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Unforgettable Family Ranch Vacations

April 14th, 2014 by bcguestranches

family ranch vacations If you’re looking for a real vacation experience to help your family re-connect, family ranch vacations at family-friendly dude ranches in BC are the way to go.

One of the reasons dude ranch vacations for families are a great idea is that the horseback riding lets everyone focus on the experience – and each other – rather than their mobile phone, tablets or computers. Guest ranches and family dude ranches in British Columbia have a magical way of making time slow down a little, and help folks focus on the stuff that really matters – like family.

Plus, learning new skills in a family environment is a great confidence-booster for kids.

Not only are our member ranches family-friendly, many of them are also owned and run by families – the very definition of a family dude ranch!

When looking for the best dude ranches for families you can use our Amenity search tool. If you want specific details about family ranch vacations, just contact us and we’ll help you find the perfect guest ranch for your family.

All BCGRA ranches offer horse riding instruction, and also have horses to suit any level of experience. Most ranches will have a minimum age for horseback riding, but some of our members welcome riders as young as 6 years old! Many of the best dude ranches for kids also have dedicated children’s programs.

family ranch vacationsWhether you want to ride as a family, or have the kids occupied and engaged with other activities while you ride, our members love creating memorable family ranch vacations.

Many of the best dude ranches for families feature plenty of activities beyond just horseback riding, too – including swimming, canoeing, fishing, and other wonderful outdoor pursuits.

Plus, since all family ranch vacations include meals and most other costs, it means everyone in the family can put their feet up at the end of the day and relax.

Start planning your family ranch vacation today by checking out our family-friendly guest ranches.

What is a Dude Ranch?

February 27th, 2014 by bcguestranches

What is a Dude Ranch? The word dude has had many meanings, but in the 19th century “dude” generally referred to men – often rich, and always urbanites from the Eastern US – who would come West looking for a taste of the cowboy life. The term was similar in meaning to city slicker – as in the movie of the same name.

dude ranchDude ranches, then, were working ranches that welcomed guests to expose them to the Western lifestyle, including horseback riding and wrangling. That’s the original dude ranch definition, also called a cowboy guest ranch.

So what’s the difference between dude ranch and guest ranch?

In short, not too much these days.

In the past a dude ranch holiday often meant more of a focus on horse-oriented activities. Now, of course, you’re just as likely to find a luxury dude ranch that offers other amenities. They’re often more kid-friendly than 100 years ago, too! Just about every dude ranch is a family dude ranch.

dude ranch gameDude ranch is more commonly used in the US, but for the most part, the terms are interchangeable. Guest ranch is a much more common term here in Canada. Either way, all of the BCGRA members offer horseback riding activities and instruction, and promote a total package inclusive of food, accommodation, horseback riding and all other ranch activities.

Whatever you call it – dude ranch or guest ranch – our member hosts will provide you with an authentic Western Canadian experience that you’ll never forget.

Robbie’s Auction High Bid

June 4th, 2013 by bcguestranches

DaveKnubley 

Dave Knubley of Comox, BC was thrilled to discover on the evening of May 22 that he held the winning bid for the “Experience Package at Echo Valley Ranch and Spa”.  He and a guest will enjoy three nights of exquisite pampering at one of the provinces premier guest ranches.

Dave is with the Royal Canadian Air Force 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron based in Comox.  He has not yet decided who will accompany him on this amazing getaway… and did we mention he is single.

All the proceeds from this auction will go to a trust fund for the son of Robert Gill-Marcussen who was the original winner of this prize package vacation when the BC Guest Ranchers’ held their contest last year. 

Congratulations Dave and best wishes to the Gill-Marcussen family.

A Special Chance to Win a Guest Ranch Vacation!

May 14th, 2013 by bcguestranches

IN HONOR OF ROBERT GILL-MARCUSSEN

Robbie and Nathan

Robbie and his son, Nathan.

Kathy Gill-Marcussen of Ontario was one of our winners in the GREAT CANADIAN GUEST RANCH GETAWAY CONTEST held last year. She was the recipient of a wonderful prize package vacation at Echo Valley Ranch & Spa valued at $3,480. Kathy’s plan was to take her 24-year-old son, Robbie, who was battling an aggressive brain tumour. Robbie was so looking forward to this holiday with his mother who had been his caregiver through this difficult time. Sadly his condition took a downward turn mid summer and they were unable to take this vacation. Robbie passed away on August 4, 2012.

With the blessing of Robbie’s family the BCGRA would like to auction off the prize package to the highest bidder. All proceeds will go to a college fund for Rob’s young son, Nathan. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to experience a guest ranch vacation while giving to a family who has dealt with a great loss.

HOW TO BID

Send your bid to info@bcguestranches.com with “Robbie’s Auction” as the subject by May 22, 2013. Bids will be logged according to time of receipt and you will be notified of acceptance plus what the current highest bid is. All bids must be received by 9 pm on May 22, 2013 to be eligible. ~ Follow the action on Facebook!

Echo Valley Ranch

Echo Valley Ranch

ECHO VALLEY RANCH & SPA

This Eco adventure resort is located 435 km/270 miles north of Vancouver, BC via Whistler Resort or Fraser Canyon route. You will find direct flights from many major cities to Vancouver International Airport. ~ EVranch.com

PRIZE PACKAGE INCLUDES

Three Night All-Inclusive “Experience Package” for Two in a Premium Room
Dates valid: June 15 to September 30, 2013

  • All meals prepared by our executive chef including a glass of wine or beer with your dinner, and soft beverages at any time. The cookie jar is always stocked!
  • Daily turndown service with treats and weather update
  • A daily guided half-day horseback ride or a daily $60 spa credit. The choice is yours!
  • An introductory equestrian lesson or horsemanship lesson in the ranch’s riding ring Weekly Guided Hiking program
  • Daily Thai yoga (Ruesri dat ton) stretching classes with our instructor
  • One Fly fishing casting lessons and fly fishing on our own well-stocked ponds (equipment provided)
  • Weekly evening entertainment program including roaring camp fires, barbeque dinners, authentic Thai banquet and traditional Thai dancing
  • Weekly cooking demonstrations with nutrition tips from our chef as well as tips on Thai cooking
  • Use of all ranch facilities including: Large outdoor hot tub, indoor heated swimming pool, sauna, fitness centre, numerous self-guided hiking trails, large games room featuring: pool table, shuffle board, darts, card table, Karaoke and a large TV screening room
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

Spring Fever & BCGRA Contest!

February 26th, 2012 by bcguestranches

It’s that time of year for guest ranches throughout Canada, and they are gearing up for the 2012 season. Most of the ranches will open their doors to guests from mid to end of May, before then there is a lot of preparation that takes place.

If you have vacationed at a guest ranch, then you know there is a lot that goes into making a ranch run smoothly and keeping them in working order.

Even with a blanket of white snow, spring cleaning begins. Fences are inspected and tended to accordingly. Once accessible, trails will need to be checked for any fallen trees or change in footing.

For the working ranches, fields are becoming speckled with little black or brown calves, and for some small foals are not far behind – a sign that spring is just around the corner. Around the first of May, all those calves will need to be branded. Several ranches offer vacation packages allowing guests to get in on the branding fun.

The horses all need to be vaccinated, and checked over before open season. Their teeth are floated to remove all sharp points, making sure they get the best from their food. Any horses with long hooves are trimmed and their coats, manes and tails are inspected for burs they may have accumulated from being turned out to pasture over the winter months.

