Historic 176-acre Roy Ranch in Victor conserved in partnership with the Bitter Root Land Trust.
Story and photos courtesy of the Bitter Root Land Trust.
Danny Roy pulls up to his family’s farmhouse driving a 1936 Chevy – the same pickup his uncle drove from the ranch to attend Victor School in the 1940’s. It’s a small glimpse into the window of what life looked like on the ranch when Danny’s family started what would become a longstanding legacy in Bitterroot agriculture, and what is being honored today by Danny through his decision to conserve the land in perpetuity.
The original 1890’s farmhouse, a herd of cattle quietly grazing in the forefront of the stunning Bitterroot Mountains, and the open land that surrounds it all are what make this place home to Danny – just as it was for his grandmother, father, mother, aunts, and uncles that worked the land before him. It's the place where thousands of calves have taken their first steps in the snowy spring, where endless tons of hay have been baled in the summer heat, and where wildlife find ample habitat in the meadows and timber year-round. And, thanks to the vision of the Roy family and a community’s support for local conservation, it’s the place that will be able to continue a longstanding legacy of Bitterroot agriculture for many years to come.
“This ranch means the world to me. It’s the only home I’ve ever known,” says Danny. “The dream of my father, Ivan Roy, was always to keep the entire property preserved for farming and wildlife. I’ve always vowed to honor that dream.”
Conserved in partnership with the Bitter Root Land Trust (BRLT) in January 2024, the nearly 80-year-old family ranch is primarily used for agricultural production, including hay and pasture for cattle. The property’s diverse landscape of timber, wetlands, and open meadows provide exceptional habitat for a variety of native wildlife, including elk, white tailed deer, sandhill crane, moose, bear, and turkeys. Located in close proximity to several nearby conservation easements, both completed and in-progress in partnership with BRLT, the open space provides a corridor for wildlife to travel safely from the cover of the Bitterroot National Forest to neighboring ranchlands below.
“I love this property for its history and the beauty. Many people stop along the side of my meadow to take pictures of the view of Bear Creek Canyon to the west,” says Danny. “I can’t imagine this property ever being split or subdivided.”
The Roy Ranch conservation easement was funded in part by the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), as well as the Ravalli County Open Lands Program.
“This is the second conservation easement BRLT has completed with support from our partners at NRCS and the RCPP program,” says Melissa Odell, BRLT Lands Director. “With the matching funding from RCPP and the Open Lands Program, our community’s local dollars are stretched even farther, making it possible to conserve more Bitterroot Valley family farms and ranches like Danny’s.”
The Open Lands Program is a local conservation funding program first approved in 2006, that was renewed with a 71% passage rate by Ravalli County voters in November 2022. The program provides funding to support landowners who wish to voluntarily conserve their land.
Thanks to the vision of the Roy family, the Bitterroot Valley community, and supporting programs like the NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program and the Ravalli County Open Lands Program, 176-acres of critical Bitterroot Valley agricultural land and wildlife habitat will remain forever intact.