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O’Keefe Ranch near Vernon to winterize for 1st time in 15 years

O’Keefe Ranch near Vernon, B.C. The ranch says factors in closing for the season include the uncertainty of school and a possible second wave of COVID-19. Laurel Neufeld

O’Keefe Ranch near Vernon says it will be closing for the season due to financial difficulties.

In a press release issued Saturday, O’Keefe Ranch said it was hit hard by the novel coronavirus pandemic, and that it is continuing to fight for its survival.

However, after operating on a by-donation basis since mid-June, the ranch said factors including the uncertainty of school and a possible second wave of COVID-19, it had to make some difficult decisions.

Read more: Vernon’s O’Keefe Ranch proposes hop farm, microbrewery

“We need to approach this situation with the longevity of the ranch in mind,” said ranch board of directors chair Bruce Cummings.

“We want the ranch to be open for generations to come and that means sacrifice now.”

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Founded in 1867 and run by a non-profit society, the ranch says it will operate Wednesday to Saturday until Sept. 12, then will winterize, “the first time in over 15 years.”

Click to play video: 'Vernon’s O’Keefe Ranch thinks outside the box to stay in the black' Vernon’s O’Keefe Ranch thinks outside the box to stay in the black
Vernon’s O’Keefe Ranch thinks outside the box to stay in the black – Mar 7, 2019

Ranch finance and marketing manager Tim Gibson said a current fundraiser has helped keep the doors open this summer.

“It’s the animals I’m most concerned about,” said facilities and HR manager Sherrilee Franks.

“Many of these animals have never left the ranch and we have such a healthy herd.”

For more about O’Keefe Ranch, click here.

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