A Mountain Refuge, A Log-Friendly Development

by | Jul 9, 2021 | How-To, Planning

When it comes to majestic mountains paired with unique woodland beauty, Montana’s Bitterroot Valley doesn’t need much help. Guarded by the rounded, lightly forested Sapphire Mountain range to the east, the glacial, rugged Bitterroot Range to the west, and canopied by a crystal-clear sky, this low-lying gem is awash in natural beauty. Yet, in 1996, the region’s lush surroundings got a definite boost—the Stock Farm community was born.
Actually, Stock Farm can trace its roots back to 1888, when copper magnate Marcus Daly forged his homestead in this area of western Montana. About 110 years later, the very first residents of this singular log, timber, and farmhouse community laid roots of their own.
Close to Everything, Away From It All
Stock Farm is a mere 10-minutes drive to Hamilton, the seat of Ravalli County. With its population of a little more than 4,000, the Old West feel of Hamilton’s “Old Town” preserves the early character of this rapidly growing community. With excellent medical facilities, top-notch restaurants, and even a small county airport, the tiny hamlet boasts everything a Stock Farm resident may need to stock up on.
But the real reason to take refuge at Stock Farm isn’t man-made. Here, it’s all about nature. And nature’s splendor is reflected everywhere you look, right down to the region’s homes. Luxurious yet unpretentious, Stock Farm is a unique blend of log and timber frame homes with a smattering of Victorian-style farmhouses as a nod to the architectural style that was prevalent in Marcus Daly’s day. All the farmhouses are located in “The Meadow,” while the log homes hold court along the foothills and up the mountainside.
Currently, there are 50 log/timber homes and 30 log cabins, with about nine log lots still available. Though most of the current homeowners view Stock Farm as their “vacation residence,” this is not an absentee community. They may have a primary residence elsewhere, but it’s evident this is where they want to be by the amount of time they spend here. And who could blame them? The homes here are as magnificent and welcoming as the Bitterroot Valley itself.
Home sites range from two to four acres, and every custom log home must follow a handful of architectural guidelines: no more than two stories (plus a daylight basement), cedar shake roofs only (no metal), real stone accents (no fake stuff), and nothing but natural, indigenous vegetation, to name a few. And because there are no time constraints under which you have to build once you buy your lot, you can take your time and plan your dream log home down to its last perfect detail.

Montana-based Rocky Mountain Log Homes (RMLH) has been helping log home buyers plan those details from the neighborhood’s inception. “Though the company doesn’t have exclusivity at Stock Farm, its proximity to the golf-course community (headquarters is only 15 minutes away), its intimate familiarity with the building requirements and its competitive pricing make it a logical choice for many shoppers,” explains Wes Spiker, founder of Missoula-based Spiker Communications, the marketing arm of RMLH. Though the log home producer can cut a timber to any shape, the full-round log with a Swedish cope is RMLH’s bread and butter and the hallmark of homes in the Rockies.
When owners aren’t relaxing at home, you can find them at one of two places: the 7,000-yard, Tom Fazio-designed golf course or the Clubhouse Lodge. A testament to everything log construction can be, this 27,000-square-foot building was handcrafted by RMLH’s sister company, Pioneer Log Homes, and is the soul of Stock Farm. Housing a gourmet dining room, wine room (available for private functions), a pro shop, and locker rooms, it’s definitely the place where folks gather for a little camaraderie. Adjacent to the Clubhouse are tennis courts, a pool, and a fitness center, which is also built of log. And everywhere you turn, you’ll find plenty of outside seating, whether it’s poolside or along the Clubhouse deck.
As Wes says, “With this view, why would you want to be inside?”
Though there’s plenty to keep you occupied while you’re here, there’s no shortage of activities outside Stock Farm’s “city limits” either. Hiking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, big game hunting, and of course, fly fishing—one of the most passionate pastimes of the region—are among the most popular. “The fishing here is fabulous,” Wes says enthusiastically. Trout is the catch of the day, as the region is home to several of the world’s most productive trout streams.

As Green as It Gets
Of the many reasons Rocky Mountain Log Homes has reason to be proud, its responsibility to the forests ranks high on its list. The company builds exclusively from standing-dead timber—trees that have either been ravaged by fire or killed by insects where they stand. Not only is standing-dead timber among the driest, most stable natural building products available, by clearing the devastated landscape of what amounts to oversized kindling, they protect the woodlands from, or at least halt the spread of, future forest fires.
Standing-dead timber also brings another eco-benefit: RMLH doesn’t need to kiln-dry its lumber, which reduces energy use and emissions at their mill. But the most obvious benefit to the buyers at Stock Farm is the amazing homes this wood produces.
For the lucky people who call the Bitterroot Valley home, protecting and enjoying nature isn’t just a
movement or a fad—it’s a way of life. “When you’re here, you slow down. You take it easy and appreciate what’s around you,” says Wes. “People are at ease here. They’re not pretentious or showy like they can be in other similar communities. They don’t ‘dress’ for dinner or drive fancy cars. They’re real. It’s Montana—it’s different here.”