For Sale

Montana Mountain View Ranch

$1,250,000 Ovando, MT 669± Deeded Acres

Executive Summary

Nestled in a line of timber with its back to a creek, the 669± acre Montana Mountain View Ranch sits in an iconic location on Kleinschmidt Flat in the upper Blackfoot River Valley. Used as an outfitting base for the last fifty years in the adjacent Bob Marshall and Scapegoat Wilderness areas, this is an ideal property for the backcountry enthusiast devoted to an equestrian or outdoor lifestyle. The property contains a home, bunkhouse/guest lodging and mobile home for hired hands, along with additional infrastructure for horse management and outfitting. Kleinshcmidt Flat is a unique location within the Blackfoot Valley of western Montana, with sweeping views across steppe-like flats that lead abruptly to the towering scarp of Echo Mountain. Few locations in the west contain an equivalent feeling of proximity to rugged wildness as the Montana Mountain View Ranch.

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Just the Facts

  • 669± acre holding on Kleinschmidt Flat in the Blackfoot Valley
  • Minutes from Ovando and 70 miles from Missoula
  • Spectacular views of Echo Mountain and the Bob Marshall and Scapegoat Wildernesses
  • Nearby world-class fly fishing
  • Livewater flows along the eastern boundary in Rock Creek
  • Adjacent to large block of State of Montana land
  • Immediate access to the North Fork of the Blackfoot trailhead

General Description

The primary access to the ranch is from Coopers Lake Road, a forest access road that breaks north from Highway 200 and skirts Kleinschmidt Flat along its eastern edge. Turning into the property near its northern border, the private access road crosses Rock Creek, a nice year-round tributary to the North Fork of the Blackfoot River located a few miles to the southwest. Curving through a timbered margin of the Flat, the visitor is immediately confronted with the soaring peaks of Echo and Iron Mountain. As the access drive curves around and climbs a low bench, the riding arena is the first visible structure, followed quickly by the pantry and saddle barn. The area around the arena has been divided into a variety of small pens and staging areas, facilitating the sorting and handling of livestock. The bunkhouse, mobile home and main home follow in succession, all located within a few hundred yards of each other and nestled securely on the edge of the timber. 

The balance of the property extends to the south and west across Kleinschmidt Flat. Native grasslands provide hearty pasture and Rock Creek, which at first defines the northeastern boundary of the property, cuts across the open flat on its journey to the North Fork. The property is perimeter fenced and cross-fenced into four major pastures, providing a variety of possibilities for forage management. A 160-acre State of Montana grazing lease has been a part of the ranch during the current ownership and is currently fenced into the northern pasture. A seldom-used county road divides the southern-most pasture from the remainder of the property and provides ready access by vehicle to the south end of the ranch. 

Broker's Comments

The Montana Mountain View Ranch sits in a location that provides sweeping views of the surrounding country. Watching the changing face of the Scapegoat escarpment as sun reflects off and clouds race across alpine faces, or musing over the coming and going of seasonal snowpack is one of the rare treats of this property. Equally suitable as a base for a commercial backcountry operation or a personal retreat, this ranch offers the interested buyer a great opportunity to locate in a storied landscape with infinite possibilities lying just past your door. 

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Location

Montana Mountain View Ranch is located 10 miles east of Ovando. Ovando itself is a classic small Montana town with a post office, café and fly shop. The larger town of Lincoln is located 24 miles to the east and has a variety of restaurants, a grocery store and other basic goods and services. Lincoln also offers a public airstrip with a 4,200’ lighted runway. Missoula, approximately 60 miles to the west, is the second largest city in Montana and is home to the University of Montana. There is reliable commercial air service as well as good urban amenities including fine dining, theater, more extensive shopping, major services and a variety of box stores which include Costco, Home Depot and Lowes.

Locale

The Blackfoot Valley is undeniably one of the most sought-after locations in the northern Rockies. Many significant properties are in the hands of some of the most prominent and ardent conservationists in the world and, as a result, the valley has maintained its ecological integrity and rural character. Countless ranches in the valley have been placed under conservation easement forever protecting them from development, and the Montana Mountain View Ranch is no exception, having granted a conservation easement to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. In fact, the valley is the home of the very first donated conservation easement in the state and the area has led the way in the conservation arena ever since. 

The Blackfoot Valley sits at the southern edge of the Bob Marshall/Scapegoat Wilderness complex, which gives backcountry enthusiasts access to over one-and-one-half million acres of wilderness this side of the Canadian border and millions more beyond.

The ranch is also located at an historical travel junction and occupies a significant portion of the route followed eastward by Meriwether Lewis (William Clark took another route to maximize their new discoveries). The valley was also the route used for centuries by Salish and Kootenai tribes of Native Americans. Known as the “Going to the Buffalo Road,” the river corridor was used to landmark a trail that crossed the Continental Divide at the head of the valley for annual bison hunts. Other historical uses include a variety of pioneering cattle ranches, early and modern logging operations, and more recently a mecca for fly fishers and other outdoor enthusiasts. 

