The Friends of Randalls Bay Coastcare group (FORB) will tomorrow (4 Nov) host Julie Collins, MHR, to open the Echo Sugarloaf walking track loop.

Since June the group has been quietly working away – as COVID19 restrictions have allowed – to have the track ready for summer traffic.

In 2018 they completed Stage 1 of the 4 kilometres Echo Sugarloaf Nature Trail. This track to the summit (200 metres) has proved to be extremely popular and is used by locals, various walking groups, schools and many intra-state, inter-state and overseas visitors who come to enjoy the natural beauty and vistas of the Huon, Channel and southwest ranges from the track. It has been described as one of Tasmania’s great short walks.

In 2019 a Tasmanian Community Fund Grant($50,000) was received for Stage 2 to create a return loop.  Lola Cowle, Senior Executive Officer for the Tasmanian Community Fund, will speak at the event.

This year a further Commonwealth Communities Environment Program ($20,000) grant has been awarded to complete the project. This grant, facilitated through federal electorates, has had the support of federal member for Franklin, Julie Collins, who will officially open the track at a community beach barbecue prior to commencing the walk.

Working with local contractors, Trailblazer Tracks,and the reserve managers – Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) – FORB volunteers have constructed a lovely trail that winds through the native woodland with little impact on natural values. Jason Jacobi, Deputy Secretary for the Parks & Wildlife Service, will attend the opening along with fellow PWS staff.

Further work on the walking track will include signage, an information booth and citizen science studies but the basic track is now available to be used, much to the delight of locals and those yet to discover this gem just one hour south of Hobart.

FORB is very proud of their achievements. The group was runner up in the 2019 Landcare Group Award and Paul Thomas, our Secretary and project manager for the Echo Sugarloaf Track project, is the current Tasmanian Landcarer of the Year and also a finalist in the Tasmanian Volunteer Awards.

The Friends of Randalls Bay Coastcare Group (FORB) – established in 1998 – aims to protect and maintain the natural values of the area, including its rare and threatened vegetation communities, plants and animals, while providing a pleasant family-friendly environment for residents and visitors wanting to enjoy outdoor recreational activities such as walking, swimming, bird-watching and kayaking.