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Grasslands Communities

Douglas Lake Ranch

Douglas Lake Ranch (www.douglaslake.com) is Canada’s largest working ranch and is more than 500,000 (yes, more than ½ a million!) acres of rangeland. 

Douglas Lake Ranch is an excellent resource of filmmaking and commercial locations. Douglas Lake Ranch includes the Home Ranch beside Sanctuary Lake, which is the hub of business activity, with a general store, cook house, business offices, numerous small residences, a church and a school. On the Douglas Lake property, there are more than 40 lakes, several rivers and creeks, and Quilchena Falls.

Douglas Lake Ranch is home to Stony Lake Lodge, Salmon Lake Resort with 11 lakeside cottages, Twigg’s Place log house on Salmon Lake, Minnie Lake Ranch House, Jerry’s Cabin, and lakeside yurts. It has many ranches within its boundaries such as the Dry Farm Cow Camp, the Hatheume Cow Camp, Raspberry Cow Camp, Louis Corrals Cow Camp, the Chapperon Ranch and Norfolk Ranch. Douglas Lake Ranch is also home to more recent buildings such as the Big House (a stately log hunting lodge built in the 1960's). There are extensive corrals in the English Bridge feedlot area and the Island, and expansive fields for filming such as Morton Field.

Douglas Lake Ranch is situated about a 30-minute drive north from Merritt.

  • Douglas Lake Road is paved and extends between the Old Nicola Highway #5A at Nicola Lake to Douglas Lake and snakes through rolling grasslands and eventually ends in Westwold (or begins, depending how you look at it).
  • Stony Lake Road, mostly gravel, starts at the Old Nicola Highway #5A, is an estimated 25 km long, is winding and picturesque, and leads to Stony Lake Resort and lake.
  • Salmon Lake Road, which starts at the Kamloops-Vernon Highway #97C in the Westwold and turns into the Douglas Lake Roads and, and follows the Salmon River through forests, to the open areas surrounding Salmon Lake Resort.
  • Road access via the Kentucky-Allyene Provincial Park leads to the yurts on small lakes, and is closed to the public.

Climate

Semi-dry, little precipitation, and very hot in the summer with temperatures into the 30°s C (+90°F). With an average maximum summer temperature in excess of 26ºC, and an average minimum winter temperature of about -8ºC, the Thompson-Nicola Region tends to experience relatively mild winters (by Canadian standards). In wintertime, the landscape resembles the tundra of northern Canada with drifting snow.

Population

70 cowboys plus families; approximately 20,000 cows and 300 horses

Tourism

Douglas Lake Ranch (www.douglaslake.com

Explore Gold Country (www.exploregoldcountry.com)

Did You Know?

  • Douglas Lake Ranch owns and maintains a private paved airstrip which is 4,600 feet in length, providing for a mere 35 minute flight.
  • Douglas Lake Ranch has 5,700 acres of crop fields.

Projects

“Miss Texas” a German and Canadian miniseries; “The Snow Walker” starring Barry Pepper and directed by Charles Martin Smith; “Max” – Canadian feature film and numerous commercials (Toyota, Hummer, KIA).

Kamloops

The City of Kamloops (refer to “In the Desert” Communities for a more extensive description and statistics).

Kamloops is home to the Lac Du Bois grasslands, Lac Du Bois Provincial Park, and the Knutsford grasslands of rolling grasslands, hobby farms and ranches. 

The Frolek Ranch, between Kamloops and Stump Lake (1/2 way between Kamloops and Merritt) includes thousands of expansive acres of grasslands for grazing, which are peppered with small ponds and forest groves.

The ecosystem has unique flora and fauna such as wheat bunchgrass, prickly pear cactus, sagebrush, and yellow-bellied marmots, coyotes, California bighorn sheep, osprey, bald eagles and other fascinating creatures as well as coniferous forests of Ponderosa Pines and Trembling Aspen stands.

Projects

“2012” with John Cusack; Ford 150 commercial; Ford Baja racing commercial; TV series “Battlestar Galactica” – the finale.

Merritt

The City of Merritt (www.merritt.ca), the “Country Music Capital of Canada”, is the hub of the Nicola Valley (more), and only a 3-hour drive northeast from Vancouver and a 50-minute drive from Kamloops. 

