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The climate, for example, in this expanded area allows for a lot more use of solar in Nevada, Utah, western Colorado, and Northern Arizona.
And even though much drier than the Northwest, snowfall does fill mountain reservoirs which provides a reliable flow of irrigation water if you pick the right area.
In addition, the Great Basin has within its boundaries hundreds of miles of trackless desert and mountain areas that provide isolation by distance and hardship for anyone entering the area without vehicles, fuel and water.
That doesn’t mean everything within these bounders is equally safe, secure, or livable.
Most of the other smaller cities in the West have feeder flights into SLC.
The Salt Lake Valley itself is not recommended for security, even though it is safer than most other large metro areas, unless you have an additional retreat in or past the many secure areas which surround SLC.
I have often been asked to comment on Jim Rawles’ concept of the Redoubt for survival relocation.
Rawles’ criteria of distance from population threats, defendability, and agricultural suitability focus upon a fairly limited area of the Western US, centered around Idaho, and includes Western Montana and parts of Eastern Washington and Oregon.
You can find good retreat areas in those border areas if you carefully select areas not visible from or easily accessible from the highway passes.
Unlike Denver, where the high mountains are miles away from the unsafe city area, in Utah the Wasatch Front of the Rocky mountains come right down to the city’s edge and provide not only quick access to mountain retreat areas but a barrier to social unrest from the cities.
This isn’t to say that you have to be anywhere near SLC or the center of the expanded secure area in order to find safety.
For individual families I prefer less confrontational strategies of blending in, or getting out of the way, or concealment as the best form of defense for most people.
The area I have outlined is what is generally referred to as the Intermountain West and includes the Great Basin—that high desert plain between the Cascade/Sierra Mountains of Washington, Oregon and California over to the middle of the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and New Mexico.
It’s just too potent of a volcanic threat to areas east of Yellowstone Park to recommend for retreats or full time residences.