A massive, stunningly beautiful former grazing property will soon belong to Queenslanders as the state’s newest national park.
“The Lakes”, north of Hughenden, will increase Queensland’s protected area estate by 35,300 hectares, with a multi-million-dollar purchase.
Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon said it was the largest acquisition yet undertaken under Queensland’s Protected Area Strategy 2020-2030, a major plan to support the growth and management of our national parks and other protected areas.
“This purchase will ensure the future preservation of valuable, undisturbed ecosystems and habitat that will link up to an existing network of protected areas in the region,” Minister Scanlon said.
“As it transitions into a national park, we will also explore ways to make it accessible for visitors who will definitely want to experience the incredible lakes, birdlife and walks for themselves,” Minister Scanlon said.
She said negotiations are underway for other high-quality properties.
Minister Scanlon said “The Lakes” straddles the Great Dividing Range and is within the Einasleigh Uplands and Gulf Plains Bioregions.
“These regions have plains, woodlands, escarpments, creeks, and unique high-altitude lakes that support a wide range of important flora and fauna.
“This acquisition will also protect the headwaters of the South Gregory River which feeds into the Great Barrier Reef catchment.
“Importantly, these lands are part of the Gudjala First Nations peoples’ traditional country.
Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service will engage with Gudjala First Nations peoples’ and look to provide opportunities for involvement in land conservation and indigenous cultural heritage management.
“The Department of Environment and Science (DES) was first approached by The Nature Conservancy proposing a joint protected area acquisition with The Wyss Foundation (a private US charitable foundation) in late 2019,” Minister Scanlon said.
“The department and The Nature Conservancy worked hard to secure the land, with the Wyss Foundation committing up to $US1.829 million to the purchase.”
Dr James Fitzsimons, Director of Conservation and Science for The Nature Conservancy Australia, said the purchase of The Lakes by the Queensland Government was a great achievement for conservation, not only in Queensland, but also in Australia.
“This property presents significant conservation values with a number of priority ecosystems and species,” Dr Fitzsimons said.
“It also offers high value for resilience to climate change which is critical for biodiversity protection.”
Camps Australia Wide will keep you posted when this park is available for the public, and hopefully camping!
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