Parks la la-tree green

Mount Benson Regional Park


Mount Benson, (Halkomelem: Tatch-to-lan, Taitookton; Chinook jargon: Wakesiah) is a mountain located on Vancouver Island, British Columbia located 9 km (5.6 mi) west of Nanaimo. At one time, there was road access to the peak as there was a fire lookout at the summit. Today, the road is closed to vehicles but the mountain has become popular with local hikers as it has great views of the Strait of Georgia, the mainland Coast Mountains of British Columbia, the Nanaimo River valley, and the Vancouver Island Ranges, including Mount Arrowsmith.

Mount Benson was named in 1859 by Captain Richards, RN, after his friend Alfred Robson Benson, MD, a physician from Whitby (Yorkshire), who was in the Hudson's Bay Company service 1857-62.

During the last ice age, most of Vancouver Island was covered in a sheet of ice almost 2 kilometres thick, including the area around Mount Benson. Only peaks above that, such as nearby Mount Arrowsmith, poked through the ice sheet. The movement of the ice rounded off lower mountains like Mount Benson giving them the rounded shape they have today. Peaks above the ice sheet remained jagged.

Most of the summit is relatively flat and rounded with several small lakes, surrounded by clearcuts.

Mount Benson Regional Park is a regional park, comprising 212 ha (520 acres) of land on the upper north-east slope of Mount Benson, that was established in July 2008 on land acquired in 2005 by the Regional District of Nanaimo and the Nanaimo and Area Land Trust. There is no road access to the park itself as all of the old access roads to have been blocked off. Access to the park is from a parking lot on Benson View Road by Witchcraft Lake in Nanaimo. Only a portion of the mountain is within the park not including the twin summits.

The park area is the headwaters of the Millstone River and, to the east, the Chase River.