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Pictures | Mon Dec 23, 2019 | 11:35am EST

Inside a Colorado survival camp

Drew Miller, manager and co-founder of Fortitude Ranch, poses for a portrait at his survival camp in southern Colorado, December 9, 2019. Miller, a former U.S. Air Force intelligence officer, said his new Fortitude Ranch survival community, under construction below mountain forests in a Colorado valley, will shelter Americans fleeing anything from a bioengineered pandemic to an attack on the electricity grid.

REUTERS/Adria Malcolm

Drew Miller, manager and co-founder of Fortitude Ranch, poses for a portrait at his survival camp in southern Colorado, December 9, 2019. Miller, a former U.S. Air Force intelligence officer, said his new Fortitude Ranch survival community, under...more

Drew Miller, manager and co-founder of Fortitude Ranch, poses for a portrait at his survival camp in southern Colorado, December 9, 2019. Miller, a former U.S. Air Force intelligence officer, said his new Fortitude Ranch survival community, under construction below mountain forests in a Colorado valley, will shelter Americans fleeing anything from a bioengineered pandemic to an attack on the electricity grid. REUTERS/Adria Malcolm
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A weapons cache is seen in the basement of the survival camp in southern Colorado. For an annual fee of around $1,000, members can vacation at the camps in good times, and use them as a refuge during a societal collapse.

REUTERS/Adria Malcolm

A weapons cache is seen in the basement of the survival camp in southern Colorado. For an annual fee of around $1,000, members can vacation at the camps in good times, and use them as a refuge during a societal collapse. REUTERS/Adria Malcolm

A weapons cache is seen in the basement of the survival camp in southern Colorado. For an annual fee of around $1,000, members can vacation at the camps in good times, and use them as a refuge during a societal collapse. REUTERS/Adria Malcolm
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The exterior of a survival camp operated by Fortitude Ranch in central Colorado. "If you've got a lot of weapons, if you've got a lot of members at guard posts, defensive walls, we don't think we're going to need to fight," said Miller, crouching on top of a fortified position on the camp perimeter.

REUTERS/Adria Malcolm

The exterior of a survival camp operated by Fortitude Ranch in central Colorado. "If you've got a lot of weapons, if you've got a lot of members at guard posts, defensive walls, we don't think we're going to need to fight," said Miller, crouching on...more

The exterior of a survival camp operated by Fortitude Ranch in central Colorado. "If you've got a lot of weapons, if you've got a lot of members at guard posts, defensive walls, we don't think we're going to need to fight," said Miller, crouching on top of a fortified position on the camp perimeter. REUTERS/Adria Malcolm
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A mountain range near a survival camp in southern Colorado. The expansion of Miller's camp chain underscores the growing mainstream appeal of the "prepper" movement long associated with anti-government survivalists. In recent years prepping has overlapped with millennial interests in renewable energy, homesteading, minimalist living and concerns about climate change.

REUTERS/Adria Malcolm

A mountain range near a survival camp in southern Colorado. The expansion of Miller's camp chain underscores the growing mainstream appeal of the "prepper" movement long associated with anti-government survivalists. In recent years prepping has...more

A mountain range near a survival camp in southern Colorado. The expansion of Miller's camp chain underscores the growing mainstream appeal of the "prepper" movement long associated with anti-government survivalists. In recent years prepping has overlapped with millennial interests in renewable energy, homesteading, minimalist living and concerns about climate change. REUTERS/Adria Malcolm
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Kacey Dawson, assistant manager of a Fortitude Ranch camp, stands armed in a lookout tower. Increasingly, Miller said, clients fear sharp political divisions will deepen around the November 2020 U.S. presidential election. "There is growing concern that after the 2020 election there could be massive, long-lasting civil unrest if people say, 'Hey, I don't buy the new president, I don't recognize him or her,'" said Miller, who has added "civil war" to his risk scenarios.

