Between them they have worked as river, wildlife and wilderness guides in New Zealand, Japan, Antarctica, Greenland, Russia, Scotland, the Arctic, Australia and, of course, throughout western and northern Canada.
Most of our guides return year after year and, if you have been to the ranch before, the chances are that you will meet your previous guides again. Every year or two we also take on a new guide and bring them into the team.
As well as four or five regular guides (including Julius), Forest and Gillian, our founding guides, still return to guide occasionally.
We also have three regular housekeepers – Mel, Cheryl and Rachel – the unsung heroes of the ranch who make sure that the cabins are always clean and sparkling and you have an ample supply of freshly-cut firewood. Others who help out are Steve, our mechanic, Jim, who keeps an eye on the place, and Spring, who helps out with just about everything.
Oly has been guiding at the ranch for the past several years and is a highly-experienced bear-viewing and rafting guide. Originally from New Zealand, he now lives locally and during the summer months runs his own rafting company with his partner Tamara (see below).
Oly has more than 25 years experience guiding in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan and has worked on some of the world’s most technical commercial rivers. He brings passion, enthusiasm and a fast sense of humour to his work which he sees as an important way of promoting the preservation of wild places.
For as long as he can remember, Paul Lazarski has had an affinity with nature. A wilderness guide for more than 30 years, his work has taken him to Iceland, Greenland, the Arctic, the Antarctic, Russia and many other countries. He has also guided extensively in Canada.
In addition to his decades of wilderness guiding and his nature photography, Paul has also been a long time Canadian Heritage instructor. Teaching about the cross-cultural experiences of “first contact” and the fur trade are some of his greatest passions.
For over two decades Paul has been working as a guide and outdoor educator for Canadian Mountain Holidays. As a naturalist Paul has a true passion for bears and has worked as a bear guide both with polar bears throughout the Arctic and grizzly bears throughout coastal and central British Columbia. He has guided at Grizzly Bear Ranch for a number of years.
Tamara has a long history of working with conservation of endangered species. A former park ranger and zookeeper, she is passionate about sharing her knowledge of the unique mountain ecosystem around the ranch.
During the summer Tamara works with Oly running their own river-rafting company. During the autumn she works as a nature interpreter at the ranch, helps Kristin with guest logistics, and is a part-time warden in the nearby provincial park helping visitors and bears get along.
Bree, who was born on Vancouver Island, has lived in the Kaslo area for more than a decade. A self-avowed food-lover she has worked in several local restaurants and lodges. She has been cooking at the ranch since 2011. Her speciality is baking but she is also a great all-round cook. Bree lives in Johnson’s Landing, a 45 minute drive away, with her husband, three dogs, a cat and a flock of chickens. She is currently studying herbal medicine.
Mel was born in the Philippines but has lived in the Kaslo area for almost 20 years. She says that the mountains, lake and wildlife mean it is a place she never wants to leave. One of the hardest-working people we know, Mel has worked with us for several years and is our head housekeeper.
Rachel, also from Vancouver Island, has lived in the area for more than a dozen years. She has a long history in farming and runs an organic greenhouse which feeds up to 35 families a week in the local area. We are among her biggest customers and, while we grow our own herbs and some root vegetables, source most of our fresh produce from Rachel’s farm.
Cheryl Sinclair grew up in the local community and has lived here all her life. She is a true local with a sparkling smile and salty sense of humour. Cheryl works with Mel and Rachel making sure the cabins and the lodge are always clean and tidy for our guests. Cheryl is also passionate about green energy and is the local dealer for a US-based renewable energy company. She has supplied many in the community with their solar panels.