2020. What a year! The uncertainty dumped on us from multiple directions — uncertainty that is far from over — has been, from a historical aspect, absolutely unprecedented for the United States of America. From COVID-19 to the lockdowns to the presidential election to protestors in the streets, our way of life has been upended. I’m regularly thankful to not live in an incorporated urban area. We live among a group of neighbors we can trust if civil unrest erupts. But what if you live in an urban or suburban area and you don’t have or can’t afford a second home to which you can retreat? Maybe the Fortitude Ranch Survival Community is for you.
Fortitude Ranch West Virginia
There are currently two Fortitude Ranch locations in operation: one in Colorado and one in West Virginia. Neither location has an address listed for security reasons. And the locations can’t be easily spotted with Google Earth, as they don’t look like “survivalist” compounds.
I visited the West Virginia location with my former lieutenant, who had told me about Fortitude Ranch. The ranch is nestled in the mountains on the eastern side of West Virginia. Steve Rene, the operations manager, set up a time for us to tour and interview. Anyone is able to make an appointment to see the facility for a fee of $25.
Fortitude Ranch West Virginia is located on more than 50 highly defensible acres that abut the George Washington National Forest. From the road, Fortitude appears to be nothing more than a very nice, two-story log cabin with some additional buildings on site. A driveway running up the middle leads to a newer three-story cabin. It is purposely designed to be inconspicuous.
Prepare With Fortitude
Fortitude Ranch believes one should “Prepare for the Worst … Enjoy the Present,” according to its motto. To help members prepare for the worst, the ranch offers a wide range of on-site survival training. There is an emphasis on shooting as well as bonding among members. Group survival depends on unit cohesion, and most members have not met before joining.
The outdoor firearms range at Fortitude allows opportunities to fire at stationary targets from various positions. There is not currently electronic targeting equipment, but a safe backstop away from the cabins still offers practice time. Due to 10 inches of snow before our visit, we were unable to make it up to the range location.
The property includes three covert surveillance structures: a specialty gazebo, a tower hidden amongst the trees and another cabin. The shooting range lies just beyond these. The ranch also keeps farm animals and ample space for gardens.
In the spirit of enjoying the present, the ranch serves as a getaway vacation recreational site for members when not in use for crises. This is a great bonus, allowing members to get additional use out of the investment. We toured the beautiful two-story cabin, which was originally a private home before Disaster Preparedness LLC purchased it. It appeared to be a modern vacation home with all the amenities — no sandbags or fortified shutters in sight.
Fortitude Ranch Members
According to Rene, Fortitude has approximately 100 current members of varying backgrounds. Many members come from D.C., working for several agencies and bringing useful skills to the facility.
I think that Fortitude was extremely well-thought-out in terms of engineering, quality and design. It was obvious during our tour that the core focus is on the security of the members from all possible threats of societal collapse. Preparations also include a medical room with supplies, an exam table and a hospital bed.
Fortitude Ranch’s website has much more information, including a membership fee schedule and photos. Investment opportunities are also available, as business has been booming of late and more ranches are being planned around critical areas in the U.S.
Fortitude Ranch: FortitudeRanch.com
About Scott W. Wagner
Scott W. Wagner has been a law enforcement officer since 1980, working undercover in liquor and narcotics investigations and as a member, sniper and assistant team leader of a SWAT team. He currently works as a patrol sergeant. He is a police firearms instructor, certified to train revolver, semi-automatic pistol, shotgun, semi- and fully automatic patrol rifle, and submachine gun. Scott also works as a criminal justice professor and police academy commander.