The property is currently surrounded on two-and-one-half sides by other large private holdings and on one-and-a-half sides by State of Montana land. The Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem sprawls to the north, offering the second largest semi-intact ecosystem within the lower 48 states, right behind the Greater Yellowstone area. This means that a full complement of native species can be expected to visit the ranch, either as year-round residents or through migratory or dispersal patterns. 

Climate

Average high temperatures in the summer range from 71° in June, 81° in July, and 81° in August, with average lows in the low 40s. June usually has the most rainfall with an average of 2.2 inches and an annual average of 18± inches. The average high temperature in the winter ranges from 31° in December, 30° in January, and 46° in February, with average lows in the low teens. The average snowfall per month in December and January is 19 inches.

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Acreage (Deeded & Leased)

Deeded Acres: 669±

Total Acres: 669±

* All acreages are approximations.

Additional Information

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service holds a conservation easement on the property that restricts the number and location of additional improvements. Existing improvements may be replaced with newer facilities and there does not appear to be a restriction on the size of such replacement, but all prospective buyers should independently verify this. 

Improvements

The Montana Mountain View Ranch was used as a commercial outfitting base for trips into the Bob Marshall and Scapegoat wilderness complex, as well as a primary residence for the proprietors, Karen and Jack Hooker. As such, the improvements reflect a broad utility, as well as the comforts one would expect from a mountain home. A 1996 kit home built in Boise, Idaho constitutes the primary residence and has the modifications one would expect in a mountain home. Six-inch walls provide extra insulation and an efficient design helps to reduce unnecessary utility expenses in all seasons. The home contains four bedrooms and two full baths. 

A short distance away, a bunk house, also constructed in 1996, provides guest housing and contains five individual bedrooms, one bath, a kitchen/great room with an open floor design and laundry facilities. Between these two facilities there is a 1979 mobile home in serviceable condition that has been historically used by the ranch hand. A single well, 90 feet deep and providing an estimated 60 gpm, supplies all three dwellings. The water system connecting the individual residences is two-inch black pipe buried six feet, well below the frost line. 

There are five additional structures that provide the remaining improvements. A 30’ x 40’ pantry barn provides food storage, packaging and processing facilities, along with a large 12’ x 12’ walk-in cooler. This building also contains a metal shop and saddle repair facility. The saddle barn is a 30’ x 60’ facility that provides saddle trees for sixty riding saddles and fifty pack saddles, and can easily be modified for a wide variety of uses beyond its commercial application. An open-sided 16’ x 20’ hay shed provides a useful addition for keeping livestock feed out of the weather, while a small gas house stores chemicals and fuels necessary for daily management of the ranch. Finally, a 70’ x 150’ indoor-riding arena is insulated and well-lit and provides a year-round refuge for whatever weather Montana dishes up. 

Taxes

Taxes for the Montana Mountain View Ranch are approximately $1,563.

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Wildlife Resources

The ranch is located in the northeast corner of Kleinschmidt Flat along almost 2.5 miles of Rock Creek, a year-round tributary to the North Fork of the Blackfoot River at the margin of a virtually endless tract of timber that extends east for dozens of miles and north for hundreds. This location at the southern margin of what is known as the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem ensures that some of the most robust wildlife populations in the lower 48 states are near at hand. From large migratory elk herds to resident whitetail deer, from large and rare predators found virtually nowhere else in the lower 48 to sleek diminutive forest residents such as mink and weasel, there is a good chance that it can be found on the Montana Mountain View property sooner or later. The Blackfoot Valley is widely noted as one of the most intact native landscapes outside of large designated wilderness areas. Of course many of these are also located within the immediate viewshed of the property. All manner of fauna are likely to be spotted on or near the property. Both bald and golden eagles, trumpeter swans, grizzly bears and the grey wolf are just a few of the possibilities. Moose, elk and deer abound in the area and the property lies directly adjacent to a 3,000+ acre block of State of Montana land, providing direct access to a large parcel of forested land for hunting, riding, hiking or a variety of other pursuits. 

Fishing on both live and still water is close at hand. The legendary Blackfoot River provides outstanding dry-fly fishing for large trout throughout the summer and fall months. The crystalline waters of the North Fork of the Blackfoot are readily accessible, as well. Located just across the flat from the property, this major tributary to the Blackfoot system flows gin-clear and cold out of the mountains and is the ideal size for wade fishing. Nearby Coopers Lake provides excellent stillwater fishing and is located just to the west across the flat, in addition to multiple other lakes that are found throughout the Blackfoot landscape. 

But the defining feature of this part of the world is a never-ending trail system that begins where the North Fork flows from its wilderness headwaters. The North Fork trailhead, located a short 12 miles from the property, is the gateway to 3 million acres of untrammeled backcountry of legendary stature. One can literary set out on horseback or foot and travel north all the way to Banff, Alberta – some 300 miles to the north – and cross a grand total of two developed roads. For the backcountry or wilderness enthusiast, there are few places in the world today that offer an equivalent package of access and proximity to one of the world’s few great fully intact wilderness ecosystems. 

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