When the Maclays settled in the Bitterroot Valley in 1883, there were about 500 families in residence. Poised between Missoula and the growing communities of the south valley, the Maclay Ranch has evolved for generations along with changing agricultural opportunities.

Responsibility and ownership of the Ranch passed from generation to generation, each one expanding on and learning from the lessons of previous years, earning stewardship awards for range management and tree farming.

Tom Maclay looked at the surrounding acreages and took stock of how much things had changed.  The 2,900-acre Maclay & Son Ranch was one of just a handful of properties that remained intact and under original ownership. Subdivision sprawl had become the norm, and a reliance on agriculture for family income was almost unheard of.  Tom was faced with the challenge of protecting his family heritage, providing a year-round income for three generations of family and honoring the spirit of the land.

An avid skier and sportsman, Tom began to explore the idea of building a ski resort – not just any ski resort, but a planned, ecologically sound community that would live up to the high stewardship standards held by the family.

The Forest Service had already ranked Lolo Peak as one of the best opportunities for skiing in the entire country, and Maclay & Son Ranch borders that proposed ski area. By including the Ranch, there could be a viable ski area and four-season resort.  Tom Maclay brought together a world-class team of engineers, architects and other specialists to help him shape his vision for the future – Bitterroot Resort.

• Ski • Hike • Walk • Skate • Climb • Snowshoe • Bird Watch • Snowboard • Photograph • Mountain Bike •

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