DC ban on carrying handguns is unconstitutional, federal judge says

Reuters/Kevork Djansezian

“There is no longer any basis on which this Court can conclude that the District of Columbia’s total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny,” Judge Frederick Scullin said.

Therefore, the Court finds that the District of Columbia’s complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional,” Scullin added in his 19-page ruling.

The ruling was made in the PALMER et al v. DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA et al case.

The court order now allows both city residents and non-residents to carry handguns outside their homes.

The case has been dragging on for five years, with the lead attorney for the Second Amendment Foundation, Alan Gura, asking the federal appeals court twice to force Judge Scullin to issue a decision.

I’m very pleased with the decision that the city can’t forbid the exercise of a fundamental constitutional right,” Gura told Fox News. He added, however, that he expects the District to appeal the decision.

The Supreme Court struck down DC’s ban on the possession of handguns in the home in the 2008 case District of Columbia v. Heller, under the basis that it violated the right to bear arms guaranteed by the US Constitution’s Second Amendment. Following the ruling, the DC Council approved regulations that permitted residents to register certain handguns.

‘Refusing to kill their own’: Over 40 Ukrainian soldiers flee to Russia

Izvarino border crossing point in Lugansk Region, Ukraine (RIA Novosti/Valeriy Melnikov)

Follow RT’s live updates on Kiev’s bloody eastern Ukraine campaign

At least 41 Ukrainian soldiers have made it to Russian territory after asking self-defense forces for help, the spokesperson from the Federal Security Service’s Rostov region border patrol unit, Vasily Malaev, told Itar-Tass.

“At around 20:30 Moscow time, 41 Ukrainian soldiers left their military bases and arrived at the Ukrainian border crossing checkpoint Izvarino. They appealed to the militia there for help to with cross into the Russian territory, in connection with the fact that they do not want to fight against their own people,” Malaev said.

All of the soldiers were able to cross into Russia at the Donetsk checkpoint, the spokesperson added.

Meanwhile, a Russian hospital near the Ukrainian border has been treating wounded Ukrainian soldiers. Some of them have expressed their unwillingness to fight for the Ukrainian army, blaming mobilization laws for forcing them to do so.

“I wouldn’t want to. We don’t know who we are fighting. I have no animosity towards Russians. I am not a nationalist, I am not Right Sector,” Ivan, a Ukrainian soldier, told RT.

What right do they have to make us fight? I was mobilized, I received wounds to my hands and now I have to go and fight again with cardboard equipment. They reuse old ammunition and make money off us. The country is falling apart, but for them everything is fine,” he added.

Another soldier questioned the purpose of the military offensive, adding that it is not even clear who the enemy is.

It is all so confusing, who is fighting who and how and what for isn’t clear. Who are these separatists? What do they look like? We don’t know,” Ukrainian soldier Sergey said.

Two other Ukrainian soldiers – major and senior warrant officers – were also among those who fled to Russia and said they intend to apply for Russian citizenship, according to Malaev.

Ukrainian soldiers claim that high-ranking officers rarely come to the frontline, and when they do they try to leave as soon as possible – preferably before dark – RT’s Roman Kosarev reported from Donetsk.

“Millions of dollars have already been spent by Kiev on its punitive action against those they call terrorists. While the country’s leadership ordered yet another mobilization round of its citizens into active armed forces…morale of the soldiers on the ground and the collapsing parliament could become a barrier for their operation target,” Kosarev added.

Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovnaya Rada, approved this week a presidential decree authorizing the limited mobilization of army reserves and material, which will be used to reinforce units fighting in the east of the country. This was part of the Ukrainian president’s peace plan, which involves a unilateral ceasefire by government forces in eastern Ukraine.

On Friday, mothers and wives of Ukrainian soldiers sent to fight in eastern Ukraine kneeled during a demonstration, asking President Petro Poroshenko to end the military offensive.

