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Dude ranches (also known as guest ranches) became popular in the American West around the 19th century. Dude ranches offer travelers an experience that is nostalgic of bygone periods. The frontiers where the dude ranches are located very much retain their authenticities.
Dude ranches aim to preserve the beauty and natural features of the historic places that inspired them. Structures are skillfully crafted and constructed from log and sustainable materials. Operators of dude ranches are more often than not conservationists who work to preserve the land. Wildlife conservation is also high on their agendas. The objective is to keep the order of life intact the way that it has been for centuries. That is not to say that modernism is out the door when it comes to dude ranches. In fact, many dude ranches are luxurious accommodations and include gourmet chefs, earthy décor with flair of opulence and hi-tech features.
Activities at dude ranches include horseback riding, hiking, nature photography, wildlife watching, whitewater rafting, and sustainable fishing.
Theodore Roosevelt, who was a naturalist and served as the 26th President of the United States was among the first “dudes” to pursue the dude ranches experience. Read more about the history of dude ranches here.
Eco Lodges vs. Eco Resorts
Eco lodges are the physical structures. Even before construction begins, the preservation and care for the environment, the land and the atmosphere, and local ecosystems and wildlife are prioritized at the highest degree. Building materials may include recycled wood (or dead trees) and other sustainable materials. During the planning and building process, if trees are downed to accommodate construction they are often replanted elsewhere. Local craftsmen are hired to build the lodges as opposed to large corporations.
Eco resorts include the larger space where the lodges are located. This may involve the entire estate or property comprising much acreage, or the immediate community. Eco resorts comprise units that work in unison with each other (or organizations) in causing the least negative impact on the natural environment, innate resources, and native species. Some examples of eco resorts are nature reserves, wildlife preserves, protected biomes and rainforests.
Green hotel is a concept generally associated with some larger chain hotels/businesses, which applied environmentally-friendly features more recently than at the time of inception. These changes are oftentimes an afterthought either from other influences or industry pressures. For example, green cleaning products may suddenly appear on a hotel’s website. While the change can be a good thing, in many such cases genuineness is lacking, hence the term “greenwashing”.
L’ Ecostay and L’ EcoResorts embrace those eco lodges that were long operating with the principles of preserving nature and wildlife, the environment, local communities and their traditions/cultures/indigenous peoples’ way of life long before the terms “eco”, “sustainable”, and “green” became trendy.