NORTH BAY -- While many tourist spots have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, life at Von Doeler’s Ranch in Rutherglen has held steady.

“I have noticed during the week is busier than last year,” said Elana Von Doeler. “And I think that’s maybe because kids are out of school and people are looking for things to do.”

Von Doeler says the North Bay-area ranch has always offered unique experiences for guests, from trail rides and riding lessons to overnight stays in waterfront cabins.

Staff at the ranch are doing everything they can to ensure guest safety during the pandemic.

“Between every group, we have to sanitize everything,” said Von Doeler. “From the office to the bathrooms to the loading area, all the equipment that goes on the horses. Just sanitizing things, making sure everyone’s spaced out and we don’t have too many groups in and out at one time.”

The ranch also offers an internship program called the wrangler training program. The program is offered to people overseas who want to learn about horses and life on the ranch.

Right now they have one intern from Norway, Brita Hellan, who arrived just before the country went on lockdown in March.

Though life on the ranch is hard work, she has loved the experience.

“We are up at like 7 in the morning and have dinner at 8 and we work all day," said Hellan. "I get tired but it’s so good work. Like every morning I wake up ready for a new day just working with horses.”

Now that restrictions are loosening up across the province, staff at Von Doeler’s Ranch say they are cautiously optimistic the tourism season won’t be lost.