Read more: Over 20 killed, 80 injured in ‘worst’ shelling of Lugansk by Ukrainian forces

BREAKING: Border Patrol Agents Confirm Their Hours Being Restricted [WATCH INTERVIEW]

Every day, Obama’s administration hits new lows in their dedicated push to destroy the US border and undermine national security. While Congress does nothing, more and more others are finally stepping up with the truth and are pushing back. Rick Perry is sending troops to the border, multiple generals have publicly challenged Obama, and now

River in China mysteriously turns red overnight

This picture taken on July 24, 2014 shows a boat sailing on a red river in Wenzhou, east China's Zhejiang province. (AFP Photo/China Out)

People in the area filled water bottles with water from the river located in Xinmeizhou village, Cangnan County in eastern China’s Zhejiang province.

Early on Thursday morning the water looked normal. “But then suddenly, within the space of a few minutes, the water started turning darker and eventually was completely red,” Local Na Wan told the Daily Express.

We have always been able to catch fish and you can even drink the water because it’s just normally so good,” he added.

Nobody immediately gave a reason for the river turning red, but Wenzhou Environmental Protection Bureau inspectors have taken samples for analysis, reported China Radio International.

According to a local contacted by the station, nothing of the kind had ever happened before and there was no chemical plant upstream.

However, in September 2012, the Yangtze River mysteriously started running red. At that point people considered industrial pollution or silt being churned up as possible causes.

After a few images were reviewed, however, scientists suggested the cause could have been more man made.

Emily Stanley, a professor of limnology (the study of inland waters) at the University of Wisconsin told LiveScience at the time:

“It looks like a pollutant phenomenon,” she said. “Water bodies that have turned red very fast in the past have happened because people have dumped dyes into them.”

Amazing: Israeli Citizen Writes Viral Letter Explaining Why Israel Will NEVER Surrender

As Hamas continues to violate ceasefire agreements and launch rockets into Israel, the Israelis are forced to continue hunting down Hamas fighters, taking out their launch sites and secret tunnels that Hamas has hidden underneath schools, hospitals, mosques, and residential buildings. Hamas is using the Palestinians as human shields to protect themselves and their equipment. 

ISIS ‘beheads scores of Syrian soldiers’ after daring assault on army base (GRAPHIC PHOTOS)

Militant Islamist fighters take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province June 30, 2014. (Reuters)

Conflicting reports have emerged regarding the outcome of the attack, which began when two Saudi suicide bombers simultaneously detonated their payload at different points of the Division 17 base perimeter on Thursday.

Hours of intense firefights followed. The jihadists – who already control much of the northeastern province – attacked from the ground, while government forces used helicopters to strike back while holding fortified positions.

Our brothers stormed the building where dozens of soldiers were inside. We lost 13 martyrs in these battles,” a self-proclaimed ISIS fighter told The New York Times anonymously through Skype.

By Friday evening, the Sunni jihadists began to post video and photo evidence from inside the Division 17 living quarters, in which its fighters burned the portrait of Syrian President Bashar Assad while displaying alcohol and other forbidden items that they purportedly found in soldiers’ lockers. They also claimed that government troops had scattered to nearby villages. Those who were caught were summarily executed. ISIS posted a picture of beheaded officers on Twitter, their heads placed in the central town square.

“I could see only bodies; there were, like, 70 scattered everywhere. Now our brothers with their trucks will bury them in a mass grave,” said the anonymous ISIS fighter.

The government claimed that the base had not been taken over, but that its troops withdrew tactically, awaiting reinforcements ahead of a counter-attack.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 85 government soldiers died (50 through executions), along with nearly 30 ISIS fighters. It added, however, that the government’s losses may be heavier than initially believed.

“Hundreds of troops surviving withdrew on Friday to safe places – either to nearby villages whose residents oppose IS or to nearby Brigade 93 – but the fate of some 200 remains unknown,” said the group’s director, Rami Abdel Rahman.