Any last minute staff hiring will be done and lodges and cabins will be cleaned and set up for the arrival of the first guests. Once staff arrives at the ranch, they will be put through weeks of training before guests arrive, in order to provide the best service and vacation.

There’s a lot to get done over the next month and a half in preparation for the 2012 season and the ranches of Canada are all looking forward to meeting new guests and doing what they love best – sharing the western lifestyle.

Want a chance to stay at a beautiful and adventurous guest ranch? Here’s your chance! The BC Guest Ranch Association (BCGRA) launched their “Great Canadian Guest Ranch Getaway Contest” and, at its close, 12 entrants from around the globe will have won once-in-a-lifetime getaways to some of beautiful British Columbia’s most exciting guest ranches.

This unique contest, which boasts an accumulated prize value of more than $30,000, is taking place online via the association’s Facebook Page, and is comprised of six rounds. Every two weeks, a new round will begin and two new prizes will be up for grabs – that’s two guest ranches and two winners!

Winners will receive all-inclusive stays at one of the BCGRA member guest ranches. Some of the activities they might enjoy while they visit include horseback riding, world-class fishing, and riding the range on a working cattle ranch. Whether they’re looking for pristine nature, rest and relaxation, or thrilling adventure in the wilds of B.C., they’ll find it there.

People are entering the contest via the association’s Facebook Contest Page and have been asked to provide, along with their contact details, short but creative explanations as to why they think they’re the most deserving of the prize. The winners will be those entrants who’ve successfully convinced the BCGRA judges that they deserve a stay at one of the province’s best guest ranches.

Making the contest even more exciting is the fact that people can enter more than once! At the end of each round, eager entrants who entered but didn’t win can enter again!

The BCGRA is a non-profit organization that represents over a dozen BC Guest Ranches. Says BCGRA: “From horseback riding, world-class fishing, wilderness retreats to western family vacations our members offer a diverse selection of BC’s best.” And this contest promises to show the world (and especially the winners) just what it means to leave behind the hustle and bustle of life and escape to the wilds of beautiful BC.

For more information about the BCGRA and the Great Canadian Guest Ranch Getaway Contest, visit the association’s website at www.bcguestranches.com or Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/BCGuestRanchers. Alternately, feel free to call the BCGRA and contest organizers directly at (250) 593-0258.

Do What You Love & Love What You Do

May 1st, 2011 by bcguestranches

Professional horse trainer, Jesse Beckley is a third generation cattle and guest rancher. His family owns Three Bars Ranch, located in the Canadian Rockies. Growing up on the back of a horse, Jesse decided early on that he wanted to earn his living working with horses. He started out riding and training horses for the Guest Ranch and then moved into the reining discipline.

Jesse Beckley and one of the reining horses.

Jesse started showing reining horses at age 12, continuing his interest and education in the horse industry he moved to Oklahoma and California for five years where he worked for two of the top five reining horse trainers in the world. Following this time he returned to Three Bars Ranch to run Beckley Reining. Through hard work, Jesse has become one of the best and most sought after trainers in Canada.

Recently, Jesse and his dad, Jeff Beckley, traveled over 40 hours to Texas to compete at one of the world’s greatest reining competitions, the National reining Breeders Classic, which pays out over $1,200,000! With the trailer packed and horses in tow the two cowboys were gone for three weeks.

Competing against the best in the world, it was no easy feat to pick up a check. Jesse had to first show in the go-round and if he marked a high enough score he would advance to the finals, which is a huge accomplishment in itself. Drawing up near the end Jesse knew he was going to have to put down a flawless run. At this point it was looking like it would take a score of 222 to make the Open Finals.

So you understand reining a bit better, let me explain how it works. There are four categories, Level 1 through 4, four which is also known as Open being the highest category and Level 1 or Limited Open Level 1, is the “lowest”. Categories are based on earnings and standings. In Jesse’s case he is only eligible for category 3 & 4 because he has “won” himself out of the lower two categories.

Reining is a judged event, with scores being issued by each judge. Every competitor walks in with a score of 70. Each competitor is required to complete the given pattern exactly as it states, if the competitor goes off pattern it will result in a score of zero. Each maneuver is scored from -1.5 to a +1.5 and is based on degree of difficulty. A zero mark on a maneuver means it was correct but not over the top. A -.5 means it was poor and so on. Penalties can also be issued.

Sample of a score sheet.

At this particular show there are five judges, with the high score and low score dropped to take a total of three scores.

Now back to the story…Jesse was mounted on a mare named Mizzen Whizzen. The duo laid down an electrifying run, scoring a 223.5, resulting in making both the level 3 and 4 Open Finals. Only the top 25 with ties make it back to the finals. The go-round starts with almost 300 competitors riding for those 25 spots. For a young trainer to make the finals, this is a dream come true and a stepping stone in his career.

Jesse and Mizzen Whizzen

The Beckley family back home watched Jesse and Mizzen show against the top horseman  on Finals night via live feed on their computers. It was an exciting night in Texas and back in Canada. The pair put in another stellar run and took home a nice pay-cheque for their performance.

Throughout the summer, Jesse gives the Three Bars Ranch guests a reining demo one night a week.

Many of BC’s Guest Ranches are more than just a Guest ranch. They are a real working cattle ranch, they grow hay or in this case train horses for performance. Life with horses is never boring and it is so rewarding. Some people are fortunate enough to make their living doing what they love – working with horses has to be one of the best jobs one could ask for.

We don’t yet have Jesse and Mizzen’s run from this year’s NRBC, but enjoy one of their championship runs from 2010 where they set a new record high score! Click on the link below.

Mizzen Whizzen & Jesse Beckley set new record at the 2010 West Coast Classic

Spring Fever

April 12th, 2011 by bcguestranches

It’s that time of year! The guest ranches in British Columbia will be gearing up for the 2011 season. Most ranches will open around mid to end of May. In a typical year the snow would have melted by the first of April and staff would be tending to the yards for the spring and summer season. This year however, Mother Nature had other plans. In many areas, the snow is still lingering, having melted away many times to nothing but s few small patches of white – a teaser of warm weather to come, just to get yet another full on dump of snow. So for many BC guest ranches, spring cleaning and preparation has been put on hold.
Even with the unsightly white stuff, some things just can’t wait. For the working ranches, fields are becoming speckled with little black or brown calves. For some it will be the first year that foals are   born in the snow. Even the horses are getting tired of it.
The horses all need to be vaccinated, and checked over before open season. Once accessible, trails will need to be overlooked for any fallen trees or change in footing and any broken fences will need mending.
Any last minute staff hiring will be done and lodges and cabins will be cleaned and set up for the arrival of the first guests.
There’s a lot to get done over the next month and a half in preparation for the 2011 season and the ranches of British Columbia are all looking forward to meeting new guests and doing what they love best – sharing the western lifestyle.

 

 

 

Ranch Learning

July 12th, 2010 by bcguestranches

The Hills Guest Ranch & Spa, located in the Cariboo region of beautiful  British Columbia, is a great vacation if you are looking to learn more about horses and how to communicate with them.
Many horseback and spa activities will be part of your day. Join Bryce, one of the Hills top wranglers, on the half day breakfast ride were you are served a healthy cowboy breakfast on the trail, or choose from one of the full day cowboy cookout rides and picnics, or even hourly rides. You can choose from private lessons, horse care, horse safety and horse whispering workshops.
Private western riding lessons help to advance your knowledge, skill and your abilities in horse handling and riding. Balancing in the saddle, the correct posture for safe riding, improving your ability to find the rhythm of the horse, improving your rein skills, and possibly overcoming certain fears are some of the many things you will learn in a one-on-one lesson.

