Strathcona Wilderness Institute

Mount Elma

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Even when Mt. Albert Edward is not visible from the Paradise Meadows trailhead, two smaller mountains in the forefront, on the south shore of Lake Helen Mackenzie usually are: Mt. Brooks to the west and Mt. Elma to the east.

Mt. Elma from the south

Mt. Elma was named in 1939 for the wife of Theed Pearse, who over the course of his long life was a lawyer, Courtenay alderman & then mayor, and a knowledgeable naturalist. In 1968 at the age of 96 he self-published ‘Birds of the Early Explorers in the Northern Pacific’. The text was transcribed by Norma Morton, a founding member of the Comox-Strathcona Natural History Society formed in 1966. (The name was changed to the Comox Valley Naturalists Society in 1997). Norma is still very active with the Society & is a wealth of historical information.

Theed Pearse himself has a lake named after him in the Plateau area of Strathcona Park. The name of Pearse Lake was adopted in 1939 after being submitted by Ruth Masters in 1935. It is interesting to note that in those days many local politicians & businessmen were avid hikers and expert naturalists.

Theed Pearse was also the first known owner of the land bordering Elma Bay (named after his wife) at the mouth of Black Creek,  which eventually became Miracle Beach Provincial Park in 1950.

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