The Observatory also said that 90 people died in a concurrent attack on a government oil field in Homs.

ISIS, which has declared an Islamic caliphate that stretches from the Mediterranean coast to eastern Iraq, has captured several oil and gas fields, both as an attempt to boost its own earning capacity and to impede its enemies.

The group, which has positioned itself in antagonism to more moderate opposition factions, was long thought to be tactically cooperating with the Syrian government. But events of the past week, in which more than 1,000 combatants have died in clashes between ISIS and Syrian loyalists, have proved otherwise.

On Saturday, the UN commission on Syrian war crimes said it was planning to put ISIS on the list of war criminals in the three-year conflict, which has resulted in at least 170,000 deaths.

UNREAL: Obama Wants to FLY Illegals Straight to US… So They Don’t Have to Cross Border

The ongoing border crisis was created by President Obama’s lax immigration policies, and deliberately brought about to be used as leverage for a Democrat attempt at amnesty. But Obama’s plan “threatens the foundation of our Constitutional Republic“, and the vast majority of Americans are letting it be known that they do not support amnesty. The

Did Kiev use white phosphorous in civilian areas? Expert comments on latest video

A private house at the outskirts of Donetsk destroyed by Ukrainian Army's shelling. (RIA Novosti/Mikhail Voskresenskiy)

Rebels are claiming that the Ukrainian army fired white phosphorus bombs, which are banned under international law, during its latest shelling of the city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.

Moscow also says it has proof that the Ukrainian military has used the controversial weapon on at least six different occasions.

Russia’s Defense Ministry claims there were a number of indicators that line up with the use of phosphorous bombs, including the temperature at which the bombs burnt and the speed at which the they fell.

Though the video cannot be verified, RT asked Charles Shoebridge, former counter-terrorism intelligence officer and Scotland Yard detective, for his expert opinion on the footage.

RT: The video can’t be verified, but the anti-Kiev fighters say it shows the Ukrainian army shelling Donetsk with phosphorous bombs. Can you comment on that claim?

Charles Shoebridge: I’ve seen a video earlier. Although it’s shot at some considerable distance away, it has to be said that it shows many of the characteristics one would associate with white phosphorus use.
In particular, it looks like it’s an air burst device that’s being delivered by mortar or artillery or, perhaps, an aircraft. It covers quite some substantial area, as you can see, by the time it reaches the ground. And also you’ve got these very characteristic features of breaking into very small, very bright burning particles – as indeed military spokespeople elsewhere have commented on, in their right to do so – that it falls very quickly to the ground.

Phosphorous can be used as an illuminant, as indeed can many other substances. But usually these will fall to the ground much more slowly, assisted by some sort of parachute so, of course, that the light can burn for much longer and assist troops on the ground. That doesn’t seem to be the case here.

Also, while phosphorous can be used and usually is used for producing smoke to cover the movement of troops…here of course it’s night. And, although, you cannot see smoke on this video, that might well be because its night, of course. And smoke would be normally characteristic of white phosphorous.

RT: Why are these kinds of bombs banned under international law? Is the damage they inflict particularly grim?

CS: The law governing the use of white phosphorous is actually quite complex. You are right to say they are banned in some circumstances. And those circumstances are particularly when they are being used in areas…first of all, of course, they are banned as weapons to be used against civilian targets. That’s clear.

Secondly, in some circumstances they’re banned when they are used against military targets in civilian areas. As I said, that law governing this particular device is complicated. For example, it is also said that it is a device that is used mainly for producing smoke and for signaling, and that has an incendiary effect. But is not classed as an incendiary weapon.

But the fact is that whatever the technicalities of the law state, really, the situation is that it is a fearsome device. White phosphorus would burn an intense heat, would burn right through to the bone. It cannot be put out by using water. If civilians are in the area, it is almost certain to cause widespread damage as well as fear and, of course, very serious injuries.

