Preppers called 'crazy' now expect to sell out their West Virginia survivalist compound

People referred to these “doomsday preppers” as crazy, now the Chief Operations Officer of a survivalist compound in West Virginia tells FOX 5 they are expecting to sell-out in membership by the end of next month. 

The compound is called Fortitude Ranch, a some 100-acre compound tucked away in the foothills of the Shenandoah Mountains. The property also backs up the George Washington National Forest, which we are told does not have a public access point. 

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“From its conception, that’s its very purpose. It goes along with our motto – Prepare for the worst. Enjoy the present,” said COO and Operations Manager, Steven Rene. 

For safety reasons, Rene asked we not say where exactly they are located, or say how many members they can hold. He did, however, show is inside some of the shelters, where FOX 5 found several tucked-away beds and spaces you wouldn’t immediately recognize are there. 

The compound serves as a bed and breakfast for members on off-season. Should they have to activate the site, they are prepared to close-off to the public with armed look-outs. 

The compound is one of two already operating: West Virginia and Denver. There are plans to build in at least five other states. 

Rene tells FOX 5 the West Virginia location was created about seven years ago by a military veteran who studied at Harvard. They have been preparing for a crisis situation: whether that be a civil war or a devastating pandemic. 

RELATED: Coronavirus concerns: 'Pandemic-proof' camp in West Virginia could house 500 people for 25 years

“If people don’t cooperate and it really starts to get out of hand because the economy tanks and everybody’s out of work and at one another’s throats, well that’s why a place like this exists. Where you can get away from that,” said Rene, who also has a military background and time spent in humanitarian work.

On-site, Rene showed FOX 5 spacious rooms and common areas. Then you have underground shelters. One, tucked away into a hill, can fit around 20 people. Rene says they have a 3-month supply of food for each member. There are solar panels, wells – it is supposed to outlast any emergency as a self-contained ecosystem. 

“…able to hunt, to fish. We have chickens we have goats. We actually have cattle on reserve for when we need them or milk to be able to use them to make jerky and have fresh meat,” Rene added.

While they are prepared for a worst-case scenario, Rene had a little bit of a different message for others as Coronavirus concerns grow: 

“The main thing that we want to get across is for people to think this thing through. You know, have a plan whether you’re a member of you’re not a member,” he said.

Membership is around $1000, per person, a year. Rene said the basic membership is already sold out.