Another Off-Grider Shutdown: History Channel’s Mountain Man Targeted by Government Zoning Officials

After 26 years of living off the land, and teaching scores of people about the American Heritage way of getting back to nature, Eustace Conway, who was featured on featured on The History Channel’s Mountain Men, has been forced to close his nature school.

Eustace Conway

Eustace, who purchased a large amount of land outside Boone, N.C., has been using his land to teach people how to live closer to nature. But now, thanks to government officials who don’t agree with his lifestyle, Eustace is being forced to fight for his way of life and to keep his school open.

Like many of the stories we’ve covered over the last couple of years, Eustace is another in a long string of people who are being “zoned” out of existence. From the heartbreaking story of Andrew Wordes, who took his life after code enforcement teams seized his home, to the Off-Gridders in California who are being illegally forced back on to the grid, what’s happening to Eustace seems to be a calculated attack on anyone who dares live a self-sufficient lifestyle.

It’s really sickening when you look into what’s really going on. We have government officials across our land who are threatening people, arresting them, and forcibly taking their land; and for what?

When did it become acceptable for the government to intimidate someone off their land? When did it become acceptable for the government to tell us how we can live on our own land? These aren’t people living in some urban area, where you might be able to make a case for zoning ordinances; these are people who live in rural areas of the country on large plots of land.

In the case of Eustace Conway, this is a man who lives on a large plot of rural land who isn’t doing anything to disturb anyone in any way. Yet county officials have literally shut him down and told him he can’t teach people how to live off the land unless he makes changes that would go against his way of life.

Here is his Story:

Government Crack Down on Self-Reliance and Liberty

Uncle Sam Propaganda Poster

While some dismiss these cases as localized issues, I believe they’re part of a larger movement to control the way Americans live. What we are seeing here is a coordinated attack on traditional American values and an all out assault on the self-reliant lifestyle.

I think evidence of this can be seen:

Shirts of Liberty

OFFGRID Survival book



  1. It’s hard to take people seriously when they spell like a 1st grader. That goes for most of you. Learn how to read and write before sounding off.

  2. If you where to meet this man you would then understand what and why he is having the problems he is! He’s nothing but about money! Plain and simple! My wife loved him to death before she met him and afterwards is a very different story! I can not watch Mt Men now on account of it. He’s nothing like the man on TV! I know some of the things are blown out of shape on the show just didn’t realize he was such an Azz-Hole!

    • I watched the first season and several times I commented to my wife that he was an ass hole. First, he had someone else site-in his weapon, as anyone who has used a weapon you don’t have someone else site your weapon. I was an expert in the army and an armorer and If I handed you a weapon I could knock down the 300 meter target with every time, that doesn’t mean squat if someone else uses that weapon to shoot with.
      Second, if your neighbor is doing something on his land you don’t approve of (but is legal) you can’t do squat about it but put up signs saying what you think.
      Just because you live off grid isn’t a reason to act the fool.

      • Oh, I forgot. He also said he decided to take his horse into town rather than a truck, so all that BS about the cars and his skittish horse, was just that – BS. He made a choice to travel by horse and did you see the mile of cars behind them?

  3. All of the current issues we face can be distilled down to the ideologies of two men: Thomas Malthus and George Fitzhugh.

    Malthus convinced the elites there were too many people and the herd needs to be culled and managed.

    Fitzhugh showed them that a few men are born to be kings and the rest need to be enslaved for their own good.

    All of this was born in the age of Slavery by men who thought themselves to be gods.

  4. It’s funny they say the county officials has been there before, observing it and then approved that there wasn’t a problem back then, however, now, years later, when the US is in trouble and people trying to escape the system, trying to live off-grid, NOW they realize they have to do something about it. I’m telling you all, its too late for that. Change is coming, be prepared.

  5. All I can say is that it’s a good thing no one ever “raided” my Girl Scout Camp back in the 1960s – because my tent didn’t have running water and we had to use an outhouse.

    How does any campground survive this “agenda”? Answer: it can’t. So what happens to all the campgrounds that don’t have cabins with running water and indoor plumbing and electricity?

    Will they all have to be shut down? Hundreds of thousands of people, from kids to adults, will be sorry to hear that.

    I think Agenda 21 is being used for nefarious purposes in the form of personal agendas and get rich schemes – by stealing other people’s properties and forcing them to pay money for electricity, water, etc. –

    It should be everyone’s right to do their own cost-benefit analysis and make their own decision as to how they wish to live.

    Are we living in a free country? Or a totalitarian or fascist State?

  6. Our government is nothing more than modern age Mafia. Our government will be facing another civil war if they do not back down.