No matter what people say, that it’s used as signaling, as smoke, or as an illuminant, the fact is that armies around the world – and last time we saw Israel in Gaza – are using white phosphorous as an incendiary weapon. It is a very effective weapon to use.

Strategic Relocation Briefing: The Makings Of Some Good Retreat Country

Editor’s Note: This week’s strategic relocation briefing focuses on the southernmost tip of the Expanded Western Relocation Zone as defined by survival expert Joel Skousen. Water is obviously of great concern just about anywhere in the Western part of the United States, but that doesn’t have to stop you from finding a safe and remote location outside of highly populated metropolitan areas. For those living in populous areas of Southern California, Southern Nevada and Arizona, staying in the city during a large-scale emergency could prove deadly. But, having a retreat location in Utah or Idaho may not be a possibility because of the sheer distances involved, which makes northern Arizona a location worth considering. It can be accessed in an emergency on a single tank of gas for most of those living in or around Los Angeles, Las Vegas or Phoenix, and it is remote enough to keep you out of the way of the golden horde as it makes its way out of cities in search of resources. In the briefing below, provided by the Strategic Relocation Blog, Skousen identifies the safest spots in Northern Arizona by highlighting, among other things, security considerations and how to find water with ease. 

Whether Northern Arizona is your destination or not, Joel Skousen, as always, provides a wide array of information, ideas, concerns and solutions applicable for anyone looking to make a strategic relocation move.

When you’re ready to start searching for your perfect home or retreat visit the For Sale By Owner listings at the Strategic Relocation web site. Real estate is available for those living in any part of the United States and most listings include survival ratings provide by the Survival Retreat Consulting team and/or Joel Skousen.

havasu
(Pictured: Natural Spring Havasu Indian Reservation, Northern Arizona)


Weekly Strategic Relocation Briefing—Northern Arizona
By Joel Skousen
Author, Strategic Relocation and The Secure Home

SR-logoNorthern Arizona differs in many important ways from the Phoenix area, with its high population density, and extreme summer heat.  The higher altitudes of northern Arizona allow for more moderate summer temperatures as well as beautiful fir and pine forests at the higher elevations.  This mountainous and hilly region also provides more privacy from long distance views on passing highways that is not possible in a flat desert landscape.  Best yet, the population densities are much lower and there are a lot of prepper minded people in northern Arizona.

From a strategic point of view, northern Arizona provides a very important niche in my view of safe areas in the West. This is why I have included this area as the southernmost anchor of my expanded recommended Western Relocation Zone—see the link here.  Purists complain that this area is too close to Phoenix and even Southern California to be safe, but that reasoning cuts both ways.  Compared to the other choices, it’s a great compromise.

It is precisely because it is so difficult to get from Southern California and Phoenix to the safer areas farther north in Utah, Idaho and Western Colorado that northern Arizona provides a key solution to avoiding those choke points. Let me quickly describe the problem:

Because of the massive blocking effect of the Grand Canyon, there are only two major roads leading north to the safety of the Intermountain West—I-5 going the Vegas (not good) and US-89 leading north out of Flagstaff, Arizona (better—but it’s only a two lane road).  Yes, you can go a lot farther east to US-191 and then go north to southeastern Utah but now you’re getting beyond a day’s drive and running out of fuel.

Betting on a bug-out plan that involves getting north through those two choke points is foolhardy at best, if not impossible unless you get out with advanced warning. So, for people in the populous areas of So. California and the Phoenix/Mesa area, who can’t permanently relocate, but must have a retreat strategy as their main option, northern  Arizona is a much more doable destination within a day’s drive and a correctly designed and outfitted bug-out bag, than the more distant safer areas which may be impossible to get to, regardless of supplies and planning.  Making these kinds of wise compromises is the essence of good strategic planning.