Learn more about what it takes to care for your horse, how to  groom, how to clean, what to watch for and how to protect your horse’s health. These and many other topics are covered and will help you to  become an improved rider, and a better horseman. How to lift all of  the legs of the horse, how to clean a horses hoof, what to look for!

At The Hills Ranch, they also teach riders about the western saddle and all its parts, the different bits they use and why they differ from one another. When you fully  understand the equipment, you have a better understanding about riding, and how all the parts come together to form a wonderful, relaxing ride.

Guests at The Hills learn how to communicate with their horse.

Guests at The Hills learn how to communicate with their horse.

The Hills also provide a special program for kids of all ages. The day starts with feeding and grooming the horses. Kids also learn about the chores involved with owning a horse, such as mucking stalls. Kids gain a better understanding of horses and ranch life, plus they enjoy some fabulous games that are focused towards improving their fitness level. The goal is to give kids exciting activities that happen to improve their personal health and wellness during their time at The Hills, and also introduce them to the exciting aspects of ranch life, being around animals and caring for them.

Ranch Dining

June 21st, 2010 by bcguestranches

Sundance Guest Ranch is located in one of the warmest, sunniest spots in Canada with sweeping, panoramic views of the wide open Thompson River Valley and is only a four hour drive from Vancouver. But that’s not all…they have some of the best ranch food around! One look at their Black Angus burgers will have your mouth watering and your taste buds asking for more.

Dining room at Sundance Guest Ranch.

Dining room at Sundance Guest Ranch.

The dining rooms at Sundance are across the patio from the adult lounge, just past the outdoor barbecue pit where they cook up their specialty – Black Angus burgers and charcoal-grilled New York steaks (if you’re a vegetarian no worries their chef has it covered). Sundance’s licensed dining rooms look out over the pastures where the horses spend the night grazing and cooling off among the sprinklers. Choose some wine from the list and have a glass to sip on as you watch the herd run by on their way to the fields, then sit down to a delicious three-course candlelit dinner. At Sundance, all the outdoor fun builds up quite a healthy appetite.

Breakfast is served a la carte between 7:30 and 9:00 am, with that all-important morning coffee being on from 5:30 am for you early risers. For lunch and dinner, kids 14 years and under eat all together, one hour before adult meal sittings, so they get to know each other quickly, which hugely enhances the fun factor for them! You may also choose to have your children join you for adult meals if you wish, and either request an upgrade to adult meals for $20 a day per child, or have a kids’ meal held over to adult mealtime at no extra charge - whatever works for you.

Adult mealtimes are 1:00pm and 7:00pm, with a more sophisticated menu – and again, everyone sits at big tables together, so it’s a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Whether you’re with a group or all on your own, you’ll quickly become “part of the family” once you’re there. For Sunday lunch, adults and kids all eat together for a big burger barbeque. There’s nothing more mouth-watering than that charcoal-grilled aroma drifting across the patio!

Chef Chris cooks up some tastey Black Angus burgers.

Chef Chris cooks up some tastey Black Angus burgers.

Working Vacation

June 19th, 2010 by bcguestranches

DSC_0292

Through Spring Lake's working vacation, guests learn the in's and out's of ranch life.

Spring Lake Ranch is tucked in the heart of British Columbia’s Cariboo country. Unique to many guest ranches, Spring Lake offers a “Working Vacation”. Involved in this, vacations offer free room and board for a minimum of six weeks. Work involves maintenance, cleaning of cabins, yard work, kitchen duty and of course working with the horses. In the early spring, fall and winter, some work involves working with cattle as well. Time off for line dancing, hayrides, fireside cookouts, swimming, canoeing and some short trips including rodeos and Bakerville.

Many of the young work experience guests come back for several years in a row. Two young Swiss work experience girls said, “Right now we are realizing our dream, having a work experience holiday on a Canadian ranch. We are so happy that we have found this beautiful place. The ranch has a private lake and our cabin is situated directly on the lake shore. We’re really enjoying this incredible stillness, the pure nature and our job variation. The work with young horses and also moving cows is exactly what we wanted to do and the work is a lot of fun; we’re laughing all the time. Also to witness a foal be born and to see the four eagle nests when riding around the lake is stunning. The ranch motto: close to nature, far from crowds; that’s what it’s like at Spring Lake Ranch.”

Through the working vacation, guests get some good one on one time with their favorite horses.

Through the working vacation, guests get some good one on one time with their favorite horses.

Wells Gray Country

June 7th, 2010 by bcguestranches

Amongst the rolling hills of British Columbia‘s Cariboo Chilcotin, on the shores of Crystal Lake, you‘ll find Crystal Waters Guest Ranch. Established at the turn of the century, the ranch sits in a scenic valley of lakes, meadows, wetlands and forests. It’s home to some of the finest horseback riding back country and fly-fishing that can be found anywhere in Canada and across North America.

The scenery at Crystal Waters is breathtaking.

The scenery at Crystal Waters is breathtaking.

Since the elevation of the region ranges between approximately 800 and 1250 meter, with a few higher areas and peaks here and there, spring doesn’t really arrive before the months of April and May when flora and fauna then explode into growth and activity. The temperatures are quite mild during the day but could still drop below zero degrees Celsius during the night. The ice disappears from the lakes during the second half of April, in higher elevations it can even be May before the boats can go in the water.

June, July and August are the summer months in the South Cariboo with hot and usually dry days and comfortably cool nights. The lakes reach a pleasant temperature for swimming, canoeing, kayaking and other water sports.

Quite spectacular is the “Indian Summer” during late September and early October, when the leaves of the trees change to colors of yellow to dark red and every shade in between. The days are dry, sunny and can still be quite warm, the nights are getting cooler until snowflakes start to fly in October.

Winter doesn’t really arrive with all its force before late November or early December. The region is soon covered in a white blanket and turns into a Winter Wonderland with cold, but dry, and very sunny days, offering the perfect location for a huge variety of winter activities such as skiing, snowmobiling, ice skating and more, all in the heart of British Columbia’s beautiful and pristine interior.

Crystal Waters is open year long.

Crystal Waters is open year long.

Wells Gray Country is a spectacular, pure wilderness area. Known as a world-class destination, it is a must stop on any tour of British Columbia. Within Wells Gray Park, experience stunning vistas of high mountains, deep canyons, volcanic cones, brooding old-growth forests & raging white-water rivers.

Take in the landscapes, forests, wildlife and human heritage of Wells Gray, often known as ‘The Waterfall Park’. Enjoy the sounds, sights and serenity of countless impressive cascades, torrents and rapids – including world-famous Helmcken Falls, a waterfall three times the height of Niagara and North America’s largest canoe only lake, Murtle Lake!

If you’re looking for a summer trip of deep blue skies over deep blue water, where you can wander lush alpine meadows and cool, ancient forests, or paddle and fish big lakes and majestic rivers, then a summer visit to Wells Gray Park has a lot to offer!

