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St. Clair Ranch at Fish Creek

$5,500,000 Alberton, MT 557± Deeded Acres

Executive Summary

The St. Clair Ranch at Fish Creek epitomizes luxury western living in a storied landscape. The property boasts 40,000± sq. ft. under roof with over 11,000 sq. ft. of living area in three separate homes. The balance of the improvements include extensive equestrian facilities with a large indoor riding arena, workshops, horse barns and covered corrals. Located an easy half-hour drive west of Missoula, Montana, the St. Clair Ranch provides an accessible private retreat on 290± acres with an additional 267± acres of timbered wildlife habitat available as an additional offering. The newly created 41,000-acre Fish Creek State Wildlife Management Area borders the property to the south, while the Alberton Gorge of the Clark Fork River is literally a stone’s throw from the northern boundary and offers renowned fly fishing intermixed with Class III whitewater. These two neighboring amenities offer virtually unlimited recreational opportunities accessible from your doorstep. 

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Just the Facts

11,000± square feet of living area in three homes40,000± total square feet of improvements including indoor arena, shops, barns and residences290± acres with all improvementsAn additional unimproved 267± acres is offered to the buyer for an additional $750,000Abundant elk, whitetail, mule deer, bear and bighorn sheepTrophy cutthroat fishery on Fish CreekAdjacent to the 40,000-acre Fish Creek Wildlife Management AreaHalf-hour via Interstate 90 to the Missoula Airport15 minutes from a new private airstrip in SuperiorImmediate access to Alberton Gorge on the Clark Fork

General Description

The property is accessed directly off the Fish Creek exit of Interstate 90. The Fish Creek exit lies between the Cyr and Tarkio exits, the traditional put-in and take out river access points for the regionally famous Alberton Gorge whitewater section of the Clark Fork River.Upon leaving the freeway, one continues west on paved Fish Creek Road for approximately two miles. Entering the ranch near its northwest corner on a private paved road, one climbs gradually to a broad bench. Traveling east through the property, one passes the first of three residences on the right - the 4,000 square foot ranch house, hay storage and a small barn on the left side. The majority of other improvements are soon encountered, including the equestrian facility and heated shop. Past these improvements, one emerges on to the open meadows and immediately is greeted by views of the primary residence, the center-piece of the property. Stretching in every direction, these meadows overlook the broad expanse of the Clark Fork Valley opening to the east, while to the west and directly north, the steep slopes and purple cliffs that create the Alberton Gorge loom over the rushing waters of the Clark Fork River. The primary home is entered by way of a paved driveway to a heated porte cochere. This ample circular driveway leads one to an impressive log portico and inviting front doors. A short distance to the south is the guest residence offering good proximity for in-laws or visiting families while preserving the essential privacy of the main home. Timber and high quality wildlife cover defines the eastern portion of the property, which is offered as a separate purchase. Mature stands of lodgepole pine, Douglas fir and ponderosa pine cover the eastern 267± acres. Well tended for the last two decades, the forest on the St. Clair Ranch shows a dedication to sound silvicultural practices. Fuel reduction and stem density control contribute to a very healthy stand of western timber at a time when many properties remain unmanaged, making the St. Clair Ranch stand out once again. To the south, the flanks of the Fish Creek Wildlife Management area rise to the horizon. 

Broker's Comments

The St. Clair Ranch at Fish Creek offers luxurious western living one-half hour of the airport in Missoula. World class fishing and hunting abound on this property with paved access all the way to the ranch gate. Exceptional year-round accessibility, limitless recreational potential, sumptuous improvements and outstanding wildlife on and around the ranch are the major features of this property. 

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Location

The St. Clair Ranch is located just off the Fish Creek exit in the Interstate 90 corridor in Mineral County, Montana one-half hour west of the bustling university town of Missoula. Commercial air service is available from Delta, United, Horizon, and Allegiant Airlines offering direct service to Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, Denver, Seattle, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and, seasonally, San Francisco.

Locale

Fish Creek Meadow is located in the lower Clark Fork River Valley in the Alberton Gorge area. Alberton Gorge is a favorite whitewater destination for Missoula, while the lower Clark Fork offers excellent, lightly used fly waters featuring large rainbow and brown trout. The lower Clark Fork flows through the Lolo National Forest, which contains over 3,500 miles of trout streams, 350,000 acres of elk winter range and summer and seasonal transition habitat. As a result it provides a home for moose, deer, bighorn sheep, fishers, bald eagle, osprey, wolves and bears. With the creation of the Fish Creek Wildlife Management Area along the southern boundary of the St. Clair Ranch, the area has become a hotspot for deer and elk populations. The world-class hunting, fishing, hiking, backroad riding and equestrian opportunities on and directly adjacent to the property are among the very best that can be found in the American West. 

Climate

The city of Missoula is generally considered to be in Montana’s “banana belt.” The St. Clair Ranch lies on the periphery of this region and therefore has a slightly more pronounced winter than Missoula, primarily due to its location in a gorge-like setting. Most of the year is typical of northern climatic regimes with comfortable temperatures. Daytime highs in the winter typically reach into the mid-30s, while summertime highs occasionally reach the 90s, with averages in the high 70s to low 80s. Most of the annual precipitation falls in the winter and spring. Annual precipitation is 16-18 inches. It would be unusual to have more than 12-18 inches of snow on the ground in the middle of winter. 

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Acreage (Deeded & Leased)

Deeded Acres: 557±

Total Acres: 557±

* All acreages are approximations.