The major objection to northern Arizona as a retreat destination (after proximity to dangerous urban area) is the lack of water.  But it’s not productive to complain about low amounts of water in the Intermountain West in general or in Arizona in particularly—you aren’t trying to feed the whole world, nor get water for the whole state—just enough to serve your particular retreat.  Arizona may be a desert but there are many places in northern Arizona where impermeable subterranean rock layers cause water to pool underground in large aquifers or move horizontally, creating year round springs and streams.  In  places where you can find good water supplies, combined with Arizona’s abundant solar potential and the right alternative energy package, northern Arizona has the makings of some good retreat country.

The Holy Grail of information on water in Arizona is this map that catalogs every water well in the state.   It is interactive, so zoom into the area you are interested in, and then click on the individual red dots in that area and it will give you the depth of the well and the flow rate—just the information you need to have some idea of what kind of water resources exist, and how costly it will be to drill.

In certain areas of northern Arizona, people even haul water because the aquifer is over 2,000 feet deep—way too deep to drill economically.  There are a lot of these areas around Ash Fork in the Flagstaff area that can only afford cheap land without water, and choose to haul water.  It’s more common than you might think:

More than half of the people who live on the Navajo Reservation haul water, and so do hundreds of others in the areas around Flagstaff, Williams and Kingman.  Only a big developer has the resources to drill for deep water and provide the storage tanks for community water systems.  But at least we ought to be grateful that Arizona allows people to build a house without a well.  Most jurisdictions do not. “It’s a way of life in these areas,” says Tom Whitmer, manager of statewide water resources planning for the Arizona Department of Water Resources.

While I would only choose a no-water site as a last resort, it’s not particularly expensive to haul water in this area. According to a local website, “The water-filling stations in Ash Fork, a tiny town west of Williams in northern Yavapai County, draw lines of trucks all day on the weekends. The town is served by a small water system, but most residents beyond a square mile or so must haul water or have it hauled in. Most people know what they’re getting into and would rather haul water than pony up the assessments needed to build a community system.”

Of course, thinking strategically, that water hauling system completely breaks down without electricity to run the city pumps and gasoline to fuel the water trucks.  So, don’t make these kinds of decisions based upon current conditions.

Here are some of my comments in Strategic Relocation about various northern Arizona locations to consider:

Flagstaff: This is a beautiful area but it is a major exit route from Phoenix, and will also collect everyone coming north from Phoenix on I-17 and west from California trying to avoid the Las Vegas bottleneck. Collector towns like Flagstaff actually serve a beneficial purpose in absorbing refugees for a period of time, giving those not in town more time to react.  So, pick locations in this area that are not visible from paved roads.  Fortunately, there are many forested home sites in the Flagstaff area to choose from.

Sedona:  We used to recommend Sedona, but it has become very expensive now, and puts you in the path of everyone coming from the south on hwy 89.  If you have retreat property in the immediate mountains around Sedona and don’t have to leave, that’s acceptable. A good compromise area away from Sedona proper is the farm land and homes along Oak Creek between Cottonwood and Sedona.  It does flood once a year, so make sure the land is out of the flood plain. This year round river valley has good water and year round growing potential.

While Sedona and Flagstaff do have mountainous areas in the vicinity which offer potential retreat sites, the best areas are farther away from the future refugee flows that will come out of Phoenix. Most of the good farm/ranch retreat areas were former Mormon colonies in Arizona.  The pioneers always picked areas with good water supplies for irrigation. Mormons no longer are the majority in these areas, but their heritage of preparedness gives the area a good base, combined with a lot of evangelical Christians, which make up the new majority.  Between Prescott and Sedona along the Verde river you will find Cornville.  North of town there are lots of irrigated farms that make fairly good retreat sites.

Payson is a fine ranching and farming community at the base of Arizona’s northern mountains, but it too is the first major town refugees traveling up highway 87 will meet, thus pick retreat property in the Star Valley area or farther north up into the mountains.  Off of Hwy 288 you find the small town of Young which is in a small valley surrounded by rugged mountains.

