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Kokanee Glacier hut keeper reflects on year in the park

By Contributor
January 5th, 2023

Many of us have a connection to Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park, whether it’s from spending time within its bounds or admiring the view of the glacier from town.

Petra Hekkenberg has her own unique view of the park as the hut keeper. She’ll share her reflections and experiences in a visual presentation at the Nelson Library on January 18 at 7 p.m.

Hekkenberg grew up in the Netherlands and settled in BC because she wanted to live in a cabin in the woods.

“The mountains, the water, the community, the kindness and open-mindedness of its people stole my heart and made me decide to settle in the Slocan Valley,” Hekkenberg says.

In 2021 she was hired as hut keeper and park operator in Kokanee Glacier Park. She kept a journal of sketches and words about her time in the park. That journal became her book, In the Alpine: An Illustrated Journal of Kokanee Park.

At the January 18 event, Hekkenberg will share excerpts from her book along with a slide show, From Dutch Flatlander to Alpine Local and the award-winning short film In Your Mind’s Eye: Moods of Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park.

The film was made as a tribute to Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park’s 100th anniversary and contains landscape video and excerpts from the park’s logbooks dating back to the 1970s. 

“I hope this presentation will bring people together to celebrate and share their love for the alpine, featuring Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park,” Hekkenberg says.

Hekkenberg grew up in the Netherlands where she graduated with Bachelor degrees in Product and Public Space Design.

She focused for many years on her volleyball career and spent time in Namibia where she designed and built three playgrounds.

Hekkenberg currently works locally as a freelance designer and artist, hut keeper and park operator at Kokanee Glacier, and a cycling trip leader in Europe.

In the Alpine: An Illustrated Journal of Kokanee Park will be available for sale; 15% of sales will be donated to Friends of West Kootenay Parks.

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