When people think about the ideal place to relocate, many would no doubt imagine endless days and star-filled nights spent enjoying the relaxing ocean breezes on a faraway tropical island. Others perhaps would think of a beautiful desert vista, where the horizon recedes off into infinity in the stark silence of a timeless location. Still others would dream of the mountains, where the sublime meeting the spectacular is routine reality. But could it be that some of the best places to live may not be the most obvious? There is a growing group of individuals who think so, and these people are leaving their homes behind in ever-increasing numbers to relocate to the sprawling plains of North Dakota.
Yes, that’s right – North Dakota. The very same North Dakota that has a total population of less than 700,000 people, and has the fourth lowest population density in the United States. The same state that has only three cities with populations of more than 50,000, with only Fargo reaching 100,000. And yes, the same North Dakota that is known for having the coldest and fiercest snow-filled winters found anywhere south of Alaska. Yes, North Dakota.
All of these things would seem to disqualify North Dakota as a desirable place to live for most Americans. Even for those of us who are embracing an off-the-grid lifestyle, the weather factor would seem to make this state one that would best be avoided. But North Dakota has some positive factors going for it that are persuading more and more people to come and settle in the empty spaces of this sparsely settled land. For survivalists and preppers who are willing to brave the winters of this formerly obscure state, one destination that is beginning to draw a lot of attention is a little town tucked away in the southwestern corner of the state called Hettinger.
The Virtues of Hettinger
Hettinger is a village of about 1200 souls located 155 miles south of Bismarck, and 180 miles north of Rapid City, South Dakota. As of yet, most of the people moving to the state from elsewhere have not discovered this attractive location. But for off-the-gridders who are looking for an out-of-the-way spot perfect for survival in just about any contingency, Hettinger has a lot to offer.
One of the things that makes this particular town so attractive is its geographical location. Because the nearest population centers are relatively far away, in the event of societal collapse or natural disaster, the Hettinger area is not a place upon which floods of refugees would be expected to descend. Additionally, like many places in this rich and fertile land, Hettinger is surrounded by productive agricultural land, and because land prices here are so low (frequently less than $1000 per acre), good affordable homesteads perfect for settlement and small-scale agriculture or gardening are not hard to find.
And best of all, Hettinger area residents pay no property taxes whatsoever.
The financial troubles that have been plaguing the country over the past few years have largely passed North Dakota by, as the state’s economy has been expanding at rates well beyond the national average. The oil riches that have been found in the state’s western oil fields receive much of the credit for this in the mainstream media, but another important factor at work has been North Dakota’s long tradition of sound investment policy, which generally rejects risk (subprime mortgages were largely unheard of here) in favor of sensible projects designed to help the state develop its bountiful economic assets to the fullest . At the present time, North Dakota’s unemployment rate is the lowest in the nation, running at an astonishing 3.2%, and the relative abundance of jobs that are found here is the number one factor that is bringing migrants to this state. Because the economic climate in the state is so good, off-the-gridders who would like to relocate to North Dakota to start a small business or farming operation will find a supportive atmosphere for such endeavors. The Hettinger area would be ideal for a set-up like this, as the economy here is probably even better than in most other parts of the state. Hettinger is close to the fertile western North Dakota oil fields, is surrounded by productive farmland, and like many small towns, still depends to a large extent on small, locally-owned businesses.
It is true that the weather in North Dakota can be quite terrible in the wintertime. But living in such an extreme environment has helped turn North Dakotans into a resilient people, and if we are ever facing societal collapse you can be sure that people in places like Hettinger will not panic. Instead, they will rally to support each other in troubled times the way people in small towns always do, and because these people are used to dealing with dangerous winter storms they already know a lot about how to band together to look out for each other when things are at their worst. So thanks in large part to that terrible weather, self-reliance is a way of life in towns like Hettinger, and those choosing the off-the-grid option will likely find themselves feeling very welcome if they decide to relocate to this underrated area of the country.
Paradise is Relative
We live in precarious times, where economic collapse, environmental calamity, natural disaster, and nuclear terrorism all threaten to unleash havoc at any moment. But even if none of these things ever comes to pass, it doesn’t change the fact that mainstream society has been corrupted to the point where things may be beyond redemption. So the off-the-grid option should continue to be attractive to growing numbers of people, because of the chance it gives us to live independently and to learn the skills of self-reliance in times when these skills are needed more than ever.
Hettinger, North Dakota is a small, family-friendly community that still values the independent lifestyle. A good economy, fertile fields, low land prices and cost of living, and plenty of opportunities for self-sufficiency and self-development all make Hettinger an ideal destination for those looking for an off-the-grid paradise. So if you do decide to pass on that tropical island and come to Hettinger instead, in the end you will not regret your choice – just as long as you remember to bring your jacket with you when you come. And bringing your warmest gloves, a stocking cap, snow boots, snow pants, and some good thick long underwear along would not be a bad idea either.
©2013 Off the Grid News