With the announcement that an expansion of the Wellington National Park will be happening we have launched Promote Preston and developed our strategic plan.
Our vision is for an interactive park that enables people of all ages and abilities to access and engage with our beautiful Jarrah/Marri forests. A pace where people can learn more about Noongar ways of caring for country, participate in citizen science volunteer programs or challenge themselves by doing something a little ‘wild and adventurous’.
What can we say...it was a heap of fun for everyone! "The kids enjoyed it immensely and it was so good to see them having so much fun and learning at the same time." Debbie Cann (teacher, Donnybrook Primary School). Thanks Steve from Wild Movement Perth for all the 'wild' games - especially two tribes, the Shire of Donnybrook-Balingup for the community grant that made it possible and Parks and Wildlife, Western Australia for access to the Wellington Discovery Forest facilities.
The group lobbying for Wellington National Park to be expanded is gaining momentum after the State Government has shown an interest in the area.
Promote Preston – the group behind the Imagine Greater Wellington National Park campaign – says its next step is to put together a business plan for the proposal to become a reality.
The group’s efforts were given a boost of confidence last week when parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Water, Fisheries and Forestry Chris Tallentire was given a tour of the forest areas outlined in its plans.
The group wants the park increased to cover a whopping 30,000ha.
Promote Preston spokeswoman Julieanne Hilbers said the visit was the first step in Collie-Preston MLA Mick Murray fulfilling his election campaign commitment on the expansion.
“It provided us with a great opportunity to highlight the many opportunities an expanded national park would bring to both our local community and the wider Bunbury-Geographe region,” Ms Hilbers said.
“Now things are progressing it means we can now start work on a business plan.
“In the past few months we have had positive talks with local tourism businesses and identified potential partnerships.
“By diversifying the local economy and encouraging micro-businesses that connect people with nature we will be well placed to create a prosperous future for the residents of our valley.”
Mr Murray said he would work with all stakeholders.
“I will be working closely with Promote Preston, the Minister for Environment and other relevant stakeholders to make sure this valuable natural asset is protected and contributes to expanding the Collie-Preston electorate as an area of natural beauty and tourism,” Mr Murray said.
Reporter - Kate Fielding
Original article can be accessed here.
A big THANK YOU to everyone who came to our fundraiser. It was a wonderful evening – a time to catch-up, relax and have a dance. Special thanks to Latehorse and the Electric Gypsies. You rock! See pictures from the night here.
We presented our proposal to the Minister for the Environment, Albert Jacob last week. It draws on the information provided by the many government and industry agencies we have consulted with over the past four months. It highlights the significant opportunities an expanded national park would bring to the region.
Support from the community for the expansion of the Wellington National Park has been overwhelmingly positive. We have collected 1195 signatures from local residents and visitors to the area in the past eight weeks….people have been literally lining up to support us!
Talking to people…questions and answers
We have talked to ministers, government departments, local government, tourism agencies, chambers of commerce, the community and visitors to the area. The most common questions we are asked are:
What does a Category II national park mean exactly?
A Category II national park is a multipurpose park with a range of zones that offer environmentally and culturally compatible recreational, educational, spiritual, scientific, conservation and visitor opportunities.
How does this idea fit with the bigger regional picture?
An expanded Wellington National Park would be a wonderful asset to region. It meets 6 of 12 key actions for the Bunbury, Wellington Boyup-Brook regional tourism strategy. It would be the centre piece for a tourism loop that connects Bunbury, Donnybrook, Mumbalup and Collie. And world class adventure-nature experiences including camping, bike-riding and bush-walking trails, an adventure park, cultural centre and nature play. It would also offer something unique with the provision of a ceremony area which accompanying birthing forest (tree plantings for births), natural burial site, earth art trail and community nursery.
How will we benefit?
A GWNP is a very clear statement that this area is special which will provide the security of tenure needed to create job and business opportunities locally in the Preston Valley now and into the future.
Do the burning practices change when an area becomes a national park?
The Department of Parks and Wildlife burning protocol is the same for national parks as it is for state conservation areas.
Will this help our flora and fauna?
What we have here is a one of a kind temperate eucalypt forest that is found no where else on earth. A national park will provide habitat for the Carnaby`s Cockatoo, Forest Red-tail Black Cockatoo, Brush-tailed Phascogale, Chuditch and the rare mainland Quokka. We view citizen science and species recovery programs as a great way to engage our community in ‘caring for country’.
Why a national park?
We know we are on a winner with increased visitations for all national parks across the state. There was a 32% increase in the number of visitations to Wellington National Park in just one year from 191,000 in 2013-2014 to 280,000 in 2014-2015. (DPAW, 2016) High visitor numbers start affecting the features people came to experience, so a larger national park will spread the impact.
According to Tourism WA if we keep people in the region one more day the average expenditure is $157 for intrastate visitors and $161 for interstate and $67 for international visitors. Wild visitors (ie into outdoor adventure) tend to stay longer and spend more. Tourism Research Australia has found that for every tourism dollar spent there is a flow on effect of an extra 87c to other parts of the economy.
What about logging?
Promote Preston is requesting approximately 13,500 hectares be added to the existing WNP. This excludes the 3,000 hectares of pine plantations in the region. Of the 10,000 hectares - 8,000 has been logged in the past 16 years. 700 of the remaining 2,000 hectares is being marked up for logging. We are asking for a moratorium on these as they are good conservation areas which will be essential for creating positive, high quality experiences for tourists.
Help us to make this happen by signing our petition.