target if you’re in the open,” said Walsh.
Many prepper properties have a well, cistern, generator and a root cellar to stockpile food. It relies solely on solar power in the event of a grid failure.
“It’s a heck of a feeling, I can tell you that,” said Walsh. “When you take your own house and you actually unplug from the grid and you know your toaster still works and your microwave still works and your 52-inch TV still works,” said Walsh.
Prepper Warren Campbell said he chose North Idaho because his family heard there were a lot of liberty-minded people there.
Campbell owns Redoubt Surplus and Tactical in Dalton Gardens. He moved his family and his store from California to escape what he calls “tyranny” in the state’s government.
“California cannot get an all-weather notebook because there is something in the manufacture, in the cover and the paper that California has banned,” said Campbell. “This is an example of the egregious laws coming into California that were just choking us.”
In North Idaho, Campbell feels he and his family have more freedom to live how they want and even sell what they want.
Campbell meets a lot of customers riding the redoubt wave.
“I would say about 80 percent of the people I meet here are from California,” said Campbell.
Don and Jonna Bradway left California five years ago. They call the state the “occupied zone,” referring to liberal politics.
“Among the reasons were the increase in taxation. The increasing nanny government that California’s witnessing. The decline of conservative politics,” said Don Bradway.
The Bradways moved to three and a half acres in Hayden where they have prepared for the worst.
“We would be self-sustaining if there were some cataclysmic event,” said Jonna.
“We have food and we have water put away. I make no secret about the fact that I own guns,” said Don.
The Bradways know not everyone may understand or even agree with their lifestyle.
“I’m sure there are people who say ‘Come on, give it a break,’” said Don.
However, there is one thing we can all agree on.
“I hope it doesn’t happen,” said Don.
If something does happen, Don and his friends in the Redoubt are determined to stay prepared.