Celebrating national parks

INTO NATURE: Sharon and Joe Guastella from Beaconsfield exploring the Grampians and Wimmera. Picture: OLIVIA PAGEPARKS Victoria will celebrate the Wimmera’s stunning natural sights and is encouraging residents to get out and active in nature this Parks Week.

Parks Week runs from March 4 to 12 and celebrates the vital role of parks in keeping communities and the natural environment healthy.

Parks Victoria said it was the the perfect reminder to take a break and get into a park this autumn.

Parks Victoria chief conservation scientist Mark Normansaid western Victoria had some of the most beautiful parks in the world, from the Little Desert National Park and Grampians National Park in the west, to the famous coastal parks and rainforests of the south and south-west.

Mr Norman said residents could escapeduring Parks Week and soak up nature.

“Victoria’s amazing national parks, reserves and sanctuaries are protected as the best examples of the state’s natural and cultural heritage – its spectacular wildlife, plants, wild places and scenery,” he said.

“We are blessed with such a huge diversity, from deserts with bearded dragons and red kangaroos, to alps with pygmy possums and snow gums.

“We have dense ancient rainforests that are home to lyrebirds, kelp forests and seagrass meadows, and iconic much-loved places including Wilsons Promontory, the Otways and the Grampians. Seventy per cent of our beaches and coastlines are also in our parks.”

Mr Norman said more than 100 million visits were made to Parks Victoria sites each year.

“This includes, national, state and metropolitan parks, piers, jetties and marine national parks and sanctuaries. Their value and draw power is obvious in the steady increase in the numbers of people visiting parks over the past decade,” he said.

“And don’t forget that our parks and their ecosystems also work for us.

“Our parks giveus clean, filtered air and water, helpus regulate the climate and bringcritical tourism dollars to our cities, towns and regions.”

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