7. Opportunities for public appreciation, enjoyment and involvement
The NSW park system includes a number of defining features that set it apart from other Australian states and territories. It encompasses a wealth of natural, cultural and social values and boasts some of the most spectacular scenery Australia has to offer. Within the park system are large areas listed as World Heritage; ancient cave systems; rugged and remote wilderness areas; popular regional parks; beaches; aquatic reserves and alpine areas.
Supporting opportunities for public appreciation, enjoyment and involvement of these areas is a core principal in the development of the system. Most people agree it is important to have parks and in the Who cares about the environment in 2009?, 66 per cent of respondents had recently visited a NSW park. People value parks as sanctuaries, places of solitude and tranquillity, settings of natural beauty, places to discover and learn, and destinations for recreational activities.
The Gap Lookout, Sydney Harbour National Park
DECCW is a partner in the State Plan priority to encourage more people to use parks, sporting and recreational facilities, and participate in the arts and cultural activities. DECCW is working towards the target of increasing the number of visits to NSW protected areas by 20% by 2016. Through this increase, DECCW aims to enhance the connection between people and the environment and stimulate a better understanding of the benefits of conservation and protection.
In May 2008 a Taskforce on Tourism and National Parks in New South Wales was established and engaged to provide advice on practical methods to expedite the realisation of the NSW State Plan objectives. The taskforce was also engaged to report on opportunities for enhanced sustainable nature tourism on NSW public lands, particularly within national parks, marine parks and reserves. The taskforce was instructed that its proposals must be compatible with the conservation of the natural and cultural heritage values of those areas. The finalised report and the recommendations have been accepted by the NSW Government and puts the NSW park system at the centre of a campaign to make the state one of the world's best ecotourism destinations.
DECCW is also helping to deliver on the State Plan target through the continued implementation of Living Parks, which provides the framework for balancing conservation and sustainable use of parks. Other major programs include the Revitalising Sydney's National Parks Program.
NSW parks are increasingly being recognised as containing some of the most iconic tourism spots in Australia. In 2008, four NSW landscapes were identified in the National Landscapes program, an initiative of Tourism Australia and Parks Australia. The National Landscapes program aims to promote these outstanding areas according to the unique experience each has to offer. The National Landscapes either partly or wholly within NSW are:
DECCW has been recognised as playing an important role in supporting local tourism. Montague Island Tours, a partnership between DECCW, and Conservation Volunteers Australia, has operated since 2004. Since then, Montague Island Tours has won the ecotourism category in the 2007 and 2008 Australian Tourism Awards, as well the ecotourism category in the 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 NSW Tourism Awards. The program provides visitors with an opportunity to stay overnight in the refurbished lighthouse keeper's quarters, participate in conservation projects taking place on the island and contribute to the long term protection of the island's Little Penguin Colony.
DECCW is also committed to implementing the State Plan priority that focuses on increased participation and integration in community activities. To this end, DECCW is expanding its volunteer programs in recognition of the important contribution volunteering makes to building support for conservation and community wellbeing.
For more information on DECCW's approach to planning for and managing visitation to parks, as well how DECCW is engaging with the community, see:
Page last updated: 27 February 2011