The towns across northern side of these mountain ranges offer the best survival potential because the mountains block the arrival of most refugees: Heber and Show Low, deep into the mountains and the closest to pine forests, are the favorites, but the altitude is too high for many warm weather crops.  Snowflake is a farming community at lower elevation near the mountains but in territory fairly barren of trees. As in most places in the high desert you’ve got to get above 6 or 7 thousand feet in order to get enough snowfall staying on the ground to grow forests. Springerville farther east is also a farming town but closer to the mountains.

In summary, there are a lot of potential retreat sites to choose from—just do your homework about ensuring a good water supply.  This area is a good choice for people in the Phoenix area or So. California looking for part time retreats.  But if you are coming from the East Coast out west for a permanent relocation site, based on safety criteria rather than sunshine alone, the more northern areas of the Western Relocation Area are better in the long term. Check back next week as I review yet another relocation destination.

Survival Retreat Consulting: Having lived in Prescott the area is a great place to live. Unfortunately, it’s directly in the path of the Phoenix refugee flow, so not highly recommended for a retreat locale. In an extreme event, downtown  Prescott would succomb quickly, however, there are many parcels near town and into the National Forest that may offer a compromise between the ‘Local / Remote’ rule and defensibility. Check out the Groom Creek area, as well as southwest of Prescott off highway 89 towards Yarnell and Kirkland. Southeast of Prescott on Forest Service Road 28 (Lynx Creek) and into Walker. These areas are well off the beaten path yet allow those that want to be closer to Prescott the ability to come into town within a reasonable commute. Moving to the North of Prescott, follow North Williamson Valley Road to find a few gems in the rough. To the east. Cottonwood, just down the hill from the old mining town of Jerome, has the Verde River flowing through it. A few nice parcels may be available on the river.

When you’re ready to start searching for your perfect home or retreat visit the For Sale By Owner listings at the Strategic Relocation web site. Real estate is available for those living in any part of the United States and most listings include survival ratings provide by the Survival Retreat Consulting team and/or Joel Skousen.

Recent Strategic Relocation Briefings:

Idaho: A Five Star Rated State for Your Survival Retreat

Strategic Relocation Briefing: The Makings Of Some Good Retreat Country

Editor’s Note: This week’s strategic relocation briefing focuses on the southernmost tip of the Expanded Western Relocation Zone as defined by survival expert Joel Skousen. Water is obviously of great concern just about anywhere in the Western part of the United States, but that doesn’t have to stop you from finding a safe and remote location outside of highly populated metropolitan areas. For those living in populous areas of Southern California, Southern Nevada and Arizona, staying in the city during a large-scale emergency could prove deadly. But, having a retreat location in Utah or Idaho may not be a possibility because of the sheer distances involved, which makes northern Arizona a location worth considering. It can be accessed in an emergency on a single tank of gas for most of those living in or around Los Angeles, Las Vegas or Phoenix, and it is remote enough to keep you out of the way of the golden horde as it makes its way out of cities in search of resources. In the briefing below, provided by the Strategic Relocation Blog, Skousen identifies the safest spots in Northern Arizona by highlighting, among other things, security considerations and how to find water with ease. 

Whether Northern Arizona is your destination or not, Joel Skousen, as always, provides a wide array of information, ideas, concerns and solutions applicable for anyone looking to make a strategic relocation move.

When you’re ready to start searching for your perfect home or retreat visit the For Sale By Owner listings at the Strategic Relocation web site. Real estate is available for those living in any part of the United States and most listings include survival ratings provide by the Survival Retreat Consulting team and/or Joel Skousen.

havasu
(Pictured: Natural Spring Havasu Indian Reservation, Northern Arizona)


SR-logoNorthern Arizona differs in many important ways from the Phoenix area, with its high population density, and extreme summer heat.  The higher altitudes of northern Arizona allow for more moderate summer temperatures as well as beautiful fir and pine forests at the higher elevations.  This mountainous and hilly region also provides more privacy from long distance views on passing highways that is not possible in a flat desert landscape.  Best yet, the population densities are much lower and there are a lot of prepper minded people in northern Arizona.

