Early settlers in the area grew fruit, vegetables and cereal crops. The first timber cutters extracted red cedar and beech timber, taking it to Nambour for milling. Initially the settlement was known as Luton Vale until 1899 when the name was changed to Mapleton after the English town.
In 1906 the dirt road from the Mary Valley to Mapleton was completed. By 1909 a sawmill was operating on the site where The Old School House (TOSH) now stands in Obi Obi Road opposite the Mapleton State School. The mill closed in 1972.
From 1915 to 1944, Mapleton was served by a 2ft (610mm) gauge tramway which ran nearly 18km from Nambour. It was worked by two shay locomotives. Pineapples, dairying and small crops were the town’s major industries until the late 1950s when the scenic beauty of the Blackall Range became a major tourist destination.
Mapleton National Park, formerly Mapleton Forest Reserve, protects rainforest remnants with bunya pines, piccabeen palm groves, tall open blackbutt forests and picturesque mountain scenery. Picnic tables, toilets, barbecues, firewood and drinking water are provided.
The Lilyponds area was for many years a swamp and underwent an $800,000 makeover to turn it into a community park. There are free BBQ’s, children’s play park and covered seating areas.
Delicia Road Conservation Park is a small park protecting remnant forest communities. It is a refuge for wildlife and a place where visitors can enjoy the native forest. The land was donated by Linda Garrett and so locals refer to it as Linda Garrett Park. There is a 2.2 kilometre walk called the Linda Garrett circuit which passes through rainforest, a palm grove and tall, wet, eucalypt forest. The great barred frog may be seen along Gheerulla Creek and birdwatchers may hear the melodic, drumming call of the endangered marbled frogmouth.
Mapleton Falls National Park marks the point just west of Mapleton where Pencil Creek cascades 120 metres over an escarpment. This small, day-use-only park, shelters many bird species, including the peregrine falcon, eastern whipbird and wompoo fruit-dove. From the carpark there is a short walk to Mapleton Falls lookout with wheelchair access to toilet and lookout. The panoramic view takes in the waterfall and Obi Obi Valley. From the open, grassy picnic area, the Wompoo circuit winds through eucalypts and rainfores where visitors may hear the fruit-dove’s booming calls, wallock-a-woo and book-a-roo. Near the causeway pool frogs may be heard and distinctive hexagonal volcanic rocks seen.