Map of Rocky Mountain Province States including:

Eastern Washington

Eastern Oregon

Western Montana

Western Wyoming

Northern New Mexico

Western Colorado



Idaho and the

Black Hills of South Dakota



Rocky Mountain Province IN

The Rocky Mountain Province contains some of

our Nation’s most celebrated landscapes. It also

is a repository for examples of rustic architecture

and landscape design that match the scale and

materials of the province’s mountains, valleys, and

canyons. From the historic lodges of Yellowstone

to the contemporary mountain resorts, this

province offers many examples of buildings, roads,

and site furnishings that seem to grow from their

landscape settings. Author Harvey Kaiser notes

that the Old Faithful Inn embodies the three

“key working principles” of rustic design: “use of

natural, local materials; allusions to pioneer

building techniques; and strong ties to the site.”


Contemporary Forest Service design should

synthesize rustic precedents with contemporary

needs and realities. For example, historic rustic

architecture appeared comfortable within the

forest, but this effect was frequently achieved

by placing a veneer of natural materials over a

conventional building. Today’s Rocky Mountain

structures may not always use natural materials.

Yet they can still complement their settings, be

more durable, consume less energy, and lay more

lightly within the landscape than structures

from previous eras.


The province’s vast landscapes dwarf buildings

and structures. Even though the landscape is

overpowering in scale, it is fragile. Once disturbed,

it heals slowly, if at all. Poorly designed buildings

protrude awkwardly and destroy the long, open

vistas that westerners treasure.


While this can be a challenging province in which

to build, it also has high potential to promote

sustainable designs built from locally harvested,

renewable materials. It can take advantage of

passive and active solar, as well as wind power.




Chapter 4.6 Table of Contents

Reader’s Guide