REUTERS/Adria Malcolm

Kacey Dawson, assistant manager of a Fortitude Ranch camp, stands armed in a lookout tower. Increasingly, Miller said, clients fear sharp political divisions will deepen around the November 2020 U.S. presidential election. "There is growing concern...more

Kacey Dawson, assistant manager of a Fortitude Ranch camp, stands armed in a lookout tower. Increasingly, Miller said, clients fear sharp political divisions will deepen around the November 2020 U.S. presidential election. "There is growing concern that after the 2020 election there could be massive, long-lasting civil unrest if people say, 'Hey, I don't buy the new president, I don't recognize him or her,'" said Miller, who has added "civil war" to his risk scenarios. REUTERS/Adria Malcolm
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The interior of a Colorado survival camp called Fortitude Ranch. Skeptics said Fortitude Ranch was preparing for catastrophic events that were unlikely and possibly not worth surviving. There is a rational level of readiness for natural disasters or power outages, said New York University Professor Robyn Gershon, and then there is "hyper-extreme" preparedness.

REUTERS/Adria Malcolm

The interior of a Colorado survival camp called Fortitude Ranch. Skeptics said Fortitude Ranch was preparing for catastrophic events that were unlikely and possibly not worth surviving. There is a rational level of readiness for natural disasters or...more

The interior of a Colorado survival camp called Fortitude Ranch. Skeptics said Fortitude Ranch was preparing for catastrophic events that were unlikely and possibly not worth surviving. There is a rational level of readiness for natural disasters or power outages, said New York University Professor Robyn Gershon, and then there is "hyper-extreme" preparedness. REUTERS/Adria Malcolm
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The interior of a Colorado survival camp called Fortitude Ranch. Gershon predicted a bad ending for anyone holing up in a compound with strangers to make it through a global pandemic or nuclear war. "The quality of life will be degraded to a point where, for modern-day people, it probably won't be worth living," said Gershon, a clinical professor of epidemiology.

REUTERS/Adria Malcolm

The interior of a Colorado survival camp called Fortitude Ranch. Gershon predicted a bad ending for anyone holing up in a compound with strangers to make it through a global pandemic or nuclear war. "The quality of life will be degraded to a point...more

The interior of a Colorado survival camp called Fortitude Ranch. Gershon predicted a bad ending for anyone holing up in a compound with strangers to make it through a global pandemic or nuclear war. "The quality of life will be degraded to a point where, for modern-day people, it probably won't be worth living," said Gershon, a clinical professor of epidemiology. REUTERS/Adria Malcolm
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The interior of a Colorado survival camp called Fortitude Ranch. The solar-powered camps cater to middle-class Americans worried about their vulnerability in cities and suburbs. Unlike traditional survivalists, many are not schooled in off-the-grid living, and some have no idea how to hunt. Besides the annual fee, the main requirement for members is an AR-15 style rifle or pump-action shotgun for defense.

REUTERS/Adria Malcolm

The interior of a Colorado survival camp called Fortitude Ranch. The solar-powered camps cater to middle-class Americans worried about their vulnerability in cities and suburbs. Unlike traditional survivalists, many are not schooled in off-the-grid...more

The interior of a Colorado survival camp called Fortitude Ranch. The solar-powered camps cater to middle-class Americans worried about their vulnerability in cities and suburbs. Unlike traditional survivalists, many are not schooled in off-the-grid living, and some have no idea how to hunt. Besides the annual fee, the main requirement for members is an AR-15 style rifle or pump-action shotgun for defense. REUTERS/Adria Malcolm
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Drew Miller climbs up the ladder of a lookout perch at a survival camp in central Colorado. Miller expects marauding gangs to pour out of cities if law and order breaks down. He expects his ranches to have superior firepower. The new Colorado camp has a .50 caliber rifle to take on armored vehicles.

