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History British Columbia (bc)

Douglas Lake Ranch

Empire of Grass

by (author) Donna (Yoshitake) Wuest

with Joe W. Gardner

Harbour Publishing Co. Ltd.
Initial publish date
Nov 2023
British Columbia (BC), Animal Husbandry, General
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2023
    List Price

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Explore the rich history of Canada’s largest ranch.

Douglas Lake is the largest ranch in Canada, encompassing over one million acres of BC’s south-central interior, and thousands of people have worked there since it was founded in the mid 1880s. Douglas Lake now includes BC’s first cattle ranch, Alkali Lake Ranch, as well as Circle S Ranch, Quilchena Ranch, Riske Creek Ranching and the infamous Gang Ranch. It has had a succession of wealthy owners including Charles “Chunky” Woodward of Woodward’s Stores and current owner, US real estate and sports mogul Stan Kroenke. It has recreational facilities and is known for hosting celebrity guests like Prince Philip, billionaire media mogul Malcolm Forbes and others but, as this book shows, it is a serious working cattle ranch.

Having grown up on a BC ranch, author Donna Yoshitake Wuest brings an insider’s understanding to the subject. Working closely with the ranch’s long-time manager, Joe Gardner, she provides a detailed history from its founding by John Douglas 140 years ago, through innovations in quarter horse breeding and deer farming to helicopter cowboying. Together, Wuest and Gardner provide a fascinating account of the day-to-day operations of a large modern ranch as it faces the challenges of running an integrated cattle, forestry and recreational business. The book is rich with stories about the ranch’s wealthy owners, celebrity guests and hard-working cowhands.

About the authors

Donna (Yoshitake) Wuest has worked as a writer for more than forty years. She was born in Vernon, BC, where she grew up on the Coldstream Ranch during the years when much of the land was orchard. Decades after moving away from the ranch, she wrote Coldstream: The Ranch Where It All Began (2005). She works as a freelance journalist and writer in Vancouver, BC.

Donna (Yoshitake) Wuest's profile page

Joe W. Gardner’s life-long passion has been ranching. He first worked at Douglas Lake Ranch in the early sixties, as a summer job, and he managed the ranch from 1979 to 2019. He has a master’s degree in agriculture.

Joe W. Gardner's profile page