A working Cattle Ranch
For Over 130 Years
The History of Douglas Lake Ranch spans a period of some 130 years dating back to the mid 1880s. In fact, Douglas Lake Ranch itself traces its name back to 1872 when John Douglas Sr. homesteaded his first 320 acres along its shore of its namesake lake.
Douglas Lake ranch
In the Beginning
In 1884, John Douglas Sr. sold this property to Charles Beak, who, along with Joseph Greaves, Charles Thomson and William Ward, founded Douglas Lake Cattle Company on June 30, 1886; a date which coincided with the first transcontinental train trip of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Charles Beak was a cattle rancher who had already amassed some 22,000 acres in the Nicola Valley, whereas Greaves, Thomson and Ward were members of a cattle syndicate that purchased cattle with a view to obtaining the Canadian Pacific Railway beef contract. In 1892 Charles Beak sold his interest to the remaining shareholders. Greaves and Thomson both remained until 1910 when Ward purchased their interest. By this time, the Ranch had grown to over 110,000 deeded acres, establishing it as the preeminent ranch in Canada.The Ranch remained under the ownership and management of successive members of the Ward family until 1940.
Throughout this period, the Douglas Lake Ranch's fortunes rose and fell repeatedly. From the highs of World War I to the depths of the Great Depression there were turbulent times. Revenues rose and fell whereas the costs of ranching continued to rise by early 1900s standards. Additionally, ranching was changing as horsepower began to be replaced by the combustion engine. The Ward family sold to Colonel Victor Spencer and William Studdert in 1950. However, during the period to April 1951, Frank Ross (later to become Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of British Columbia) joined Spencer and Studdert as a third owner. Studdert subsequently sold to Spencer and Ross. By then, the deeded acres had increased to over 145,000 acres (58,000 hectares).
In 1959, Spencer and Ross sold Douglas Lake Ranch to Charles (Chunky) Woodward and John West. West's ownership continued until his death in 1968 at which time Woodward became the sole owner.
In Modern Times
In July of 1998 the Woodward family sold to Bernard J. Ebbers, a Canadian born resident of Jackson, Mississippi, who then sold the ranch to a fellow American 2003. The company has since grown its land base through the purchase of the Alkali Lake Ranch (Williams Lake, BC) in 2008 consisting of 37,000 acres, the purchase of the James Cattle Company (adjacent to Alkali) in 2012 consisting of 22,000 acres, the 2013 the purchase of the Quilchena Cattle Company (28,000 acres), and the purchase of Riske Creek Ranching in 2015 consisting of 22,000 deeded and 9,500 leased acres adding an additional 120,000 acres to the Douglas Lake Cattle Company.
Total deeded acres are currently at 271,000 with an additional 1,023,000 +/- acres of crown grazing between all company holdings bringing the company’s total acreage to over 1.2 million.
Douglas Lake Ranch has proven to be truly inventive. Reaching out to the Tourism Industry with it’s availability of private lakes, Douglas Lake Ranch provides dedicated anglers with some of the best and exclusive stillwater fly-fishing in North America. Our lakes are rich with hard fighting Kamloops Rainbow Trout, weighing up to ten pounds.
Moving forward Douglas Lake Cattle Company continues to innovate and remains on the cutting edge of the Canadian beef industry. We are continually striving to improve our cow herd through careful performance based genetic selection and sound management practices that set the standard for excellence. Douglas Lake Cattle Company continues to foster a culture of uncompromising quality, sustainability and environmental stewardship while striving to invest in its people and the local community.
Douglas Lake Ranch
We would like to welcome you to come and visit our General Store, located in the heart of Douglas Lake Ranch. The store is still housed in one of the original Ranch buildings, preserving our history with rustic charm. We are open year round serving the more than twenty families living and working on the Ranch.
During our peak season, May through October, we are visited by tourist and avid fly fishermen from all corners of the world. Our store carries a wide selection of groceries, fresh produce, clothing, souvenirs, western tack, farm fresh eggs, and of course, cuts from our famous beef.
So, drop in for a cup of coffee and a slice of the past where good country hospitality is just a way of life.
Over the past decade, the Douglas Lake Cattle Company has added several other significant and historical BC ranch operations to it's portfolio. Read more about the ranches that now are a part of the Douglas Lake Ranch family.
The Historic Quilchena Ranch
The place where the willows grow, as named by local First Nations’ is a small country village located just north of Merritt, British Columbia. The Guichon brothers left the grazing region of the Savoie in France and arrived in California in 1857. They immediately trekked north to Canada in pursuit of the Cariboo gold rush in British Columbia. When the rewards of prospecting became marginal, they pursued other interests which eventually led them to the ranching region of the Nicola Valley. Joseph, the youngest of the brothers, acquired ranch property at Quilchena and it was here that he decided to build the Quilchena Hotel.
Alkali Lake Ranch - BC's Oldest Cattle Ranch
In a pretty valley that lies 50 kilometers southwest of Williams Lake, BC on the Dog Creek Road, is the home of BC’s oldest cattle ranch. Alkali Lake Ranch can trace its origin back to the mid-1800s. It is now, and always has been, privately owned and operated. One such man who stayed was Herman Otto Bowe. He established a stopping house and word soon spread about the quality of his establishment. It was so often described ‘as the place near the lake with the patch of alkali visible on the hillside’ that it is no wonder that it came to be called the Alkali Lake Ranch.
Circle S Ranch
More about Circle S Ranch soon to come.
Riske Creek Ranch
Riske Creek Ranching which consists of the Deer Park and Cotton home sites was acquired in 2015 from the Hoffman and Harvey families. This ranch is located across the Fraser River from our Alkali Lake Division sustaining 950 cows on 30,000 deed acres and 157,000 crown grazing acres. Our irrigated land base at this location is approximately 700 acres. Day to day management of this division is overseen by our Alkali Lake manager with employees and equipment moving between these divisions as needed. Cattle are also marketed as one from both these divisions.
Deer Park Ranch
More about Deer Park Ranch soon to come.
More about Cotton Ranch soon to come.