In the summer of 1991, Ron Ridenour introduced the idea of a cultural center at Lake Five. In August of 1992, a group he helped form called the Terran Alliance was granted tax exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service. He approached underground architect Malcolm Wells in 1995 and throughout the summer and fall they wrote letters between Montana and Massachusetts working on the design phase of the task. The concept of the center Ridenour envisioned dovetailed harmoniously with Wells' earth-sheltered vision for our future.
When a man-made solution to society's problems is realized, it will look like the collaboration between native Montanan Ron Ridenour and architect Malcolm Wells of Brewster, Massachusetts. Recognized around the world as the "father of underground architecture," Wells' work incorporates standards overlooked by nearly all architects. Earth-sheltered construction doesn't call for the endless covering of the earth with what Wells refers to as "short-lived, land destroying, boring and often ugly structures." Rainwater doesn't flow to gutters and into storm drains. Cooling and heating efficiency are built in. Composting toilets don't pollute the ground water. Wells says we can begin to "rebuild our country with long-lived, land-restoring, exciting and beautiful structures." In one of Wells' many books, Infra Structures, he says "if we don't have the money, we will find it. The central issue is not the financial one. It is a moral one." In his most recent publication, Recovering America, he states the most devastating construction in our country has occurred in the last hundred years. The challenge of the next hundred, he says, will be to replace these buildings--to recover our land with unobtrusive earth conscious dwellings.
"The entire essence of this undertaking," says Ridenour, "will be a benefit for our lives." Where do we build this facility--this interpretive/recharge center? In time, says Ridenour, it would be nice to construct them in many naturally suitable locations. To start with though, he thinks Lake Five in northwest Montana is a perfect place. It's land his grandparents homesteaded and he says he has wanted to see the site ideally utilized for a long time. "We'll build the first one at Lake Five," he says, "then we move to the Ruby Valley or down on the Bighorn, to another location where one is needed. As the benefit and value of these structures becomes apparent, property, labor and the money will become available." Like Malcolm said, "we will find it."
Ridenour has wanted to see the Lake Five land where he grew up used for spiritual awareness and healing, seminars and retreats, understanding and growth. His vision is to see Lake Five used as a center for peace and hope--a bright and shining star offering answers to our world. A place where people learn about the traditions and ways of people from different walks of life--a place where people learn the common ways of our world. It would be a place of few limits and great power. Lake Five is a good place to start. Supporters and critics alike are invited to visit the location to see for themselves. It is on the course of all the people who have ever traversed this corner of America. It is at the heart of the last best place.