  7. If a man has land and is not on any disability or warfare then what f/#king right does anybody have to tell him how he can live or gov is a greedy piece of shit the handful of people that do live like this is not going hurt them fkn immigration is what’s breaking this country

    • only one way, he must be paid in the currency of the govt., he has contempt for, he uses stupid hippies for unpaid labor, (he accepts payments, he refuses to make payments) pay for the one-eyed kid, he and his empire hurt, by sending him cash. problem is you send him cash and he tells the one-eyed kid, sorry punk I’m the victim here, look the govt. is mad at me.

  8. Fuck the government. They want to control every part of your life but when the shit hits the fan – AND IT’S GOING TO, will they have your back NO!! Wake up people and prep. Do what you got to do Get what you need to get. Survive!

    • so are you saying the kid who got his eye poked out on his hippie commune, who eustice agreed to pay,(settlement), is shit out of luck, or can his dad come and put a red hot steel rod to eustice,(eye for an eye), so the govt. is helping make eustice pay his obligation to the boy, so shit does NOT hit the fan, hey ray v if I poke your boys eye out, and the boogy-govt. came to make me pay, how in your tiny mind am I a victim, instead of the one eyed boy. you may call eustice a victim, but his freedom did not hurt a child his reckless endangerment did, this is your hero, a child crippler, who settles(agrees) to make it good, and then says screw the boy, as his defender ray you seem to think one eye is fine,need help removeing one of yours, I will help you, I got a sharp stick, and a map to turtle island.

  9. I find it funny how sites such as this can cause such a stir by reporting a false story. Eustace is loosing his land because he feels he is above the law and doesn’t need to pay taxes on his business. To date Eustace is wor the a reported 1.3 million dollars, but cannot $80,000 in income taxes. He is not above the law.

  10. I lived at Turtle Island for 1 year. I know Eustace Conway and his girlfriend Desere as well. The 2 of them run Turtle Island, excluding all others.

    My experience was very similar to most interns who go to Turtle Island to try and help. I realize that this may sound a bit dramatic, but those of you out there who have interned at Turtle Island will know exactly what I mean…. I feel like I have been permanently scarred by the experience. I should have read the book before I went there. I feel like I could write a book about my experience.

    I just want to be clear about one thing before I share …..I don’t hate Eustace or his girlfriend Desere. Contributing to this thread gives me an opportunity to share my experiences. How do I feel about Eustace Conway and Desere now that I am no longer at Turtle Island? I feel very sorry for them both. They are both irreparably damaged inside. Eustace as the narcissist and Desere plays the perpetual victim and supporter of his ongoing tragic behavior. It is actually a very sad thing to witness.

    They are living in a state of vicious co-dependency and neither of them is happy. Eustace admits that Desere is not the girl for him, and Desere knows this but clings to him anyways.

    Both Eustace and Desere have left a wide trail of broken relationships behind them. I am actually very surprised that more interns have not taken the time to write about their experiences. I know for a fact I am not the only one who has been scarred by their experience.

    I will agree completely with the other “intern” on AMAZON who started a very long conversation ….. He told the truth…..the man seen by employees and the man seen by visitors and guests are totally different and Gilbert’s description of his interns’ disillusionment hardly scratches the surface.

    Eustace did live naturally when he was young, but now he is living a lie, the other intern who posted was correct on all counts. Turtle Island Preserve is not what people think it is. (but it could be) The farm is not productive and they do not grow their own food, there are leaking rusty old cars and trailers everywhere in front of his house, which by the way is on the grid, powered by electricity.
    He is not environmentally conscious at all, not even a little bit. He really doesn’t even understand sustainability.

    I think the worst part about my internship was when the animals would die from improper care. Neglect and ignorance run rampant at Turtle Island. Eustace have even less empathy for the animals than he does for other people. YES, livestock routinely die from neglect at Turtle Island. I watched so many animals go without getting the proper care. I have seen them die, injured, in distress.. Eustace is stubborn about the animals, he always puts everything else above their needs. Animals do not have it easy at Turtle Island. Even his own dog runs away from him….I am not saying that to be funny, this is a true fact…his dog splits every chance he gets. The dogs get fed ( if and when they get fed) rotten meat.

    Food –Turtle Island DOES NOT produce most of its food…He will never run out of onions or kale, but for the most part, we used to get cast offs from grocery stores, and donations from visitors. We would go once a week and shop for the rest of the food we needed. When the kids come to summer camp, the food for them is bought at the local WALMART. Eustace does not want to waste his meat on them.

