BENEWAH COUNTY, Idaho -- How realistic are plans to build a more than 2,000 acre survivalist compound just south of Coeur d'Alene? Officials in Benewah County, where the group says it hopes to build, says they don't know because they've never heard from the group.
According to Sheriff Dave Resser, neither he nor county commissioners have had any contact with the group making online claims that it is planning a walled, armed community near St. Maries.
The advertised project is called "The Citadel". On the internet, the group of survivalists explains their idea is to build an entire armed community to shield themselves from a possible economic collapse.
Their plan, group members explain, is to build the compound in Benewah County because it's rural and has similarly minded residents. The county sheriff confirms the group has bought 20 acres of land there, but he hasn't seen any activity there.
"There is nothing up on the 20 acres that they have purchased, and at this time, it is inaccessible because of the winter weather," Resser said.
For now, Resser says he'd be cautious about sending in an application to live there, especially with a required more than $200 fee, if accepted.
"No one has been able to talk to any one person [from the group]. As I understand it, it's all being done by the internet. My take would be if you've got $208 to throw away, go ahead and try it. I definitely would not look to get it back if they do not fulfill this project," Resser said.
The sheriff does say they'd welcome more people to move to the county. He also says personally he doesn't have a problem with the extent to which the group intends to arm themselves, with all teenagers and adults carrying and showing proficiency with rifles and handguns.
"As long as they are law abiding citizens, we welcome anybody into the county who buys property and wants to share our rural lifestyle," Resser said. "But a project of this size and nature, the logistics are extreme, to say least. And... road access, power, sewage, none of these items have been approached or even talked about that I have seen."