COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho (KOIN) — Not far from the sparkling waters of Coeur d’Alene and the bustling streets of the town it’s named after, there’s a growing movement of people preparing for a disaster that could trigger the end of the world as we know it.
It’s called the American Redoubt, and it’s bringing survivalists from around the world to an area that spans across northwestern Montana, northern Idaho, eastern Washington and parts of Oregon.
“There are just more people that are waking up,” Revolutionary Realty owner Chris Walsh said. “It’s a place of refuge… where people can go to be more secure and in an environment where they’ll be around more like-minded people.”
Walsh moved to Coeur d’Alene from Detroit almost a decade ago and now helps other preppers — for lack of a better term — find homes and get away from it all.
He’s currently working with about 2,500 people who all have one thing in common: they’re afraid of the day when society as we know it ceases to exist. Whether it be fear of a financial collapse, a widespread terrorist attack on American soil, or the depletion of the food supply, they want to know they’ll be ready.
“There are just a lot of things in America that aren’t what they used to be,” Walsh said. “There’s a lot more crime in the country itself, there’s a lot more unrest.”
But buying property to prepare for the end of times isn’t cheap.
Walsh gave KOIN 6 News a look inside an 800 square-foot cabin that costs a cool $150,000. It’s completely off the grid, which he says many survivalists strive for.
Outside the cabin is a makeshift root cellar, the closest thing to a legitimate bunker on the property.
It has other attractive features, like solar panels that generate all of the cabin’s electricity.
“The home and the land here are pretty good examples of prepper-ready property,” Walsh said. “Most other places, though, you’ll have to invest a lot of time, money and effort to get what you want.”
Still, there’s plenty of room to personalize the ready-to-go cabins.
Despite some misconceptions, the American Redoubt isn’t a game of politics: red or blue, conservative or liberal. The community isn’t racist, Walsh said, and it isn’t exclusive. People don’t walk around in gas masks or with guns over their shoulders.
“How long does it take for it to turn from civilized, decent people who are civil with each other, to animals? I don’t think it’s that long.” – Chris Walsh
At the end of the day, those involved in the movement just want to be able to make it on their own, without the luxuries of modern life and without the government.
“People that come out here and prep, that put stuff together, are not doing it for the end of the world,” Walsh said. “They’re doing it for the day after.”