Cowboys and Carbon Footprints

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

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.

The ranch is currently seeking sponsors for the educational phases of this project. For more information, please email moc.hcnarekalhsawis@ofni or visit