US ranch readies ‘doomsday preppers’ for catastrophes

World Today

US ranch readies 'doomsday preppers' for catastrophes

Survivalism is a growing trend in the United States. So-called “doomsday preppers” spend thousands of U.S. dollars per year getting ready for natural catastrophes, nuclear war or the collapse of society.

CGTN’s Giles Gibson reports.

If you don’t spot the concrete bunker as you drive in, Fortitude Ranch in West Vergina, could be a quaint bed and breakfast in the country.

Look a little closer, though, and there are clues everywhere of its other purpose, a survival community.

“Think about health insurance or life insurance, especially life insurance, because that only pays you when you’re dead!” explains Steven Rene, Operations Manager of Fortitude Ranch. “This can be an insurance for your actual living life, right now.”

For around $1000 per year, members can stay at the ranch and enjoy the stunning surroundings.

They’re also expected to have basic firearms skills in case they need to pull guard duty from one of the guard towers on the ranch’s perimeter.

At one of the ranch’s bunkers is one meter of earth and 20 cm of reinforced concrete. The manager says it’s designed to withstand a nuclear shockwave.

And he says he’s concerned about American society splitting at the seams.

“The very fabric of our culture is starting to unravel, we’ve become a nation of almost haters of one against another, so you have the idea of civil unrest, especially with such a tumultuous political season that we’re heading into,” said Rene.

Despite rising political polarization in the U.S., analysts still rate it as one of the most stable countries in the world.

And they say cyberattacks are replacing some of the more traditional threats ‘doomsday preppers’ are getting ready for.

“Unlike the Cold War, where there was eventually a fairly well-developed framework for how to manage tensions and deterrents between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, we don’t have that framework, at present,  for how to manage tensions in the cyber domain,” said Jonathan Wood of Control Risks.

Fortitude Ranch’s motto explains their members’ world view: “Prepare for the worst, enjoy the present.”