From a strategic point of view, northern Arizona provides a very important niche in my view of safe areas in the West. This is why I have included this area as the southernmost anchor of my expanded recommended Western Relocation Zone—see the link here.  Purists complain that this area is too close to Phoenix and even Southern California to be safe, but that reasoning cuts both ways.  Compared to the other choices, it’s a great compromise.

It is precisely because it is so difficult to get from Southern California and Phoenix to the safer areas farther north in Utah, Idaho and Western Colorado that northern Arizona provides a key solution to avoiding those choke points. Let me quickly describe the problem:

Because of the massive blocking effect of the Grand Canyon, there are only two major roads leading north to the safety of the Intermountain West—I-5 going the Vegas (not good) and US-89 leading north out of Flagstaff, Arizona (better—but it’s only a two lane road).  Yes, you can go a lot farther east to US-191 and then go north to southeastern Utah but now you’re getting beyond a day’s drive and running out of fuel.

Betting on a bug-out plan that involves getting north through those two choke points is foolhardy at best, if not impossible unless you get out with advanced warning. So, for people in the populous areas of So. California and the Phoenix/Mesa area, who can’t permanently relocate, but must have a retreat strategy as their main option, northern  Arizona is a much more doable destination within a day’s drive and a correctly designed and outfitted bug-out bag, than the more distant safer areas which may be impossible to get to, regardless of supplies and planning.  Making these kinds of wise compromises is the essence of good strategic planning.

The major objection to northern. Arizona as a retreat destination (after proximity to dangerous urban area) is the lack of water.  But it’s not productive to complain about low amounts of water in the Intermountain West in general or in Arizona in particularly—you aren’t trying to feed the whole world, nor get water for the whole state—just enough to serve your particular retreat.  Arizona may be a desert but there are many places in northern Arizona where impermeable subterranean rock layers cause water to pool underground in large aquifers or move horizontally, creating year round springs and streams.  In  places where you can find good water supplies, combined with Arizona’s abundant solar potential and the right alternative energy package, northern Arizona has the makings of some good retreat country.

The Holy Grail of information on water in Arizona is this map that catalogs every water well in the state.   It is interactive, so zoom into the area you are interested in, and then click on the individual red dots in that area and it will give you the depth of the well and the flow rate—just the information you need to have some idea of what kind of water resources exist, and how costly it will be to drill.

In certain areas of northern Arizona, people even haul water because the aquifer is over 2,000 feet deep—way too deep to drill economically.  There are a lot of these areas around Ash Fork in the Flagstaff area that can only afford cheap land without water, and choose to haul water.  It’s more common than you might think:

More than half of the people who live on the Navajo Reservation haul water, and so do hundreds of others in the areas around Flagstaff, Williams and Kingman.  Only a big developer has the resources to drill for deep water and provide the storage tanks for community water systems.  But at least we ought to be grateful that Arizona allows people to build a house without a well.  Most jurisdictions do not. “It’s a way of life in these areas,” says Tom Whitmer, manager of statewide water resources planning for the Arizona Department of Water Resources.

While I would only choose a no-water site as a last resort, it’s not particularly expensive to haul water in this area. According to a local website, “The water-filling stations in Ash Fork, a tiny town west of Williams in northern Yavapai County, draw lines of trucks all day on the weekends. The town is served by a small water system, but most residents beyond a square mile or so must haul water or have it hauled in. Most people know what they’re getting into and would rather haul water than pony up the assessments needed to build a community system.”

Of course, thinking strategically, that water hauling system completely breaks down without electricity to run the city pumps and gasoline to fuel the water trucks.  So, don’t make these kinds of decisions based upon current conditions.

