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New direction for Albany parks

Castle Rock in Porongurup National Park
Castle Rock in Porongurup National Park Parks and Wildlife

Department of Parks and Wildlife Director of Parks and Visitor Services Peter Sharp recently met with local community, business and tourism representatives to outline plans for the introduction of visitor entry fees to assist with the future management of Torndirrup and West Cape Howe national parks and Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve.

“The State Government has recently invested more than $7.5 million through Royalties for Regions to upgrade facilities at parks in the Albany region, which now attract more than half a million visitors annually,” Mr Sharp said.

Mr Sharp said the department was keen to ensure that the exceptional visitor experiences provided at the parks would be maintained to a high standard into the future.

“Entry fees will come into effect as of 4 April 2016 and will generate upwards of $500,000 annually that will be retained in the region and go towards the upgrade and maintenance of visitor facilities, enhanced management presence during peak visitor times and supporting nature conservation efforts,” he said.

Recognising that local parks are important recreation resources for communities, the department is also introducing a new Local Resident Park Pass.

“This will provide residents of the City of Albany with unlimited entry into national parks in the Albany region for a 12-month period at a discounted cost of $15 per vehicle from 4 April 2016 until 3 April 2017,” Mr Sharp said.

Mr Sharp said the major upgrades at the Gap and Natural Bridge in Torndirrup National Park provide an ideal opportunity to raise the profile of the southern region’s wonderful nature-based destinations.

“The Bibbulmun Track, Munda Biddi Trail, Granite Skywalk in Porongorup National Park and the soon-to-be completed Gap and Natural Bridge lookouts are world-class attractions,” he said.

“When you combine these with the outstanding attractions of the Tree Top Walk, the Mt Frankland wilderness lookout and the recently completed $40 million upgrade to roads and visitor facilities in Fitzgerald River National Park, you can encourage visitors to stay longer in the region and support local businesses.”

Mr Sharp said the department would continue to work closely with the Great Southern Development Commission, the Department for Regional Development, local government authorities and tourist organisations to develop and promote Australia’s South West as a must-see destination for travellers.”

Torndirrup and West Cape Howe national parks and Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve are among 34 parks in WA where entry fees will apply.

Media contact: Parks and Wildlife Media 9219 9999