    He rides around on a motorcycle, not a horse and he splits his wood with a splitter. The other intern was correct, we had to BEG to do things with primitive tools, because Eustace feels it takes too much time. He was never around to teach us anything because he was too busy doing his own things, apart from Turtle Island.

    TRUE –Eustace treats the wood of his house and truck beds by painting them with a mixture of diesel and motor oil without any attempt to keep it from leaching into the soil.

    TRUE –Interns spend the majority of their time fixing cars or building his new house as free labor, NOT learning primitive/sustainable living skills. Eustace is the founder of a non-profit, but the volunteers that were there always ended up working on Eustace’s personal jobs to make him $, not Turtle Island and Desere turns a blind eye even though she knows it is wrong. An example of this is his wood cutting business. That is a personal business, but he gets the volunteers to do the work. He is not preserving the mountain so much as developing it, building illegal roads, ( I know because I helped him) , cutting down trees, annoying the hell out his neighbors. .

    TRUE –Interns are seldom allowed to use simple tools, because Eustace feels they waste too much time. Any “primitive” living must be done on their own time.

    TRUE –Horses are hardly used for anything other than buggy rides for tourists and occasionally plowing fields and cutting grass. They stand in a stall all day long and at night they graze.

    TRUE –Eustace owns and regularly operates bulldozers, backhoes, and industrial-size dump trucks to clear forest for roads, buildings, and anything else he can think of. I would consider him a “hoarder”.

    TRUE–Eustace’s home is surrounded by rusting trucks, cars, horse trailers, etc., most of which do not run or function at all. I counted 60 cars, not to mention the numerous trailers strewn throughout the surrounding forest. Piles of car batteries sit exposed and leaking in the forest amongst the cars behind the house.

    NOT TRUE — Worst of all, INTERNS ARE EXPECTED TO LIE TO THE PUBLIC about these things in order to keep the illusion of “primitive living” at Turtle Island.

    The fact is, interns are not asked to lie…but Eustace has a way of making people love him at the beginning, and so interns just automatically want to defend him. Anyone who has met him can feel his charm and knows what I am talking about.

    Mountain Men – Preston makes up most of the stories and then the two of them act it out. It
    is staged of course, this is no surprise I am sure. I remember one season of Mountain Men, he said he owed money ($80,000) in land taxes. This story was not true. It was made up for the tv show and I think Eustace was hoping to make some money by getting people to feel sorry for him.

    Just because Eustace and Desere are tragically flawed does not make them horrible people. They are just broken, like many people in this world. They are living their own little dream, “using” whomever they can to make it happen.

    I can still say that when people come to visit TIP , they can still find magic….but not BECAUSE of Desere and Eustace, but DESPITE Desere and Eustace. People seem to have this ideal image of what TIP is all about…but they really have no idea. No one does except for those of us who lived there with him day in and day out. It is like the Wizard of OZ, and Eustace and Desere are behind the curtain dictating to everyone, showing one face to the public but hiding their true face behind the curtain.

    TIP has the potential to be an amazing place. It just needs someone else to run it, because Eustace really doesn’t know how.

  11. Hi.
    I am a southern born Ga girl who went the USAF and was in Qatar for the first Gulf War. I love this site and I go to it everyday. Here is where it’s tricky. I am a gun toting, conservative who loves Family, God,dogs,beer and bbq.The twist, I am a lesbian. I believe in the Golden Rule and live and let live. I’ve had it with govt,I support the military and the Constitution. I agree I don’t believe in Gay marriage though in our defense check out the divorce rate among straight American couples. Not a really good percentage. Everyone who pays taxes should have the same rights. If you don’t like it I shouldn’t have to pay the same. I’m good with that. Now the purpose of this post is does anyone have an acre or two, no more than two in TN or NC, or ideally North Ga that you will sell me? I have always wanted to disappear for numerous reasons but I’m ready to do it. I’ve been reading about the crime in the mountains also off gridoers building huge compound that become huge targets. A creek or spring would be ideal and if anyone comes on my property to hurt me or my hound family I’ll protect us. I’m a Crack shot thanks to a single Mom and a great papa. God Bless everyone, those of us left who earn what they have, believe in the Constitution and family and friends come first. Oh I am recently single because though I was born a lesbian, turns out I’m not good at it. Well what I can talk about that is.Unapologetically American War veteran. I fought for all American’s Rights but believe nothing is free and I don’t owe anyone a dam thing unless it’s the American Indian, Creek specifically.

