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The Cabin Community On Hollyburn Ridge

The Hollyburn Ridge Association (HRA) is a group of cabin owners and people interested in the preservation of the unique cabin community on Hollyburn Ridge. All members receive copies of the "Hollyburn Ridgerunner", which is published twice a year. Members are also notified when cabins come up for sale. By becoming members, those who do not have a cabin but wish to own one are kept informed about the Ridge, so they are well-informed by the time their dream cabin comes around! Those who would like to join the Hollyburn Ridge Association may obtain a membership form by clicking on this link to the the HRA membership page < >.


Regular mail may be sent to the following address:

P.O. Box 91076,
West Vancouver, B.C. V7V 3N3

 IMPORTANT INFORMATION regarding OWNERSHIP, PURCHASE and RENTALS of CABINS: Currently there are about 100 cabins on the Ridge. Most of these cabins are accessed by a network of forest trails. Vehicle access is rare. Owners must carry all supplies (including construction materials) to their cabin along these trails.

For several decades, the District of West Vancouver (DWV) has not permitted the construction of new cabins on the ‘Ridge’. Almost all of the cabins sit on land leased from DWV. Cabins owners are expected to maintain their cabins to a standard required by DWV. An owner(s) who neglects cabin maintenance may not be able to renew his/her lease. RENTALS OF CABINS ARE STRICTLY FORBIDDEN.



Cabin building on Hollyburn Ridge became a popular pastime in the late 1920's after the Hollyburn Ski Camp/Lodge opened in January, 1927. Typically, a group of young people would decide to build a cabin, look for a suitable site close to fresh water and building supplies in the form of flume boards or trees, and then go about building their 'home on the Ridge'. Lacking skills, many learned through trial and error. Sharing knowledge gained from experience was quite common between cabin groups. In this way, a strong sense of community developed.

By 1931, over 200 cabins had been built which caused much concern in the District of West Vancouver. In 1932, Scotty Finlayson, with the approval of the cabin owners on the Ridge, was appointed Park Ranger by the district. Scotty approved sites for cabin building, selected the trees that could be used for construction, collected the annual fees for the leased lots, dealt with 'domesticated' bears, and patrolled creeks that supplied West Vancouver with water - all for a monthly salary of $25.00. So began the long and sometimes difficult relationship between the Hollyburn cabin owners and the District of West Vancouver.

In 1973, concerned about the future of theirheritage cabins and a cherished way of life, cabin owners formed the Hollyburn Ridge Association. Its objectives were to:

1. Protect and preserve the Hollyburn cabin area;

2. Promote the recreational use and public access to the Hollyburn Ridge area;

3. Negotiate with all levels of government to encourage and promote the aims and objectives of the Hollyburn Ridge Association.

The Hollyburn Ridge Association’s policy of negotiation rather than confrontation has proved effective, and (for now at least), the threats to the viability of the cabin community have been allayed. While the cabins on Grouse and Seymour have now disappeared, Hollyburn has endured, the only community in the Lower Mainland to do so.

Catherine Rockandel, 2006 President of the Hollyburn Ridge Association, speculates on reasons. “Firstly, there were more of them to start with, there was amore active community, so they were more well maintained, and there was strong local and vocal leadership that advocated for their survival and continues to do so through the Hollyburn Ridge Association. . . You often see one community able to organize while another cannot. The biggest reason is the amount of social capital or trust, collaboration through volunteerism and organized community events, individual leadership, etc. Hollyburn was a community."


On Monday, February 19, 2007, the Hollyburn Ridge Association received a 2007 Heritage Achievement Award from the District of West Vancouver. Commenting on the award, HRA president Catherine Rockandel, in an interview with North Shore News said, "What makes this award so important is that the District of West Vancouver is . . . really positioning themselves as stewards of Greater Vancouver's skiing history." . . .The long term goal of the association is not only the preservation of the cabins but also "the celebration of the living history of the community."

On November 28, 2011, Jackie Swanson (President) & Catharine Rockandel (Past-President), representing the Hollyburn Ridge Association (HRA), were presented with a Heritage Achievement Award by Mayor Pam Goldsmith-Jones.

The hard work of numerous individuals within the Hollyburn Ridge Association has led to long term tenure being secured for cabins on Hollyburn Ridge for the first time in 85 years. Countless hours of behind the scenes negotiations, as well as the difficulty of addressing the needs of 80 permit holders, were necessary to reach this point, but it now means these historic cabins and their occupants have certainty for the years ahead. The hard work of all the Hollyburn Ridge Association members means that the centennial of the Cabins Alive movement is sure to be celebrated in 15 years' time. Jackie Swanson and Catherine Rockandel will be accepting this award on behalf of the entire Hollyburn Ridge Association.

The next day, Catharine wrote the following letter:

Dear Mayor and Council,

I am deeply honoured to accept the 2011 West Vancouver Community Heritage Award alongside our current president Jackie Swanson on behalf of the Hollyburn Ridge Association.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our nominator Phil Aldrich, the District of West Vancouver Council and staff for their commitment and acknowledgment of the importance of preserving the heritage values of the Hollyburn cabins, and the great team of people that worked tirelessly on the HRA board of directors over the years. 

Despite numerous bumps along the road, we have achieved a significant milestone in securing a longer-term tenure and the commitment by the District of West Van to ensure the preservation of the Hollyburn cabins. 

In addition, I would also like to commend the District of West Vancouver for its commitment to the values of public participation. In particular recognizing the interests and needs of the Hollyburn cabin permit holders. And acknowledging that those affected by district decisions have a right to be involved in the decision-making process and that their contribution will influence decisions.

I am hopeful that this process is also an indication of the District's commitment and leadership to heritage preservation throughout West Vancouver. 

Catherine Rockandel 

Past President

Hollyburn Ridge Association (HRA)