In winter, Wells Gray Country is transformed into a very different world: many locals look forward to the arrival of snow and ice, and getting out on their skis, snowshoes, dog-sleds and snowmobiles. In the valleys the snow-cover ranges between a few centimeters and half a meter or sometimes more: up in the mountains it’s more like 3m to 4m of fine powder in the average year. This gives you the perfect setting for all manner of winter fun.

Delicious Cuisine

June 3rd, 2010 by bcguestranches

I don’t know about you, but when I’m on vacation, half the appeal is eating great food everyday that I don’t have to cook. I’m about quality not quantity. The dining at Siwash Lake Ranch is like no other.

Guests sit around the table for a delicious meal where they interact and share their life stories.

Guests sit around the table for a delicious meal where they interact and share their life stories.

At mealtimes, you’ll be delighted with delicious cuisine and great fellowship in their cozy 20-seat main dining room. Hand-hewn log walls, a rich fir plank floor,  casually elegant furniture and candle light combine for a wonderfully warm dining ambiance. Tables vary from large group and family size, to intimate window settings for two that overlook wild bird feeders and horse pasture.

At Siwash, you will start your day off with a wake-up tray that is placed at your door, brimming with home baked muffins and your choice of freshly brewed tea or coffee. Canadian breakfasts in the dining room are hearty, and lunches, served outside whenever possible, feature nourishing homemade soups, pastas, salads, and breads. Later, enjoy chef’s daily hors d’oeuvre, presented on the sun deck or fireside. Dinners are three-course, culinary adventures infused with international flavours.

The ranch offers outstanding gourmet meals, prepared from the best seasonal ingredients and served with Siwash-style flare. Whenever possible, they incorporate organic food produced on the ranch — mouth-watering beef and pork, free-range eggs, and baby greens for your salads, picked right from our garden. Regional British Columbia cuisine, featuring wild trout, salmon and venison are our specialty.

Siwash Lake Ranch uses their own fresh garden greens.

Siwash Lake Ranch uses their own fresh garden greens.

If you’re a true romantic at heart and want to treat your honey, Siwash offers in-suite and alfresco dining in the meadow or on a private balcony is a special treat for couples taking romantic holidays.

Romantic dinner for two.

Romantic dinner for two.

SAMPLE MENU

Day One

~ Hors D’oeuvre ~
Spicy Crab Bruschetta
~ First Course ~
Baked Chevre, ranch grown organic baby greens, warm honey walnut vinaigrette
~ Second Course ~
Grilled Halibut, sundried tomato, white wine & cream reduction
Wild rice pilaf
Roasted red pepper, pan seared zucchini, steamed baby carrots
~ Third Course ~
Pumpkin Cheesecake, caramel sauce laced with brandy and star anise

Day Two

~ Hors D’oeuvre ~
Wild BC Smoked Salmon, crostini, fresh dill & cream cheese
~ First Course ~
Vine Ripened Roma Tomatoes, Bocconcini, garden basil & balsamic vinaigrette
~ Second Course ~
Filet Mignon, brandy & green peppercorn demi-glaze,
~ grass fed, organic Black Angus ranch beef ~
Garlic whipped gold potatoes
Purple cauliflower & grilled baby asparagus
~ Third Course ~
Dark Chocolate Ganache, wild raspberry coulis

Fine Cuisine

Fine Cuisine

Cast & Catch

June 1st, 2010 by bcguestranches

When looking for the perfect family vacation, sometimes it’s hard to find a holiday that every member of the family will enjoy. The kids and mom want to go horseback riding everyday, but t dad would like to cast his reel and do a little fishing.

Chaunigan Lake Lodge has some of the best fishing around.

Chaunigan Lake Lodge has some of the best fishing around.

At Chaunigan Lake Lodge in the Nemaiah Valley of British Columbia has the best of both worlds. The kids and mom can go for a guided trail ride on horseback along forested trails with birds, wildflowers and the beautiful vistas the Chaunigan has to offer. Head out each morning on a different trail and you will never get tired of what you see.

Now as for Pa, well the Chaunigan Lake Lodge is best known for its world class rainbow trout fishing. It started as a fishing lodge in 1935 and history has proven that their greatest asset (aside from the breathtaking scenery) is their wild rainbow trout fishing. With careful management and remote location has preserved the rainbow trout lake fishing. The average fish size is 2 ½ pounds. The lake has many weed beds and shoal areas, and cool water temperatures year round. The abundant freshwater shrimp population produces a clean firm rainbow trout.

There are many days when experienced fly fishermen will catch 50 fish a day. Chaunigan Lake Lodge has an angling guide available to take guests out on the water, explain the entomology, or help with casting and retrievals.

For a change of pace try one of the 6 fly-in fishing lakes within a 70 mile radius of Chaunigan Lake. All these remote lakes are equipped with boats.

This is a vacation for the whole family! There’s always something new to try each day. Go for a ride, or cast your reel and catch the big one.

Catch of the day.

Catch of the day.

Building a Guest Ranch

May 24th, 2010 by bcguestranches

Big Creek Lodge

The Big Creek Lodge is classified as a Canada Select Four Star "Country Inn".

If you’ve ever visited a guest ranch, you may have had this overwhelming feeling that there would be no better job in the world than to own and run a guest ranch of your own. The benefits are countless – live in a beautiful part of the world with animals of all kinds, working with horses on a daily basis, live in a gorgeous log home and get to meet people from all over the world. But what does it take to start up a guest ranch? It’s no piece of cake that’s for sure.

Take Big Creek Lodge for example. Owners Joe and Sabine Hoessl started out with the traditional cattle ranching on a range of more than 25,000 acres in the beginning of the 80’s. They then decided they wanted to share this once in a lifetime experience of the land with others, so they built their first cabin for guests to stay in. It was a huge hit! The guests loved the fresh air and the absolute peace and quiet of the cabin.

The Hoessl’s soon encountered a dilemma. The cabin was always booked full because the guests would always book for the following year. So they decided it was time to think bigger in order to satisfy their many guests. That was the beginning of the Big Creek Lodge.

The Big Creek Lodge consists of massive white cedar logs, that were found on the Pacific Coast of BC. From the first cut to the last nail, it took the Hoessl’s a good four years to build their vision. In this time everyone worked from dusk till dawn. Skilled carpenters were few and far between, so they were forced to employ the help of the local natives who were unskilled in this area of expertise. Joe’s solid German education as a carpenter became invaluable.

The lodge has been classified as a Canada Select Four Star “Country Inn” and it is the only four star Country Inn in this region. It accommodates ten guests in five comfortable rooms. All rooms have a cozy interior, floor heating and a private bathroom. There is also a roomy lounge and a dining area warmed by a massive stone fireplace. Their homestyle country kitchen serves you breakfast, lunch and dinner in a relaxed atmosphere.

Additional cabins were also added, which are nestled among the trees lining the Big Creek, giving guests a feeling of remoteness and comfort. There are two bedrooms for four guests or a family with kids, private bath and equipped with a living room in every cabin. From the porches of the cabins, where comfortable seats surround a massive table, guests overlook the creek and the breathtaking wilderness.

Guests can enjoy sitting on their cabin's porch overlooking the creek and surrounding wilderness.

Guests can enjoy sitting on their cabin's porch overlooking the creek and surrounding wilderness.

