• Frenchmans Cap is in the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers NP.
    Frenchmans Cap is in the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers NP.

The track to Frenchmans Cap in Tasmania's Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers NP will now bypass the notorious 'Sodden Loddons', thanks to a $1 million donation from Dick Smith.


The 'Sodden Loddons' have always been the muddy bane of bushwalkers, with even Surveyor General of Tasmania James Calder complaining about the mud back in 1840! Since then, the track through them been 'loved' almost to death by the thousands of bushwalkers making the trip to the famous 1446m peak and causing the poorly drained plains to produce more mud.


Now, instead of crossing the eroded flood plains of the Loddon and South Loddon rivers, 4.6km of the track has been rerouted and it's a wonder to behold, according to Smith. "It's beautifully constructed and designed, so I am incredibly pleased," the entrepreneur told The Mercury.


"My motivation, having come back after 40 years and seen the damage that myself and fellow bushwalkers have been doing, it didn't make me feel good.”


With the track lifted off the damaged areas, he says that the area will gradually rehabilitate. “I mainly did it for the environmental benefit. I didn't like the idea that walkers had done so much damage to the area. In some of the areas ... the bog was over your knees."


Smith says he plans to return once the work is complete, around the 50th anniversary of his first walk to Frenchmans Cap."We've only spent about half the money. I think we're now going to look at spending the balance of the money on putting some tent platforms in and improving the huts and things like that in other areas," he said.


Even without the Sodden Loddons to slow walkers down, the 46km walk to Frenchmans Cap is still considered challenging and the area is exposed to harsh weather conditions throughout the year.

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