REUTERS/Adria Malcolm

Drew Miller climbs up the ladder of a lookout perch at a survival camp in central Colorado. Miller expects marauding gangs to pour out of cities if law and order breaks down. He expects his ranches to have superior firepower. The new Colorado camp...more

Drew Miller climbs up the ladder of a lookout perch at a survival camp in central Colorado. Miller expects marauding gangs to pour out of cities if law and order breaks down. He expects his ranches to have superior firepower. The new Colorado camp has a .50 caliber rifle to take on armored vehicles. REUTERS/Adria Malcolm
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Emergency food is stocked in an underground bunker at a survival camp in southern Colorado. Fortitude Ranch has around 175 members from all ethnic groups, many with business or military backgrounds, and most distrust the government, said Miller. He asked that exact locations of camps not be disclosed.

REUTERS/Adria Malcolm

Emergency food is stocked in an underground bunker at a survival camp in southern Colorado. Fortitude Ranch has around 175 members from all ethnic groups, many with business or military backgrounds, and most distrust the government, said Miller. He...more

Emergency food is stocked in an underground bunker at a survival camp in southern Colorado. Fortitude Ranch has around 175 members from all ethnic groups, many with business or military backgrounds, and most distrust the government, said Miller. He asked that exact locations of camps not be disclosed. REUTERS/Adria Malcolm
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Emergency food is stocked in an underground bunker at a survival camp in southern Colorado. If he can find investors, Miller hopes to expand communities from two existing locations in Colorado and one in West Virginia to 10 more states.

REUTERS/Adria Malcolm

Emergency food is stocked in an underground bunker at a survival camp in southern Colorado. If he can find investors, Miller hopes to expand communities from two existing locations in Colorado and one in West Virginia to 10 more...more

Emergency food is stocked in an underground bunker at a survival camp in southern Colorado. If he can find investors, Miller hopes to expand communities from two existing locations in Colorado and one in West Virginia to 10 more states. REUTERS/Adria Malcolm
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Supplies including mattresses, toilet paper, and blankets are stacked to the ceiling in an underground shelter at a survival camp called Fortitude Ranch. Just how many Americans are prepping is hard to measure as most keep their activities secret. People within the industry, including Roman Zrazhevskiy, chief executive of Ready To Go Survival, said interest is growing. Zrazhevskiy said sales of his survival-kit bags and gas masks have doubled or tripled on demand from "liberal preppers." "They're concerned about what Trump is doing," he said. "The whole civil war thing isn't that implausible."

REUTERS/Adria Malcolm

Supplies including mattresses, toilet paper, and blankets are stacked to the ceiling in an underground shelter at a survival camp called Fortitude Ranch. Just how many Americans are prepping is hard to measure as most keep their activities secret....more

Supplies including mattresses, toilet paper, and blankets are stacked to the ceiling in an underground shelter at a survival camp called Fortitude Ranch. Just how many Americans are prepping is hard to measure as most keep their activities secret. People within the industry, including Roman Zrazhevskiy, chief executive of Ready To Go Survival, said interest is growing. Zrazhevskiy said sales of his survival-kit bags and gas masks have doubled or tripled on demand from "liberal preppers." "They're concerned about what Trump is doing," he said. "The whole civil war thing isn't that implausible." REUTERS/Adria Malcolm
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Supplies including mattresses, heaters, and blankets are stacked to the ceiling in an underground shelter at a survival camp called Fortitude Ranch in southern Colorado. Some within the movement say private survival communities may not be for everyone. "It would be a challenge, I think, to throw a hundred people into a compound without really knowing each other," said Don Rodgers, who runs Rocky Mountain Readiness, which trains families in emergency preparedness and sells gear. "It would take a special group and a special leader to hold that together."