History Lesson

May 20th, 2010 by bcguestranches

Big Bar Guest Ranch is nestled in the rolling hills of the Cariboo where time has no meaning. The ranch dates back to 1933 when Harry Marriott and George S Harrison purchased the ranch (back then it was a cattle ranch) and started the OK Ranching Co Ltd.

The Harrison House, (where today’s guests enjoy relaxing in front of the stone fireplace) was built for George Harrison in 1936 to house his family, as well as any guests who may come visit from the coast.Harrison and Marriott sold the OK Ranch in the 1950’s to a family from Vancouver, the Squarrey’s. The family built the two older cabins that still remain at Big Bar today. They were originally built to accommodate their friends who came to visit.

The Harrison House is where Big Bar guests gather and enjoy each others company.

The Harrison House is where Big Bar guests gather and enjoy each others company.

As the Squarrey children grew and married and moved back to the coast, the ranch was left to a caretaker until Brian Gunn and his wife bought the ranch in 1989. Brian was an engineer and he and his wife were looking for a slower pace for themselves and their two boys. Their dream was to own a guest ranch, so they quickly built the Sagebrush inn and added two more cabins and four tipi’s to accommodate guests. In 1997 Brian Gunn sold the ranch to Anne Freeman, who ran the ranch for 10 years before selling it to Elise-Marie and Kresten Vestergaard, who lived in Denmark.

Elise-Marie and Kresten made their first visit to the Cariboo in 2006 where they stayed at Big Bar Ranch, which at the time was up for sale. Like so many others, the couple fell in love with the Cariboo, the land, wildlife and the ranch life. For them the ranch is about the passion for the cowboy way of life, and getting back to a simpler way of living. With the purchase of Big Bar Guest Ranch, the Vestergaard’s feel that they found their own little corner of heaven, which they want to share with people from all over the world.

Elise-Marie and Kresten still live in Denmark where they run their farm and a breeding facility for American Paint Horses. They come to their dream ranch as much as possible. They wish everyone a good time, with good food, good riding and great memories.

Big Bar tipis.

Big Bar tipi's.

So You Think You Can Ranch?

May 18th, 2010 by bcguestranches

Free Rein Guest Ranch is situated amidst some of British Columbia’s most beautiful Canadian wilderness on 285 acres. Opening day for the season was May 1st, but there was a lot that had to be done prior so everything was ready and up to par for arriving guests.

This year Free Rein implemented a new way to get ready for the season, an idea that formed So You Think You Can Ranch. The concept was three-fold, first to generate revenue outside the ranch’s main season, second to give guests an opportunity to see behind the scenes and get involved, and third to help the ranch prepare for the up-coming season with some extra hands on deck. This package was of course offered to experienced riders only as the horses can be a little “fresh” in the spring. With a successful first year, Free Rein hopes to continue to offer this package, one that is a win win for everyone.

All tack at Free Rein is cleaned upon guests arrival.

All tack at Free Rein is cleaned upon guests arrival.

The list of things that need to be done around the ranch before opening day are long; fencing, painting, clearing trails, laundry, cleaning and of course preparing the horses to name a few. When it comes to preparing the horses, the first thing is to have them all checked out by a vet to make sure they are in tip top shape. They are 5-way vaccinated, dewormed and teeth floated if necessary. Then comes the ground work training for a week before riding to reestablish boundaries (which they sometimes tend to forget over the winter months). The horses are lounged to take the edge off and get them in shape. They are then rode in the arena before heading out onto the trails.

Once everything is cleaned, cleared, painted and tidied the doors are opened to another season of memory making experiences for Free Rein guests.

Horses are "tuned" up before opening day at Free Rein Guest Ranch.

Horses are "tuned" up before opening day at Free Rein Guest Ranch.

Curly Joe

May 14th, 2010 by bcguestranches

The horses at Chilcotin Holidays are reliable with sweet temperaments and intelligence. Several of their horses come from wild stock, meaning they are great for mountain riding and sure footed. One of Chilcotin’s most memorable horses was Curly Joe.

Curly Joe was caught by a Native Indian on the north slope of the Chilcotin Mountains on a cold January day. He was only a year old then and was still running with his mother in a small herd of 12. Winter was in full force dropping to -40 and two feet of settled snow. Food was only to be found in the swamp meadows. The deep snow had to be pawed away to reach the grass hidden below. This is an environment where only the tough survived. Wolves scout the meadows hoping to pick off on old or a young horse from the herd, but leave quickly when the smell of the wild horse hunter approaches.

Curly Joe’s first introduction to man was being roped by the wild horseman as he tried to race for the big timber and safety from the rope. Snubbed up to the saddle horn, a halter was slipped over his head, the short lead rope clipped into a ring on the tail of the spare riding horse and followed back to camp in the foot steps of his leader. The year was around 1970. In May 2004, Curly Joe sadly passed away of old age.

Curly Joe giving a Chilcotin guest a ride.

Curly Joe giving a Chilcotin guest a ride.

Curly Joe lived an adventurous life. He chased the wild horses on the North slope of the Chilcotin Mountains and could weave in between the pine trees at a full gallop while his rider tried to rope one of his relatives. Curly Joe had another life that he was able to be good at, that was one of a ranch horse, where chasing cattle on the open range was the work of the day. It was a job that he did well but tolerated, leading horse pack trips into the mountains seemed to be his favorite work. The fresh grass in the Alpine Meadow, exploring new country, then the special treatment from the new guests each week and their generous portions of oats made the job all worth it.

For nearly 40 years, Curly Joe ruled the Chilcotin Mountains, working first from the north side with Tee Pee Heart Guest Ranch then from the south side with Chilcotin Holidays. Curly knew every trail through those mountains, all the shortcuts and the places not to go. He put in 3000 miles a season on these trails and with 30 years work over 90,000 miles of travel in the Chilcotin Mountains, this is a record no horse will ever match.

Curly Joe was a great pack horse.

Curly Joe was a great pack horse.

Chezacut Cattle Drives

May 10th, 2010 by bcguestranches

Chezacut Wilderness and Ranch Adventures is a real working ranch located along British Columbia’s Chilcotin River. Here you will find cattle, ranch horses and knowledgeable horseman. If a little adventure is what you seek, Chezacut delivers every time. Get up close and personal on one of their cattle drives, where you will learn skills every ranch hand must have.

Get to work moving cattle at the Chezacut Ranch.

Get to work moving cattle at the Chezacut Ranch.

A typical cattle drive starts off with one or two days of natural horsemanship  to get rider and horse well acquainted with one another. Safety and comfort are of the upmost importance at Chezacut.

After the horsemanship, preparations are made for the cattle drive – getting the horses packed and the riding horses saddled. Everyone is equipped with rain gear, boots, hat and of course a western saddle. Camping gear and food supplies are either transported by pack horses or a horse drawn wagon, depending on the terrain traveled on.

The most basic cattle drive begins with collecting the cattle together and then driving them approximately 6-10 kms per day to the next point at which camp is made. Campfire is started and guests are encouraged to sing and bring along small packable instruments for the evening.

All camping gear is supplied, tents, food and sleeping pads. Some guests prefer to sleep tentless on a starlit night, an experience in its own.

A cattle drive at Chezacut is an experience you will never forget and you will leave with a whole new skill set.

There's nothing more exciting than spending a day on horseback moving a herd of cattle.

There's nothing more exciting than spending a day on horseback moving a herd of cattle.

