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Report: The Safest Areas in America During a National Emergency

(by Joel M. Skousen, Strategic Relocation Blog via SHTFplan.com) -- I have often been asked to comment on Jim Rawles’ concept of the Redoubt for survival relocation.  Rawles’ criteria of distance from population threats, defendability, and agricultural suitability focus upon a fairly limited area of the Western US, centered around Idaho, and includes Western Montana and parts of Eastern Washington and Oregon.  In reality, it’s a fine area and certainly matches my core recommendations in Strategic Relocation for security, safety and livability, but it may be too limiting for most people.

However, having consulted with people and designed high security residences for the last 40 years around North America, I realize all too well that most people have financial, distance from family, weather and other personal limitations that simply won’t allow for relocation to an area so far north and remote from their needs as the Redoubt.  Some people, for example, need access to an international airport hub, which doesn’t exist in the Redoubt.  Others need a drier, sunnier climate for health reasons or even more solar potential.  Others simply need something closer to the metro area that have to remain in due to job or family reasons.

The map in Figure 1 below represents what I would recommend as an Expanded Secure Relocation Area. I don’t use the term “redoubt” because of its military defense implications. Even though I believe in defensibility at the retreat level I don’t like to infer that some broader military resistance strategy is possible for most people. For individual families I prefer less confrontational strategies of blending in, or getting out of the way, or concealment as the best form of defense for most people.

The area I have outlined is what is generally referred to as the Intermountain West and includes the Great Basin—that high desert plain between the Cascade/Sierra Mountains of Washington, Oregon and California over to the middle of the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and New Mexico.  These two mountain ranges converge as they get further north and merge in Canada.  They provide a pretty formidable barrier for those coming from the West Coast or the Midwest.  In addition, the Great Basin has within its boundaries hundreds of miles of trackless desert and mountain areas that provide isolation by distance and hardship for anyone entering the area without vehicles, fuel and water.

That doesn’t mean everything within these bounders is equally safe, secure, or livable.  Obviously, border areas near California or Denver are not as safe as those in the central areas more distant from population threats. A person must be careful to select specific locations that meet the survival criteria others and I have outlined in Strategic Relocation.  The climate, for example, in this expanded area allows for a lot more use of solar in Nevada, Utah, western Colorado, and Northern Arizona.  And even though much drier than the Northwest, snowfall does fill mountain reservoirs which provides a reliable flow of irrigation water if you pick the right area.  Sure, the high mountain deserts can’t provide for large masses of people, but we aren’t trying to save the whole world here, just those who have the forethought to relocate in advance of the coming world crises, be they war, economic or disease.

This expanded security area centers around Salt Lake City, which is the only big metro area in the region and which has the full range of commercial facilities including an international airport (hub for Delta Airlines).  Most of the other smaller cities in the West have feeder flights into SLC. The Salt Lake Valley itself is not recommended for security, even though it is safer than most other large metro areas, unless you have an additional retreat in or past the many secure areas which surround SLC.  Unlike Denver, where the high mountains are miles away from the unsafe city area, in Utah the Wasatch Front of the Rocky mountains come right down to the city’s edge and provide not only quick access to mountain retreat areas but a barrier to social unrest from the cities.

This isn’t to say that you have to be anywhere near SLC or the center of the expanded secure area in order to find safety. I still highly recommend the Northern Idaho and Western Montana areas of Rawles’ Redoubt.  But for people who have to remain in California or Southern Arizona, it’s just too far for a retreat.  That is why I have included the forested higher elevations of Northern Arizona and Southern Utah for those needing to get out of Southern California or Phoenix and reach their retreat in one day.

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