West Virginia survivalist camp to 'activate' for Election Day

Fortitude Ranch, a survivalist community that has a secured compound in West Virginia, plans to “activate” for Election Day.

“The whole political tension, COVID and then you put on top of that the unrest that’s been going on around the country – we want to make sure that our members at least have the ability to come out if they feel they need to,” said Fortitude Ranch COO and Operations Manager, Steven Rene.

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

Rene tells FOX 5 they’ll actually activate a day before, on November 2. Members can go to Fortitude Ranch without having any vacation days counted against them. 

Our station toured Fortitude Ranch’s West Virginia compound back in March when the Operations Manager said the survivalist community was close to selling out memberships due to coronavirus pandemic concerns.

Fortitude Ranch was created to be a self-sustaining survivalist community. The goal is to protect members from various disasters, including an economic collapse and pandemic. There are multiple locations across the country. Fortitude’s leaders are also planning to break ground in Nevada soon.

The West Virginia compound, the Fortitude location closest to the DC-area, opened in 2015.

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

Fortitude asked we not share the exact address but showed FOX 5 the 100-acre compound, which backs-up to the George Washington National Forest. Our cameras got to view several bunkers, large food storage areas, and various accommodations on the grounds. There’s also space for hunting and fishing.

Like a time-share, members can vacation on the grounds when the site is not “activated.”

Rene described interest as “100-fold” in March. He says that interests has been stable, seeing slight increases over the summer when rioting broke out in certain parts of the country.  

“Running out of food, running out of cleaning supplies. We started, not hoarding, but just preparing dried foods like pasta, bread, buying frozen fruits and vegetables,” said Bruce Wang in Montgomery County, Maryland, admitting he did prep some when COVID19 lockdowns began.

“I hope on election day, we’re going to end up being the united states of America, not the survivalist states of America,” said Mark Young, after being asked about his thoughts on the survivalist community.

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Rene tells FOX 5 they are only activating for precautionary measures – and that he doesn’t really expect many members to go there on Election Day. He wouldn’t give specifics but says the West Virginia location has between 70 and 100 members.

“We’re not over the top. You know we’re not ‘Doomsday’ thinking the world ends at night – anything like that. Just trying to be real about the situation that we’re dealing with as a country,’ said Rene, who tells FOX 5 they’ll still be monitoring Election Day and what happens afterword, when asked how long Fortitude Ranch will be activated.

“I think, no matter who gets elected, the baseline problems aren’t going to go away,” said Rene, “ …from what I can gather, Joe Biden isn’t seen as the answer, he’s seen as the alternative. There’s no magic pill for whoever gets elected for these things to go away because they’re deep-rooted and they’ve now bubbled over. We’re going to have to go through this.”

Rene tells FOX 5 they will be excavating soon, with a plan to allow RVs to park.