Hi everyone – Megan here!
I wanted to blog about a recent trip we took to Morden Mine and the Nanaimo River Regional Park as a family, as it was just such a great day. We started off by heading over to Nanaimo River Regional Park, located off of Thatcher Road in the south Wellington area of Nanaimo. It’s a beautiful walk along the Nanaimo River – perfect for kids with bikes (my 5 year old brought his) and walking with a stroller (our daughter likes to ride in style). The trail meanders past farms & fields and eventually along the river before looping back to the parking area.
We decided to pull over at a set of stairs near the end of the trail and pop down to the river’s edge for a picnic snack, where we were able to take in some local guys fly fishing. (This was, of course, before the drought conditions and before the local rivers were closed to fishing). It was so beautiful and peaceful just looking out onto the river; bonus was we had the whole place to ourselves! We never crossed one other single person while on the trail.
After finishing up our snack, we loaded back into the car and drove the short 5 minutes or so to reach the entrance of Morden Colliery Historic Provincial Park, or “Morden Mine” as the locals refer to it. This historical place once housed the Morden Coal Mine, which pushed out 76,000 tonnes of coal during it’s first year of operation in 1912. Now, it’s the only remaining coal tipple on the Island. It’s quite impressive to see in person, let me tell you! The kids couldn’t believe how big it was.
We found our way to the cute little “Miner’s Trail”, just along the side of the tipple itself. Since the park is very old and actually falling apart (more on that later), it’s crucial that any visitors to the park stay on the trail itself in order to preserve what remains of the mine. It’s easily marked and the historical signage along the path tells you all about the history of Morden Mine, including what the buildings used to look like using historical photos.
Following the trail around takes you past some pretty cool stuff!
Once you’ve explored the historical part that was the actual mine, there is a great little trail (only 1km or so long) that takes you down to the Nanaimo River called the Morden Colliery Regional Trail. It’s flat and easy walking trail. It apparently follows the same route the railway used to run from the mine! Who knew!
Morden is such a beautiful park, with such a sad fate. For years the Friends of the Morden Mine have tried to raise enough money to save these ailing structures, but to no luck. The site’s owner, the BC Government, just can’t come up with the money to make the necessary imperitive repairs to save them. And after years of trying, the Friends of Morden Mine have pretty much thrown in the towel. It’s so sad to think they will just crumble to the earth eventually, so make sure to make the effort to visit the park before it is no more. I’m glad we did.