A management plan to preserve the high conservation values of Frenchmans Cap while providing a unique visitor experience for the next 10 years has been finalised.
The Frenchmans Cap Track is becoming increasingly popular and therefore preserving its wild character while maintaining the self-reliant visitor experience involves careful planning and the Frenchmans Cap Recreation Zone Plan 2020 provides this.
Frenchmans Cap constitutes perhaps the most dramatic landform in western Tasmania. The area has a long history of both recreational use and reservation, with a national park in the area first proclaimed more than 70 years ago.
The 45 km return walk to the Cap is a challenging experience but is the fourth-most popular backcountry-walking destination in Tasmania. Frenchmans Cap has also been popular with rock climbers for more than 40 years and many traditional-style routes have been established on its steep walls. The wild Franklin River’s gorges partly surround Frenchmans Cap and the Irenabyss Track provides a recreational link for both raters and walkers.
Many sections of the main access track have been subject to construction or stabilisation works at various times. The opening of the ‘Sodden Loddon’ plains bypass in March 2013 resulted in an immediate 50 per cent increase in walkers.
As walker numbers continue to increase, issues with hut overcrowding and increased site impacts may occur. To protect the environment and the visitor experience, PWS will focus on and implementing social and environmental impact monitoring tools. These include exit surveys to assess the positive and negative aspects of the visitor experience, and track and campsite condition monitoring and assessment. The planned review in three years will use the data collected to inform evidence-based management actions.
The Frenchmans Cap Recreation Zone Plan 2020 can be found here.