Merritt is western-like and consists of murals of country music stars and Walk of Fame. 

Merritt is a small town with old-time architecture, with an unhurried downtown marked by the iconic Coldwater Hotel. To the south of Merritt there are mountains of pine trees, ranches and parks, and to Merritt’s north, there are expansive rolling hills of grasslands along Nicola Lake - 10 kms of clean blue water. 

Climate

Merritt’s climate is lovely to say the least with 2,030 hours of sunshine per year; in summer average temperature is 25°C (80°F) and in the winter, the average low higher than -8°C (17°F), and boast dry air with little precipitation - only 12 inches per year. Its a growing season is 5 months.

Population

7,300 and services and amenities to support a trading area of 15,000+.

Tourism

Explore Gold Country (website

Merritt Walk of Stars and Canadian Country Music Association Hall of Honour & Museum (website)                                             

Did You Know?

  • The Merritt Mountain Music Festival has featured Tim McGraw, Keith Urban, Alan Jackson, Kenny Chesney, Paul Brandt, Johnny Reid, Toby Keith, Tracy Lawrence, George Canyon, Ian Tyson, Johnny Cash, Brad Paisley, Clint Black, Vince Gill, Glen Campbell, Marty Stuart, Ronnie Milsap, Ronnie Hawkins, Merle Haggard, Aaron Pinchet, and many, many others.
  • Female country music singers include Pam Tillis, Reba McEntire, Martina McBride, Beverly Mahood, Deanna Carter, Anne Murray, Terri Clark, Tanya Tucker, Carrie Underwood and many more.
  • Country music singing groups who have visited and played in Merritt are Brooks & Dunn, Emerson Drive, the Steve Miller Band, Asleep at the Wheel, Sawyer Brown, The Dixie Chicks, The Judds, The Good Brothers, Farmer’s Daughters, Mavericks and other top notch groups.
  • Jonathan Field, world renowned ‘horse whisperer,’ lives near Merritt and offers horsemanship training and clinics at James Creek Ranch, Merritt, throughout the Thompson-Nicola region, and worldwide. (www.jonathanfield.net).

Projects

“Smallville” pilot starring John Schneider and Tom Welling; “The Pledge” starring Jack Nicholson, Robin Wright, Patricia Clarkson, Benicio Del Torro and directed by Sean Penn; “The Wicker Man” starring Nicolas Cage; and CMT regularly shoot from Merritt, as well as Cowboy Country TV.

 

Quilchena (Historic)

 

The Quilchena Hotel (www.quilchena.com)  opened July 3, 1908 and exemplified European elegance in a western setting. During this period, a railway line was rumored, Nicola Lake was a popular tourist destination and the hotel was an overnight stopover for stagecoaches. However, WWI, the automobile and prohibition reduced business forcing the hotel to close in 1917. In 1958, the hotel re-opened and has been receiving guests ever since.

Today, more than a hundred years later, the historic Quilchena Hotel with its Victorian dining room, wine cellar, coffee shop for breakfast and lunch, conference rooms, saloon with real bullet holes from long ago, a sitting room with piano, plus its General Store built in 1912, all continue to attract tourists and filmmakers alike. The Quilchena Hotel and adjacent property boasts a tennis court, RV and camping sites on Nicola Lake, and Quilchena on the Lake Golf Course.

Quilchena is located 20 km (12 miles) north, a 15 minute drive along the Old Nicola Highway #5A; minutes away from Nicola Lake and approximately a 20-minute drive from Douglas Lake Ranch, and 45 minutes south of Kamloops.

Climate

Summer temperatures as high as 35"C/95'F during the day; very similar to Merritt's climate.

Population

Less than 500

Tourism

Explore Gold Country www.exploregoldcountry.com

Did You Know?

  • Quilchena Cattle Company runs several ranches including the Triangle Ranch and Quilchena Home Ranch plus the Otter Creek Cow Camp.
  • Quilchena Ranch is more than 30,000 acres of rangelands and crop fields, mostly situated in the vicinity of Triangle Ranch and the Douglas Lake Road.
  • Quilchena means “the gathering place of water”.
  • Neighboring ranches are: Nicola Ranch and Douglas Lake Ranch.

Projects

“Life and Times of Eileen Chang”; Toyota commercials; Agriculture China TV series