Meeter Greeters

May 3rd, 2010 by bcguestranches

When driving into Three Bars Ranch, it’s hard not to notice the breathtaking beauty all-around. Along the long, curvy road leading into the ranch you take in the sites – trees surround the road on both sides with glimpses of the Rocky Mountains in between, home to a variety of wild life. You may have to stop briefly while a couple dude horses amble across the gravel road on route to the creek for a nice cold drink on a hot day.

Max, Jesse Beckley's Aussie and the official "Meeter Greeter" of Three Bars.

"Max", Jesse Beckley's Aussie and the official "Meeter Greeter" of Three Bars.

Once you drive into Three Bars, it’s even harder not to notice the instant hospitality waiting for you at the front gate. The official Three Bars greeter is friendly, with a big smile that shows off his pearly whites. His soft kind brown eyes say it all, “welcome to my home, I’m so happy to meet you.” Although his long, slightly curly hair, which is outlined in white, is a little unruly, he is very easy on the eyes. No worries about where to go from here, he’ll show you the way. In case you were wondering his name is Max and he is the “meeter greeter”, a three-year-old Australian Shepherd, one of many “ranch dogs” you will encounter on your visit to Three Bars.

Bo Bo, the old man of the ranch, follows Jeff Beckley doing his daily chores.

"Bo Bo", the old man of the ranch, follows Jeff Beckley doing his daily chores.

Once at the lodge you will most likely be greeted next by the “man of the house”, Bo Bo, an elderly black and tan wiener dog. He’ll bark upon your arrival to let April or Tyler know you have arrived so you can get situated in your cozy cabin. If he’s not in the lodge, Bo Bo can be found trailing Jeff Beckley around the ranch doing his daily chores. His favorite past-time is hunting, whether it be small game such as gophers or tracking a large elk (don’t let his size fool you, he is quite a good hunter).

Next, you will most likely be introduced to Tyler Beckley, who will be followed by a slow, snorting, fat bulldog, fondly known as Bru. He’ll need to to get really close to you so he can sniff you as his sense of smell is not so good. He’d particularly like it if you scratched him – his short chubby legs just don’t reach far enough. Bru spends his days sleeping upstairs in the lodge office snoring loudly and occasionally wanders outside to bask in the sunshine.

Bruman, Tyler Beckley's Bulldog.

"Bruman", Tyler Beckley's Bulldog.

So now you’re all set and have discarded your bags in your cabin. So you head out for a walk-about around the ranch to get your bearings and check things out. At some point you will wander past the reiner barn that houses all the performance horses. Here you meet Tank and Joe. They are in their kennels, wagging their stubby tails, eager for some attention. The “boys” as they are often referred to are German Short Haired Pointers, and Three Bars bird hunting dogs. The boys are about two-years-old now and Jeff Beckley trained them himself. They are proving themselves as great bird dogs, and if you happened to book a pheasant hunt at the ranch, they will be more than willing to help you out with getting your birds.

Tank & Jo as puppies.

Tank & Jo as puppies.

If she hasn’t already, Miss Tiggy, the “Barn Queen”, will come running – barking the whole way. You may be expecting something large in size, but simply look down and you will see a little red haired eight pound wiener dog. Don’t be offended when she doesn’t let you pet her, she is very shy and a bit of a snob – it takes a while for her to warm up to people. Your best bet is to simply ignore her, which she eventually won’t be able to stand and will come see you and may even let you give her a little pat. Tiggy spends her days helping Jesse and Dee out in the arena with the reining horses. Her best days are when she gets to assist in lounging a horse or two, she is a working dog after all!

Tiggy, Jesse & Dee's minature doxen, is one fast pup!

"Tiggy", Jesse & Dee's miniature doxen, is one fast pup!

Last but not least, when you go in for dinner Sunday night you most likely will be happily greeted by Marley, Jenna Beckley’s affectionate yellow Lab. After you’re all finished with dinner Marley is more than happy to play and loves kids – entertaining is her specialty.

Needless to say you will not be forgotten at Three Bars. There’s always a “meeter greeter” and smiling face at each corner of Three Bars Ranch.

marley, Jenna Beckley's yellow lab, is an affectionate and loving girl.

"Marley", Jenna Beckley's yellow lab, is an affectionate and loving girl.

A Ranch Twist on Gourmet

April 28th, 2010 by bcguestranches

Fine dining meets ranch lifestyle at Tod Mountain Ranch.
Hidden in the Louis Creek Valley of British Columbia, lays Tod Mountain Ranch, a quaint guest ranch that offers more than just horseback riding and an experience outdoors. At Tod Mountain, the dining experience is like no other.

The dining area is dominated by a 100 square foot dining table that was designed and handcrafted by a local craftsman, Jeff Pool. The purpose of the large table is to welcome guests and staff to eat together, making for a comfortable, relaxed environment where conversation tends to be inclusive, light-hearted and full of story telling.

The dining room at Tod Mountain features a 100 square foot dining table where guests and staff shares stories of the day's adventures.

The dining room at Tod Mountain features a 100 square foot dining table where guests and staff shares stories of the day's adventures.

Menus at Tod Mountain are pre-planned by local Chef Ken Reynolds, a certified Red Seal Chef and graduate of George Brown Culinary College in Toronto, Ontario. Before guests arrive, they are asked if there are any allergies or specific dietary requirements the ranch and staff need to be aware of. Once this information is obtained, Chef Reynolds can put together a delicious and diverse menu, keeping in mind any dietary needs. Tod Mountain describes their menu as “gourmet with a ranch twist.” Guests can be sure to find a wide range of dishes and cooking styles. Prime rib, pork tenderloin, rack of lamb, wild salmon, venison and bison are all featured on the menu, and don’t forget the classic juicy steak that is grilled every week! Keeping in mind that not all guests eat meat, Tod Mountain offers a variety of vegetarian dishes. 
 All meals are cooked from scratch, using mostly locally sourced, fresh seasonal produce.

The kitchen is open through to the dining room so guests can interact with the Chef and watch him prepare meals. This is where recipes are swapped and new skills and techniques learned.
  A hearty breakfast is served in the dining room every morning before rides depart. There is always a selection of cereals, toast, bagels, muffins, pastries and fresh fruit. For energy to last you on your rides, the Chef will also rustle up a hot plate of bacon and eggs and sometimes even pancakes.
 Lunch is usually an outdoor feast, either taken on the ride or enjoyed on the deck. Guests can expect a variety of soups, pasta dishes and salads when eating at the ranch, all served with fresh home baked bread. Out on the trail picnic lunches are carried in saddle bags and might include sandwiches, fruit and cookies.
  To wind down and relax after days activities, dinner starts with happy hour. Complimentary Canadian beers, BC wines and snacks are served. Then to satisfy that huge appetite, dinner features a three-course feast of home-style cooking.

Combining healthy with the hearty, the dining at Tod Mountain is like no other.

Guest Favorite ~ Tracey’s Asparagus Quiche with fresh Olive Bread

1 9inch deep-dish pie shell
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
2/3 cup milk
2/3 cup half n half
½  teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
Dash pepper
3 eggs
4oz cheese grated (I use 2 oz Gruyere & 2 oz Emmentaler)
About 10 spears of asparagus

Preheat oven to 400°F
Bake pie shell for about 7 minutes – you only want to part bake it to set the bottom so it doesn’t go soggy when you add the quiche mixture.

