A conversation with Kerstin Auer of Echo Valley Ranch & Spa
Tucked away in the pristine wilderness of British Columbia’s Cariboo Region lies the Echo Valley Ranch and Spa. Far from the stresses of modern life, the retreat is designed to both relax and reinvigorate. But a visit to Echo Valley Ranch & Spa is more than just a vacation – it’s a chance to discover the ancient connection between people and nature, and come away with a whole new perspective. The Luxury Report spoke with Marketing & Sales Manager Kerstin Auer – who has worked at the ranch for 10 years – about why it has such a profound effect on all who visit.
The Luxury Report: What do you believe your guests enjoy most about Echo Valley Ranch & Spa?
Kerstin Auer: It’s hard to pick one thing, as there are so many. We can’t even take credit for it, because it’s simply nature doing her magic. It’s the absolute silence, the majestic views, and a feeling of peace. This is what our guests tell us over and over again once they are settled in, that arriving in Echo Valley took their breath away. We know from many conversations with First Nations in the area, that Echo Valley has been frequented by indigenous peoples for thousands of years and was known as a spiritual place. The life-giving springs, the connection to the land, and the sense of place evoke a strong connection to anyone who visits, and we are grateful to be able to share this with our guests.
TLR: Please highlight some of the activities you offer – both for those seeking adventure, and those who want a more relaxing stay.
KA: We offer a full range of activities for all tastes, with as much or as little adventure as you like. For more activity-focused guests, we offer our popular Survival Spirit Activity, a half-day adventure to prepare for an unexpected night in the wilderness. We also offer archery and marksmanship, as well as hikes ranging from an hour to a full day. Climbing Mount Bowman is an equally challenging and exhilarating feat! Our e-assist mountain bikes have been very popular, and we offer guided tours through the boreal forests and along mountain ridges for a great mixture of adrenalin and awe-inspiring views.
For a more relaxing time, our Canyon Connection Tour and Horse Harmony Program have been guest favourites.
‘The Canyon Connection Tour is a guided 4×4 tour through the boreal forests into the desert-like Fraser Canyon, also known as the Grand Canyon Of The North. An unforgettable experience, with breathtaking views. Our Horse Harmony Program fosters the ancient connection between people and horses. It goes beyond a trail ride, and both our guests and the horses can’t get enough of it! We also offer yoga, meditative walks, and of course our spa with both Western and authentic Thai treatments. Our Thai massages offer a wonderful way to relax after a day exploring Echo Valley.
TLR: Echo Valley Ranch & Spa is all about the natural world. Tell us about your commitment to environmentally-friendly practices.
KA: We are certified with Sustainable Tourism 2030, and we have taken the Sustainable Tourism 2030 Pledge, a commitment to improving our sustainable practises each year. We invite and encourage our guests to participate; some of our practises include energy-efficient lighting throughout the ranch, self-sustaining geothermal heating systems in two of our buildings, electric car charging stations, drinking water sourced from local springs, and more. Our ranch is also a plastic bottle no-go zone. We provide reusable drinking bottles to our guests and encourage them to take the bottles home with them and continue using them. Our kitchen also strives to be zero waste, as does our composting facility and our ever-ready ranch pig. All Of this contributes to our sustainability pledge.
TLR: So, the dining experience at the ranch also plays a key part in the sustainability drive?
KA: Absolutely. Growing most of the food we serve – including raising our own cattle – plays a big role in our commitment to sustainability. Our ranch garden is lovingly tended to by our ranch team and all vegetables and fruits are grown without the use of artificial fertilisers. Seeds are preserved over the winter in the restored root cellar, which was first established in the early 1900s with the original homestead. Our greenhouse shields the young plants from the harsher temperatures in the early spring, before our ranch garden becomes a draw during the summer. It’s a real joy for guests to see the vibrant colours of the produce minutes before it’s turned into a salad for them by our chef. Farm fresh and delicious!
TLR: How do you see the ranch evolving in the future?
KA: Our iconic location at the convergence of four distinct geographic locations – Marble Mountains, Fraser Canyon, boreal forests, and Cariboo Grasslands – gifts us with flora, fauna, and wildlife, along with easy access to a bountiful outdoor playground. We are focused on creating a sustainable legacy to be enjoyed by generations to come. We are proud to be the stewards and current caretakers of the land our ranch is situated on, and we are committed to protecting and preserving our natural surroundings.
We want to continue facilitating intimate and authentic connections with nature, for mindful adventure seekers; inspiring connection to the restorative natural surroundings while living in harmony with the land is both our joy and reward.