ALTA MEADOW RANCH
Alta Meadow Ranch is located along the West Fork of the Bitterroot River, and within its borders are five discrete properties, each one afforded access to the river as well as the boundless wilderness all around. Our homes are situated on the periphery of a beautiful alpine meadow, which in essence is a private nature preserve. Depending on one's preferences and dreams, it’ is possible to have a fishing lodge, a horse ranch, a vacation home in the wilderness - or all of the above.
Alta Meadow has had many manifestations over the centuries, but in recent years it was a guest ranch, with its most important attributes being its natural beauty and proximity to the surrounding wilderness. These features provided a unique experience for the guests, and our comfortable, well appointed cabins added significantly to their pleasure. With its location, its meadowlands, sheltering forests and willows, the ranch is a very valuable resource for all the wildlife in the area. The fact that it has remained so despite our presence was the result of a conscious effort to minimize human impact.
Specifically, we have limited fencing and relatively few homes on the 230 acres comprising the ranch. Also, the meadow is irrigated, thereby bringing water to the entire ecosystem, making it much more productive for both flora and fauna. Over the years it has become apparent that the land's value for both humans and critters has been significantly enhanced by maintaining this arrangement. Therefore, covenants have been adopted to preserve the ranch’s natural beauty and exceptional habitat. Essentially, the restrictions limit additional fencing and building to the replacement of existing structures. No commercial use of the property or further subdivision will be permitted. Despite these restrictions, as will become apparent in the following pages, owners may choose to live in a very comfortable existing home or build the home of their dreams. A close reading of the covenants will reveal much more in the way of protection, utility and convenience than restriction.
The surrounding country is steeped in history of the Old West and Alta Meadow Ranch has a rich legacy as well. It is located along an age-old trail traversing the southern Bitterroot Mountains, once used by the Nez Perce Indians trekking to their hunting grounds to the south. By the 1820s the West Fork Valley had become an important corridor for American and English fur companies as well as the ‘’mountain men’’ of that era. Over a century ago prospectors found a pristine mountain meadow but little gold. Later came loggers, and during the prohibition era it was sufficiently remote to avoid a variety of ‘’constraints’’. For many years it was a working cattle ranch with annual cattle drives to the higher pastures to the west. Alta Meadow has come full circle and is once again a beautiful valley in the high country of western Montana.