The Queensland government has just bought a 35,500 hectare property, previously used for grazing, which will soon officially become the state’s newest national park. 

Diverse and Critical Landscapes

Known as The Lakes, the property, which is over twice the size of the Royal National Park, is located around 100km north of Hughenden in North West Queensland, inland from Townsville. 

‘These regions have plains, woodlands, escarpments, creeks, and unique high-altitude lakes that support a wide range of important flora and fauna,’ said Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon.

The Lakes sits between several other protected areas, including Blackbraes, Porcupine Gorge, White Mountains, and Great Basalt Wall National Parks, allowing for the ‘continuity of protection’.

‘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.

Dr James Fitzsimons, Director of Conservation and Science for The Nature Conservancy Australia, has said the purchase of The Lakes is ‘critical for biodiversity protection’ and ‘offers high value for resilience to climate change’.

Preserving Culture and Providing Recreation

The land falls on the traditional Country of the Gudjala First Nations’ people, and encompasses the headwaters of South Gregory River, which feeds into the Great Barrier Reef catchment. 

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service plan to engage with the Traditional Custodians to find ways to involve the Gudjala people in the cultural heritage management and land conservation of the park. 

‘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.

The purchase was part of Queensland’s Protected Area Strategy 2020-2030 and has been the largest acquisition of property for the plan so far. But it won’t be the last.

‘This is the first big acquisition for 2022 but there’s more to come,’ Minister Scanlon told the ABC.

We can’t wait to check out this unique national park!