    • Why head to Tenn? It seems everyone in Indiana and ohio plan to relocate near Daniel Boone forest, or Tenn mountains. Here’s the thing. If we all up and go to the same place, there won’t be any resources left, since we’ve marginalized moat wildlife to not impede on the suburban lifestyle. I moved from Ohio to indiana as they seem to leave you be much more. Just wondering why Tenn. I’ve thought the same thing, but last ten years I’ve heard it nonstop. If you really want to get away, let me know

  12. Here is the problem as I see it from both sides of the perspective. Government means to control, delegate, function for the people. Off grid means to live without the government. When the government realizes that an off grid person is perfectly capable of living with them, they become offended and start with rules, then regulations, then laws, then federal laws, then they try to pull out all the stops on any and everything they can muster. The government wants you to think they are needed, because where there is a need there is more revenue that they delegate, control, monitor and spend. So in short off grid people (myself included) are not against the government, but against their beliefs. Because let’s face it folks, the beliefs nowadays are not what our forefathers even remotely wrote about. I feel very strongly that the only need you should have for the government is at war time. Otherwise they serve no purpose, at Least not for me they don’t. People become a problem when they don’t teach their sons how to be men these days, or their daughters how to be women. When a man can build a remote cabin without the government involved,with just the tools and natural resources god gave him, and his wife can have a child for them they become a family. When that family needs nothing from the government they are shunned, cast aways, and no do gooders! This is a huge misconception. .because those are real life people. Not government officials driving around in some expensive car, doing what others tell them to do…I thought real men didn’t take orders unless directed at the time of war for the safety of people. Real men don’t let other men tell them what to do…they do it for themselves and their families. What has happened to this world is that men became boys again and woman became little girls again…depending on the government for their safety, food, resources. When a man can go hunt for his family he is a true man..When a man shops for beef, he is a weak government controlled boy. When a woman has a baby and can feed it naturally she is a mother, when she runs to the store for moll replacer she is not of age to have a child or is controlled by the government. It’s not about rules laws’s about all o’s us being American. Step it up fellas and show your young boys and girls what kind of a man you really arr..because when the electronic world crashes, what are you going to do…depend on a woman who lives off grid…I think men are just too weak these days and will take any job you throw at em…Teach our boys to be men and live with nature and respect it…don’t teach them how to control someone else (this is why marriages don’t last these days either).just say it it like it is fellas…step it up. ..go shoot an ani, split firewood, build something useful to your family. something constructive. ..isn’t that what being a man is located about. ..

  13. You can help by educating the rest of us on how to fight zoning commissions. Who makes them up? Where do they get their power and authority? What are their weak spots? You’re the inside guy.

    • Most P&Z boards are just that- boards. If any county or state organization brngs you up on charges for ‘defiling’ their codes you have the right to ask for those charges to be filed in the superior court of your area. Especially if they are trying to make you pay fines. We have done this in our county. Most boards back down quickly because they know a jury trial will go against them 9 times out of 10.

      • We did sue our county with the Rutherford Institute representing us pro bono, but had no jury—only a judge, who ruled against us.

  14. Stay off TV. Don’t get noticed & they probably will leave you alone. I do know the gov. is taking away lots of our rights. I saw that coming when they started Homeland Security. I think there is a law in Fl. that does not allow you to catch & use rainwater.

  15. I live in the same county as Eustace and although I will agree the building inspectors in this county are a pain in the a**, Eustace is a well known Fake around here he does not live in the wilderness its about 10 miles from App State where he recruits all the young help to do all his work for him. He owns Dump trucks, Trackhoes, Bulldozers etc etc He is a Scam artist, He Goes around buying houses and fixing them up and reselling them and when you ask Him about his tv show and the fakeness of it he just says ” Well you know how Tv is” and laughs. Remember when he “couldn’t afford to pay his taxes” and rode his horse into town? Do stuff like that while you have public school children come to your place for field trips and your are asking for trouble.

  16. If you would like your own place near Turtle Creek, we have 115 acres we would like to sell. Beautiful streams and timber. $350,000 Tele:336.838.1001

    • No thank you! We do not need anymore communist loving socialists wanting to tax us to death and even more government intrusion. What an idiot you are!

  17. This is a difficult though terrible situation. Though I have grown a career in a high tech environment I have begun to understand the larger need. If the government is focusing on generating natural well being to better the population than I understand the hard choice, if the reasoning is selfish then this is a pure sin. I like to focus on the positive and with my current information, I believe the nature school does provide the education necessary and increasing important to our worlds community. Some how we often think progress is the answer but we have often failed to see that then stones we stand on to reach for the stars can and will fall if not secured and properly grounded. We come from the earth and the earth will take us back.

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