REUTERS/Adria Malcolm

Supplies including mattresses, heaters, and blankets are stacked to the ceiling in an underground shelter at a survival camp called Fortitude Ranch in southern Colorado. Some within the movement say private survival communities may not be for...more

Supplies including mattresses, heaters, and blankets are stacked to the ceiling in an underground shelter at a survival camp called Fortitude Ranch in southern Colorado. Some within the movement say private survival communities may not be for everyone. "It would be a challenge, I think, to throw a hundred people into a compound without really knowing each other," said Don Rodgers, who runs Rocky Mountain Readiness, which trains families in emergency preparedness and sells gear. "It would take a special group and a special leader to hold that together." REUTERS/Adria Malcolm
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(L-R) Drew Miller and Kacey Dawson stand on a lookout perch holding weapons at a survival camp in central Colorado. Miller believes Fortitude Ranch is that group: "If you've got to be here, then it means it's really, really bad out there, so where are you going to go?"

REUTERS/Adria Malcolm

(L-R) Drew Miller and Kacey Dawson stand on a lookout perch holding weapons at a survival camp in central Colorado. Miller believes Fortitude Ranch is that group: "If you've got to be here, then it means it's really, really bad out there, so where...more

(L-R) Drew Miller and Kacey Dawson stand on a lookout perch holding weapons at a survival camp in central Colorado. Miller believes Fortitude Ranch is that group: "If you've got to be here, then it means it's really, really bad out there, so where are you going to go?" REUTERS/Adria Malcolm
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(L-R) Drew Miller and Kacey Dawson walk across the property of a survival camp, armed with weapons, in central Colorado. REUTERS/Adria Malcolm

(L-R) Drew Miller and Kacey Dawson walk across the property of a survival camp, armed with weapons, in central Colorado. REUTERS/Adria Malcolm

(L-R) Drew Miller and Kacey Dawson walk across the property of a survival camp, armed with weapons, in central Colorado. REUTERS/Adria Malcolm
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Drew Miller carries an assault rifle at a survival camp in central Colorado. REUTERS/Adria Malcolm

Drew Miller carries an assault rifle at a survival camp in central Colorado. REUTERS/Adria Malcolm

Drew Miller carries an assault rifle at a survival camp in central Colorado. REUTERS/Adria Malcolm
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Drew Miller, manager and co-founder of Fortitude Ranch, poses for a portrait at his survival camp in central Colorado. REUTERS/Adria Malcolm

Drew Miller, manager and co-founder of Fortitude Ranch, poses for a portrait at his survival camp in central Colorado. REUTERS/Adria Malcolm

Drew Miller, manager and co-founder of Fortitude Ranch, poses for a portrait at his survival camp in central Colorado. REUTERS/Adria Malcolm
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Kacey Dawson stands inside the living room of a survival camp in central Colorado. REUTERS/Adria Malcolm

Kacey Dawson stands inside the living room of a survival camp in central Colorado. REUTERS/Adria Malcolm

Kacey Dawson stands inside the living room of a survival camp in central Colorado. REUTERS/Adria Malcolm
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An American flag flies outside a survival camp in central Colorado. REUTERS/Adria Malcolm

An American flag flies outside a survival camp in central Colorado. REUTERS/Adria Malcolm

An American flag flies outside a survival camp in central Colorado. REUTERS/Adria Malcolm
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The exterior of a survival camp operated by Fortitude Ranch in central Colorado. REUTERS/Adria Malcolm

The exterior of a survival camp operated by Fortitude Ranch in central Colorado. REUTERS/Adria Malcolm

The exterior of a survival camp operated by Fortitude Ranch in central Colorado. REUTERS/Adria Malcolm
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The exterior of a survival camp operated by Fortitude Ranch in central Colorado. REUTERS/Adria Malcolm

The exterior of a survival camp operated by Fortitude Ranch in central Colorado. REUTERS/Adria Malcolm

The exterior of a survival camp operated by Fortitude Ranch in central Colorado. REUTERS/Adria Malcolm
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A view through the window of a lookout tower at a survival camp in central Colorado. REUTERS/Adria Malcolm

A view through the window of a lookout tower at a survival camp in central Colorado. REUTERS/Adria Malcolm

A view through the window of a lookout tower at a survival camp in central Colorado. REUTERS/Adria Malcolm
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