A nine-year-old boy on Vancouver Island has been reunited with his parents after spending the night alone in a provincial park.

The boy, wearing only a t-shirt and shorts, became separated from a group of family friends while hiking near the river in the Englishmen River Provincial Park, just south of Parksville.

The youngster had been walking parallel to the marked trail, a short distance away from the group, according to police.

When the group realized he was missing, they searched for about an hour before contacting police around 6:00 p.m.

RCMP, aided by the Arrowsmith Search and Rescue team and BC Parks staff, searched the park for the boy throughout the night - but found no sign of the missing boy. Temperatures dipped to the single digits overnight.

Additional personnel, along with the RCMP Air Services helicopter from Comox, were brought in early Sunday morning. More than 100 people helped search for the boy in the 97 hectare wooded park.

Around 9:00 a.m. the boy was discovered by a local resident out for a bike ride with their dog on a logging road - a full five kilometres away from where he went missing.

He was treated for mild hypothermia, but is expected to be okay. The boy was reunited with his relieved parents in hospital.

Island District RCMP Cpl. Darren Lagan says parents should teach their children to stay where they are and remain calm if they become lost or separated in the woods.

"It is extremely easy for a child to become disoriented in the wilderness. To arm your children with this simple bit of knowledge, could save their life."