Plan pushes Bay as national park

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A new coastal management plan for Albany proposes changing the classification of Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve from a nature reserve to a national park.

The plan, released by the State Government this week, covers 56 parks and reserves totalling 32,457ha and provides a blueprint for the area for the next 10 years.

Within the plan are several proposed reserves and changes to existing reserves, with alterations to Two Peoples Bay being considered for a list of reasons.

“The area is nationally and internationally recognised for its importance for scientific study and the conservation of more than 10 threatened native animals that have been recorded there,” the plan states.

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“The reserve meets criteria for a national park.

“The very popular visitor use of the reserve is facilitated within national parks but not in nature reserves.”

State Environment Minister Stephen Dawson highlighted the value of Albany’s natural environment.

“Albany is a much-loved destination and a drawcard for tourists with its spectacular coastline providing a range of popular recreational opportunities,” Mr Dawson said.

“With attractions such as the internationally renowned Bibbulmun Track and the breathtaking Gap and Natural Bridge, the coastline’s parks and reserves are significant for the local tourism industry and the wider community.

Mr Dawson also indicated the importance of maintaining the cultural and historical significance of the region through the plan.

“Many heritage sites are loca-ted on parks and reserves,” he said.

“The cultural heritage of the area is important to Noongar people and the people of Albany and Western Australia.

“The plan’s area includes key refuges for threatened animals including the critically endangered Gilbert’s potoroo as well as high plant species diversity and threatened flora and ecological communities.”

The draft plan was released in 2016 and received 27 submissions, which were incorporated into the final document.

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