West Australians can celebrate World Parks Day this Saturday (September 18) with free entry to the State's national parks.
Environment Minister Donna Faragher said World Parks Day focused on the theme of ‘Parks for Life' to highlight the role of parks in people's lives and encourage them to enjoy and appreciate their local green spaces.
"WA has an internationally recognised system of national parks, marine parks, marine reserves, nature reserves and conservation parks as well as State forests," she said.
"WA has some of the most diverse land and seascapes in the world when it comes to native plants and animals. For example, Stirling Range National Park and Fitzgerald River National Park each have more than 1,800 species of native plants which is greater than the number of native plants found in Great Britain."
Mrs Faragher said parks also provided tremendous opportunities for recreation, such as bushwalking and mountain bike riding as well as areas for relaxation and appreciation of the natural environment.
"Facilities such as the Tree Top Walk in Walpole-Nornalup National Park not only attract visitors to the parks, but also to other attractions in the surrounding region which is important for commercial tourism providers and local businesses," the Minister said.
"Our parks also provide venues for a range of programs run by the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) such as ‘Nearer to Nature ‘and the ‘Healthy Parks Healthy People' initiative that promotes connections between people and their natural environment.
"West Australians clearly are proud of their conservation areas which attract 15 million visits a year.
"This is one reason why the State Government is investing almost $25million this year in new and upgraded facilities to ensure visitors have a memorable experience when they visit these areas."
Saturday is the third annual World Parks Day, an initiative of the Parks for Life: International Urban Parks and Green Space Alliance, and is being supported by various national park agencies across Australia, including DEC in Western Australia.
For more information on world parks day, visit http://www.parksforlife.org