The serene karst sinkhole of Lake Chisholm – The jewel of the Sumac Region

The giant eucalypt forest in Keppel Creek is a magnificent ancient ecosystem.

The grand Arthur River from the Sumac lookout bounds the northern extent.

The Sumac is a stronghold habitat for the giant freshwater crayfish – Astacopsis gouldi, including the purple-coloured form found within the Frankland River.

The remote Horton River bounds the southern extent of the Sumac region.


First published August 23

The Sumac is in the northern extent of the Tarkine.

The title Tarkine was derived from the name of the traditional custodians, the Tarkiners. The region is also identified as ‘Takayna’ by Tasmania’s Aboriginal people.

The Tarkine is a vast stretch of predominantly wild country, which is drawing people from around the nation and across the globe, and now the associated Tasmanian municipal councils are beginning to recognise that the region is a potentially high tourist drawcard, and one that will help stimulate a depressed economic region.

Most tourists are drawn to notable areas, and that is why it is imperative for the Tarkine to have recognition with a National Park status. The accessible Sumac region, which is rich in natural features and biodiversity, is the most logical and least contentious area to establish such a reserve.

The 1998 Regional Forest Agreement grew out of the 1992 National Forest Policy Statement, and as a result the Sumac forest was dedicated as a formal reserve for its representation of primitive cool-temperate rainforest.

Prior to the RFA, the Tasmanian Forestry Commission had advocated the Sumac’s preservation. In other words it was considered to have little commercial value for resource extraction.

The proposed 15,000+ ha Sumac National Park is an expansion of the present reserve that will contribute a diversity of other outstanding natural, biological and historical features such as –

– The karst landscape features between the Sumac road and the Arthur River, which includes the Lake Chisholm sinkhole and the dolomite river features of the
Julius River.

– The magnificent old-growth eucalypt forests south of the Arthur River including the
Sumac Lookout, and the Keppel Creek/Stephans rivulet area.

– An enclave stronghold habitat for the world’s largest freshwater crayfish.
– The nature trail recreation area of the Julius River Forest Reserve.

– The remaining undisturbed extent of the southern Frankland Forests bounded by the wild Frankland and Horton rivers.

– Sections of the old Balfour pioneer track.

The proposed Sumac National Park boundary has included minimal forestry plantations (restoration areas) as to provide a contiguous manageable boundary.

The Sumac area is considered to be low mineral prospective, and non-contentious in that regard.

The declaration of the Sumac region as National Park is a positive way forward both for conservation and the economic prosperity of Tasmania’s northwest region.

The opportunity awaits, it just momentum behind the vision that is required!

*Ted Mead began campaigning towards the protection of the Tarkine’s rainforest region 30 years ago. In the meantime, other conservation goals such as the expansion of Western Tasmania’s WHA area has consumed much of his and other conservationist’s energy. Ted is confident that progress towards the dedication of a grand Tarkine reserve is on its way, though he is realistic there is still some distance to go.