Additional Information

Conservation Easement Potential:The property has excellent conservation easement potential given its proximity to Missoula and the high quality wildlife habitat and open space it possesses. Price:St. Clair Ranch at Fish Creek is offered as 290± acres, with all improvements, for $4,750,000.The 267± unimproved acres that comprise the balance of the ranch are offered to the buyer for $750,000. This portion of the property is not for sale without the successful purchase of the rest of the ranch. 

Improvements

The St. Clair Ranch at Fish Creek features unparalleled western living in the heart of western Montana. There are three custom built homes, two shop buildings, two horse barns, an enclosed riding arena and a horse shelter with working corrals. Multiple pastures and four domestic wells support these improvements. The crown jewel is the main residence. Situated in the midst of the ranch’s large open meadows, the covered Porte cochere entrance is flanked on the left by a fountain and small pond. Walking in the front door, a custom-crafted spiral log stair winds to the lower level where a mother-in-law apartment creates the perfect accommodation for long-term guests. The main living area opens in front of one with an inviting floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace complete with custom indoor water feature on one side. Ample room for art or taxidermy has been thoughtfully built into the design of the home, as well, creating a perfect setting for the collector. At the north end of the main level, the large master suite invites the owner to a personal retreat within its walls. A large, jetted tub, his and her vanities and spacious walk-in closets complete the package. The kitchen features a large central island sure to satisfy the prepping needs of any cook, while the professional grade appliances, custom cabinetry and granite-tiled counters provide the finishing touches to the open-floor plan. Also on this level is a large full-length deck that spans the eastern face of the house, overlooking the pool area and providing the perfect early morning coffee spot. The pool itself is heated and features a large patio area with a cabana complete with a half-bath, gas fire pit and lounge area. The spacious indoor riding arena is located a short distance to the southwest and is sited in conjunction with the barn and working corrals, creating an efficient set of facilities that maximize use and enjoyment.The remaining improvements are located to the south and west of the principle residence. Main Home• 5,795± sq. ft. with 4 bedrooms and 5 baths• Attached 1640± sq. ft. heated garage• Paved driveway with heated Porte Cochere• Immaculate landscaping with underground sprinklers• Waterfall and pond with fountain• Heated swimming pool with 247± sq. ft. cabana Additional Residences• 4,024± sq. ft. Ranch House with 5 bedrooms, 3 baths and attached garage• 1,396 ±sq. ft. Guest House with attached garageShops• 60’ x 80’ with 16’ sidewalls, two 16’ foot doors with overhang, bathroom and workout facility• 24’ x 36’ Hobby Shop with wood stoveBarns• 80’ x 120’ indoor riding arena• 43’ x 62’ horse barn with 7 stalls, hay storage, tack room and office• 30’ x 60’ horse barn with 3 stalls• 30’ x 60’ horse shelter with working corrals

Water Resources

Fish Creek and its pristine fishery flow through the northwest corner of the ranch and the northern boundary is defined by the Alberton Gorge of the Clark Fork River. Between the two of these, there are nearly limitless river and stream based recreational activities. The State of Montana owns the actual river frontage on the Clark Fork through the St. Clair Ranch, ensuring perpetual access for the owner directly from the property. The only appurtenant water rights to the St. Clair Ranch are the four domestic water wells.

Taxes

Annual taxes are estimated to be $20,331.

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Fishery Resources

Fish Creek flows through the northwest corner of the ranch and provides a gateway onto one of the best kept fishing secrets of western Montana. Crystal clear waters flow from the Fish Creek Wildlife Management Area and create one of the most pristine freestone fisheries in Montana. Native cutthroats thrive in its swift currents and the cutthroat fishing is second to none. Muscular, healthy fish over 20” are routinely caught on dry flies during the summer months, while nymph rigs are the key during the cooler seasons. A further testimony to the quality of this trout water is the presence of the Bull trout. This endangered trout species only persists in the purest streams and rivers, and all bull trout must be immediately released.The previously mentioned lower Clark Fork River is regarded as a solid local fishery, also. While it may not boast the number of fish per mile of some of its more famous nearby cousins, the size and quality of the fish are extraordinary, with rainbow and brown trout over 20” running in numbers sufficient to create lasting memories. Further afield are innumerable other fishable streams and rivers, from the Bitterroot to the Jocko and the world-renowned Rock Creek. The St. Clair Ranch at Fish Creek places you at the epicenter of western Montana’s best fishing.

Wildlife Resources

The St. Clair Ranch and its surrounding area are abundant in wildlife and recreational resources. Further, the section of the Clark Fork River immediately proximate to the ranch is the most famous stretch of whitewater in western Montana. Its Class III+ rapids are interspersed with long flat water sections and deep runs that harbor large fish. A combined whitewater/fishing outing is a truly unique undertaking. Game populations in the area are outstanding, with potential to find mature elk and mule deer throughout the surrounding area. With the recent creation of the 40,000-acre+ Fish Creek Wildlife Management Area, these populations are sure to flourish well into the future. The St. Clair Ranch itself serves as a natural gathering place for elk and they routinely herd up in and around the property. Whitetail deer are thick on the property and in the nearby hills. The local higher elevations harbor excellent populations of mule deer, as well. Bear, moose, bighorn sheep, eagle and osprey are just a few of the additional wildlife species that inhabit the property and the surrounding area. 

Terms

Cash at closing.

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