NSW National Parks to Increase Funding | Yass Tribune

An additional $ 91.5 million from the NSW COVID Recovery Fund has been set aside to increase ecotourism in the state’s national parks.

“Shovel-ready projects” across the state – which include new hiking trails and improvements to existing facilities – will be brought forward thanks to funding.

Even before the pandemic, national parks were a big part of the state’s economy, says Treasurer and Environment Minister Matt Kean.

There were more than 60 million visits to them a year, generating $ 18 billion in economic activity and supporting over 74,000 jobs.

But since the pandemic, the level of visitors has risen further.

“(This highlights) the role that parks play in supporting the physical and mental health of society. In short – national parks are good for the soul,” said Mr. Kean in a statement Saturday.

“From western Sydney to the far west of NSW, families are flocking to national parks and we want to make sure the facilities are up to scratch and able to meet this increased need.”

Among the projects funded are an upgrade of the elevated rainforest promenade at Budderoo National Park in Illawarra, improvements to road access to the Royal National Park and $ 600,000 for improvements to the mountain bike trail network at the Glenrock State Conservation Area near Newcastle.

About $ 6 million has been set aside for improved visitor facilities in Georges River National Park and Guy Fawkes River National Park, and $ 795,000 to build short-term residences in Kinchega and Paroo Darling National Parks in the far west.

It comes as a new, advanced helicopter, promised in response to the NSW study of the black summer bush fires, joined the National Parks Fleet.

The new Airbus H125 helicopter – worth $ 5.6 million – has specialized operating and safety equipment and will be used to fight forest fires and deal with risk-reducing burns.

It can also be used for pest control, bait and weed spraying, wildlife surveys and observation and construction work, Mr Kean said.

Australian Associated Press

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