Since the Covid pandemic, the various levels of government have re-doubled their efforts to improve the facilities and accessibility of many national parks across the country.
There has been an acknowledgement that many parks have suffered due to chronic underfunding, and have been left with broken infrastructure, out-of-date equipment, and inadequate facilities.
The Federal Government recently announced it was to invest an extra $262.3 million in the 2023-24 Budget to help address some of the issues, and to ensure that programs to protect threatened species and eradicate invasive species had the financial backing they need.
The various state governments have also made their own commitments to the national park system, and it is making a difference.
In Western Australia, for example, work is underway to transform the iconic John Forrest National Park in the Perth Hills as part of a $17 million redevelopment.
Construction has begun on a new day use area including accessible picnic and barbeque facilities, landscaped gardens and pathways that will eventually lead to a new café and function space.
A $1.1 million access road will also be built providing elevated views for visitors and connect to a new parking area nestled within the natural landscape.
WA Environment Minister, Reece Whitby, was delighted to see the work begin.
“The new picnic and day use area will complement the surrounding landscape and allow visitors and families to enjoy nature at its best,” he said. “John Forrest National Park is a hidden gem in the Perth Hills … this redevelopment will attract tourists to the area and ensure this natural asset continues to be a must-visit destination.”
John Forrest National Park currently attracts more than 130,000 visits every year, and boasts some fantastic trails and facilities within the national park for both locals and visitors alike.
The $17 million for the John Forrest National Park transformation comes from the $6.3 million allocated in the recent State Budget, as well as an $8.4 million election commitment, and $2.5 million from the WA Recovery Plan.
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