In a small saucepan, combine milk, half & half, onion, salt, nutmeg and pepper.  Bring to boil and then simmer for a few minutes.

Sprinkle 2/3 of the cheese into the pie shell.

Wash & trim the asparagus and blanch in hot water.  Place the asparagus on top of the cheese, trimming to fit into the pie dish.

In a medium sized bowl, lightly beat the eggs, then stir the milk mixture into the eggs.  Pour the mixture over the asparagus and then sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Bake for around 25 minutes.  You can test for doneness by sticking a knife into the centre, if it comes out clean, it’s done!

Olive Bread (Makes 1lb loaf)

500g bread flour
500 ml warm water
1 teaspoon salt
15 g fresh yeast (or 10g dried yeast)
Handful of Black Olives, pitted and roughly chopped

Dissolve the yeast in 100ml of the warm water, and keep the remaining water to one side.  Once the yeast mixture has more than doubled in size, it is ready to use.

In a large bowl (of if you are brave, you can do this on the work surface) mix the flour and salt together.  Add in the olives.  Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the yeast mixture.  Using your hands mix the yeast mixture into the flour. When it’s all worked in, then start to pour in the rest of the water, mixing it in well.  Mix until you have a ball of dough that can easily be worked.

If it’s too wet, just add a little more flour.  If it’s too dry and not all the flour has mixed in, then just add a little more water.

Knead the dough for about 5 minutes and put back into a clean bowl.  Cover the bowl with a clean, damp tea towel and leave to rise for about 45 mins or until it has doubled in size.

When the dough has risen, you need to knead it again for about 5 minutes making sure all the air has been knocked out of it.  If you want a rustic style loaf, shape it into a round shape and put onto a baking tray, or you can put into a loaf tin, or indeed you can shape it however you want.  Cover, and leave to proof for another 45 mins or until it has doubled in size.

Heat the oven to 400°F. Bake the bread in the oven for about 40 mins or until cooked.
You can test for doneness by tapping the bottom of the loaf, if it sounds hollow it’s cooked.

Once cooked, place on a rack to cool a bit before serving.  Delicious served warm.

Spa Oasis

April 26th, 2010 by bcguestranches

Reconnect and restore your passion for life at Echo Valley Ranch & Spa.

ECHO VALLEY — Nestled in the heart of British Columbia’s spectacular cowboy country, nature has created the perfect setting for a world-class spa and one of the world’s premier eco and soft-adventure ranches — the perfect place for couples to reconnect and restore their passion for life.

Echo Valley Ranch & Spa is set in a wilderness setting where you can connect with yourself, partner and nature.

Echo Valley Ranch & Spa is set in a wilderness setting where you can connect with yourself, partner and nature.

The minute guests arrive at Echo Valley Ranch & Spa they sense the magic of being surrounded by incredible beauty, wide-open spaces and tranquil wilderness. Those who come for the luxurious spa soon realize they have found a sanctuary for care and inner harmony.

The world-class Baan Thai spa pavilion provides a special place for rejuvenation and serenity. Professional Thai therapists perform spa treatments for the care of mind, body and soul derived from ancient Thai wisdom.

The Baan Thai and the Cariboo spas include a full range of Western as well as Asian spa therapies. These include facials, herbal aroma therapy massages and steam baths, hydrotherapy, body wraps, manicures, pedicures, and of course – Echo Valley’s signature Thai massage, where stretching and applied pressure to points along your sen lines free up energy flow throughout your body.

The magnificent Baan Thai offers a unique spa experience, including the soothing effects of herbal steam treatments and an herbal oil massage combined with the rejuvenating qualities of our luk pra kob (herbal bag).
Experience other Thai therapies such as kud rang guy (herbal body scrub), nued nha (Thai facial using hands only) and pog rang guy (herbal wraps).

Herbal bag treatment at Echo Valley Spa.

Herbal bag treatment at Echo Valley Spa.

The spa at Echo Valley is an integral and important part of “well-being of mind, body and spirit.” It complements the ranch’s other soft adventures, which include horseback riding, hiking and fly fishing.

Relaxed, refreshed and enlightened, guests leave Echo Valley with a restored passion for life and in anticipation for next year’s visit.

gal_spa_herbal_bag4

Ranching in BC This Summer Means Wild Open Spaces

February 26th, 2010 by Skyla Grimes

Ranching in BC This Summer Means Wild Open Spaces, a range of outdoor experiences and all the horseback riding you can handle.

Vancouver, BC Feb 26, 2010 - British Columbia has truly perfected the art of guest ranching. For generations, BC’s guest ranches have been offering the experience of the ‘western way of life’ – from sleeping under the stars to high end luxury accommodations that allow guests to experience real life on a ranch.

Ranchers provide their guests with a new appreciation for connecting with nature through the amazing land that is their backyard during their ranch stay.  From cowboy-inspired dude ranches and sophisticated wilderness luxury to family friendly experiences, these guest ranches focus on riding with horsemanship lessons, cattle drives, wilderness pack horse excursions and leisurely paced rides in unparalleled beauty. There are also lessons in bear and wilderness survival, guiding, organic gardens and the simple pleasures of relaxing in rustic and luxury surroundings.

These guest ranches are just a few of those available this summer offering an adventure that will truly take guests away from their everyday.

The Siwash Lake Ranch, 70 Mile House, BC has the “ultimate family dude ranch experience” in the Family Fun on the Frontier package. This summer vacation offers fun and learning as families reconnect in the old-fashioned sense and spend quality time together, enjoying unlimited  horseback riding and instruction, swimming, hiking, canoeing, and mountain biking as well as a Free-Range Kids program, fine dining and luxury accommodation in a family suite. Available on select summer dates. $1,650 CAD per night per family(maximum two adults, and three children) www.siwashlakeranch.com

The Summer Adventure Guest Ranch weekly packages at Three Bars Guest Ranch, a third generation guest ranch in Cranbrook, BC includes log cabin accommodations, all meals, guided horseback riding every morning and afternoon, kids horse program, a guided river float trip as well as guided and unguided hiking, mountain biking, tennis, fly fishing equipment and an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub. From $1080 USD for a three night stay, double occupancywww.threebarsranch.com

The most popular package at Tod Mountain Guest Ranch inHeffley Creek, BC,is the all-inclusive five night stay which includes four full days of riding, gourmet meals with a ranch twist and accommodation in one of the newly built cabins.  Rates are truly all inclusive, there are no hidden extras.  From $1,000 CAD per person for five nights (4 days riding) no single supplement. www.todmountainranch.com

At Chaunigan Lake Lodge in Pitt Meadows, BC, summer packages include private log cabin accommodation, three meals a day, daily guided horseback riding, motor boat and mountain biking, kayaking, canoeing, windsurfing and fishing. Fish cleaning, smoking and packaging is also included. From $269 CAD/night/adultwww.chaunigan.com

The Weekend Ranch Experience at Chezacut Wilderness Adventures in Redstone, BC envelopes guests in the everyday life of a working cattle ranch. Spend time with horses, learn to rope, herd cattle on horseback, take care of the animals and enjoy ranch raised, grass finished meats with organic produce. Rooms and suites available. (Activities vary depending on season.) $350 CAD/person/weekend (dbl. occupancy of 3 nights accommodation, all meals and activities included).  www.chezacutwildernessadventures.com

About BC Guest Ranches

Rugged ranges, vast plateaus, tucked away lakes and ocean lapping at wild west coast line – this is the setting of 14 of the most incredible guest ranches of British Columbia. All members of the BC Guest Rancher’s Association (BCGRA) established in 1985, live up to their mantra of, “A Vacation of A Lifetime”. They are mainly located in the Chilcotin Cariboo and the Thompson Okanagan regions of this most westerly province in Canada.

