Nick Rosen | |


The rugged outdoorsman dubbed the ‘Last American Man’ is facing a government shutdown of his camp in the Appalachian Mountains for not adhering to building code.

Eustace Conway dedicated his entire fortune and nearly 30 years of his  to building and living off of his 500-acre farm. Now he is facing having his entire way of life shut down by the North Carolina state government. In the YouTube film (click the pic above) he says what motivated him.

You can read much more here about Conway, 51, in an excerpt from my book OFF THE GRID – Inside the Movement for More Space, Less Government and True Independence in Modern America

According to the Wall Street Journal, several officials showed up to his Turtle Island Preserve home and found that his outhouses, kitchens, and even the wood he’s used to build several structures across the properties are in breach.
Their findings were summarized in a 78-page report.

The Watauga County Planning Department in North Carolina has found several health and sanitary violations in his encampment and has threatened to condemn the buildings.

Conway, who was given the title of the ‘last great American man’ by ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ author Elizabeth Gilbert in her 2002 biography, is fighting the department over their violations.

Now the planning department is demanding that Conway either tear down his structures or rebuild them in-line with public housing codes.

The naturalist is outraged. “The whole foundation of the American experience is based on the experience of small farms,’ he told WSOC TV. ‘This is a small farm.’

While he said he doesn’t have ‘a perfect record,’ he added that America’s Founding Fathers did not have to live up to scrupulous building codes.
He also said that the annual summer camps he runs – which teach outdoor skills to children each year – are at risk of ending.
One of the department’s issues was that none of Conway’s lumber was properly marked. But all of his wood is made at his personal sawmill.
‘Codes don’t apply to what we’re doing,’ he told the Wall Street Journal.
Following the publication of the piece in last week’s Journal, the Building Code Council of North Carolina announced they were thinking of amending the codes for primitive camps.
However, the ruling could take several weeks, putting Conway’s summer camp business in jeopardy.

Buy our book - OFF THE GRID - a tour of American off-grid places and people written by Nick Rosen, editor of the web site

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