Here are some of my comments in Strategic Relocation about various northern Arizona locations to consider:

Flagstaff: This is a beautiful area but it is a major exit route from Phoenix, and will also collect everyone coming north from Phoenix on I-17 and west from California trying to avoid the Las Vegas bottleneck. Collector towns like Flagstaff actually serve a beneficial purpose in absorbing refugees for a period of time, giving those not in town more time to react.  So, pick locations in this area that are not visible from paved roads.  Fortunately, there are many forested home sites in the Flagstaff area to choose from.

Sedona:  We used to recommend Sedona, but it has become very expensive now, and puts you in the path of everyone coming from the south on hwy 89.  If you have retreat property in the immediate mountains around Sedona and don’t have to leave, that’s acceptable. A good compromise area away from Sedona proper is the farm land and homes along Oak Creek between Cottonwood and Sedona.  It does flood once a year, so make sure the land is out of the flood plain. This year round river valley has good water and year round growing potential.

While Sedona and Flagstaff do have mountainous areas in the vicinity which offer potential retreat sites, the best areas are farther away from the future refugee flows that will come out of Phoenix. Most of the good farm/ranch retreat areas were former Mormon colonies in Arizona.  The pioneers always picked areas with good water supplies for irrigation. Mormons no longer are the majority in these areas, but their heritage of preparedness gives the area a good base, combined with the new majority of evangelical Christians which make up the new majority.  Between Prescott and Sedona along the Verde river you will find Cornville.  North of town there are lots of irrigated farms that make fairly good retreat sites.

Payson is a fine ranching and farming community at the base of Arizona’s northern mountains, but it too is the first major town refugees traveling up highway 87 will meet, thus pick retreat property in the Star Valley area or farther north up into the mountains.  Off of Hwy 288 you find the small town of Young which is in a small valley surrounded by rugged mountains.

The towns across northern side of these mountain ranges offer the best survival potential because the mountains block the arrival of most refugees: Heber and Show Low, deep into the mountains and the closest to pine forests, are the favorites, but the altitude is too high for many warm weather crops.  Snowflake is a farming community at lower elevation near the mountains but in territory fairly barren of trees. As in most places in the high desert you’ve got to get above 6 or 7 thousand feet in order to get enough snowfall staying on the ground to grow forests. Springerville farther east is also a farming town but closer to the mountains.

In summary, there are a lot of potential retreat sites to choose from—just do your homework about ensuring a good water supply.  This area is a good choice for people in the Phoenix area or So. California looking for part time retreats.  But if you are coming from the East Coast out west for a permanent relocation site, based on safety criteria rather than sunshine alone, the more northern areas of the Western Relocation Area are better in the long term. Check back next week as I review yet another relocation destination.

Survival Retreat Consulting: Having lived in Prescott the area is a great place to live. Unfortunately, it’s directly in the path of the Phoenix refugee flow, so not highly recommended for a retreat locale. In an extreme event, downtown  Prescott would succomb quickly, however, there are many parcels near town and into the National Forest that may offer a compromise between the ‘Local / Remote’ rule and defensibility. Check out the Groom Creek area, as well as southwest of Prescott off highway 89 towards Yarnell and Kirkland. Southeast of Prescott on Forest Service Road 28 (Lynx Creek) and into Walker. These areas are well off the beaten path yet allow those that want to be closer to Prescott the ability to come into town within a reasonable commute. Moving to the North of Prescott, follow North Williamson Valley Road to find a few gems in the rough. To the east. Cottonwood, just down the hill from the old mining town of Jerome, has the Verde River flowing through it. A few nice parcels may be available on the river.

When you’re ready to start searching for your perfect home or retreat visit the For Sale By Owner listings at the Strategic Relocation web site. Real estate is available for those living in any part of the United States and most listings include survival ratings provide by the Survival Retreat Consulting team and/or Joel Skousen.

Recent Strategic Relocation Briefings:

Idaho: A Five Star Rated State for Your Survival Retreat