For more information visit -http://www.bcguestranches.com/bc_guest_ranch_members.htm

Three Bars Guest Ranch announces 2010 Summer Video and Photo Contest

January 27th, 2010 by Skyla Grimes

WANTED: Guest Shooter! 
Three Bars Guest & Cattle Ranch announces the
2010 Summer Video and Photo Contest

CRANBROOK, B.C., January 27, 2010- For three generationsThree Bars Guest & Cattle Ranch has captured the imagination of guests by delivering enduring experiences of life on the range. This summer, Three Bars is putting the challenge out to guests, to help capture their guest ranch adventures, with the launch of the Three Bars Ranch 2010 Summer Video and Photo Contest beginning July 4 through to August 21, 2010.

“It has been said that you cannot explain in words to someone what it is that makes a guest ranch vacation so special,” says Tyler Beckley whose family owns and operates Three Bars Guest Ranch. “We’ve been providing guest ranching experiences for 30 years and for about the same length of time have been looking for the right words to describe the thrill that families are taking away with them. So we’re sweetening the challenge to find the ‘best guest shooter’ to tell us what they see and feel through images! ”

The Contest: 

All summer long guests are invited to capture their vacation through images or video. Entries will be uploaded on the ranch website for everyone to see. These entries will be judged on how well they portray the true guest ranch experience. The grand prize winner will be awarded a guest ranch vacation at a partner ranch: the White Stallion in Tucson AZ. The all inclusive three night stay prize package is valued at $1260 USD.

Contest details can be found at www.threebarsranch.com/photo_contest.html or call 1.877.426.5230

Three Bars Guest Ranch is located in Canadian Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, Canada, between Banff Park and Glacier Park. Three generations of the Beckley family have owned, operated and welcomed people in true western hospitality fashion to the dude ranch where all-inclusive horseback riding vacations with diverse activities and programs are available. Dude Ranchers Association Safety certified wranglers provide a helping hand and tailor programs for all levels of experience and age to ensure an enjoyable time horseback riding. Other activities include hiking, river rafting, mountain bikes, fly fishing, tennis, heated pool, hot tub, archery and fitness facility. Singles, families and couples are all welcome. www.threebarsranch.com

Media Contact:

Tyler Beckley
250.426.5230
tyler@threebarsranch.com

Cowboys and Carbon Footprints

December 21st, 2009 by Skyla Grimes

Remote off-the-grid dude ranch lightens their eco-footprint with innovative clean energy technologies

70 Mile House, British Columbia, December, 2009: Cowboys and carbon footprints haven’t always gone hand in hand, but for Siwash Lake Ranch located in British Columbia’s Cariboo region, wrangling the most progressive clean energy technologies is just as integral to the resort as wrangling horses, fly fishing for rainbow trout or tracking black bear, coyotes and cougars.

Already a leader in sustainable tourism operations and recently rated by the Globe and Mail as one of Canada’s top eco-friendly luxury destinations, Siwash Lake Ranch is currently completely overhauling its entire off-the-grid power system.  Remote businesses like the ranch have typically depended upon diesel electric generation to provide power to their operations. As part of their ongoing commitment to reduce their eco-footprint, the Siwash Lake Ranch is eliminating over 90% of their fossil fuel energy production by installing a Solar Power Plant which will be their primary source of clean, renewable and reliable energy.

They have chosen to work with another BC small business, Victoria- based, EA Energy Alternatives Ltd., who are leading the way with the technology systems design and installation. The installation features a state-of-the-art solar photovoltaic system for electricity creation and also includes a retro-fit of the hot water heating system, along with new technology to capture excess energy from heated water.  The ranch is also switching from gas powered to solar powered pumps for irrigation and other water systems.

“This project will save $32,000 per year in fuel costs and reduce our annual carbon footprint by 123 tons of green house gases. This is the equivalent of taking 22 passenger vehicles of the road for one year.  At Siwash Lake Ranch we are an advocate of local energy-efficiency and we’re proud to set an example for other small businesses that want to achieve both growth and a small environmental footprint,” says Allyson Rogers, owner and proprietor at Siwash Lake Ranch.  “Our guests are excited about all the work we do to make our operations as sustainable as possible and they’ve told us they also want to support other similar businesses that show innovation and leadership in response to the needs of our planet.”

“We are committed to providing our guests with a luxurious, genuine and responsible wilderness experience,” says Rogers. “To stay in harmony with our environment by using renewable green energy to fuel our operations is incredibly important to us.”

To learn more about their comprehensive sustainability program, and for a list of their land stewardship initiatives and their daily best practices, please visit www.siwashlakeranch.com/site/sustainability.html.

About Siwash Lake Ranch
Siwash Lake Guest Ranch in BC, Canada, is truly one of the world’s premier luxury dude and guest ranches, surrounded by 80,000 acres of pristine British Columbia wilderness. Wildlife thrives there among their natural grasslands, forests, lakes, and rivers. This remarkable, eco-friendly setting provides a refreshing oasis of wilderness solitude, filled with enriching moments for adventurous people who seek the finer things in life.

The year 2010 will mark the ranch’s 10th year of operations as a nature-based tourism business. In addition to the recent Globe and Mail rating, Siwash Lake Ranch was the only Canadian ranch to make the Forbes Traveler “Top Ten” list of Luxury Dude Ranches in May 2007.  The ranch has a rating of four-and-a-half Stars with Canada Select and has garnered an Eco-rating of Five Green Keys, the highest rating available, with the Hotel Association of Canada. Siwash Lake Ranch was nominated for a 2009 Tourism Industry Award for Environmentally Responsible Tourism and was selected by the Ministry of Agriculture to help market its Fields for the Future campaign.

Leadership in Sustainability 
This project will help the BC government promote improved ways of producing and using energy in BC’s remote off-grid communities and rural residences. It will further the production of local, clean and renewable energy to reduce diesel electric generation and will focus on the use of advanced solar heating technologies, and electricity self-generation, for “net-zero energy” buildings.

The Siwash Lake Ranch is well poised to help promote sustainable practices in BC. The place is ideally situated for a demonstration site and will open as such within a year of the technology being installed. A handbook for retro-fits will be designed for end-users, and the ranch will also facilitate educational workshops.

With nature-based tourism as one of BC’s leading industries, Siwash sets the perfect stage for displaying the province’s green legacy. As an internationally-renowned, high-end tourism operation, the ranch will showcase, worldwide, the BC government’s target “electrical self-sufficiency for 2016”.  By providing a shining light example for small businesses, BC’s tourism industry and agricultural community; for rural residents in the province, the goal is to help demonstrate to fellow British Columbians that clean energy is accessible and viable for all of these sectors.

This project is supported by the Province of British Columbia, partially funded through the Innovative Clean Energy (ICE) Fund. www.tted.gov.bc.ca/ICEfund/Approvedprojects

The ranch is currently seeking sponsors for the educational phases of this project. For more information, please email info@siwashlakeranch.com or visit www.siwashlakeranch.com.

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