Plenty about popular park

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The national park’s visitor services manager Julia Coggins was the guest speaker at the last Two Rocks Yanchep Residents Association meeting, and explained how the Department of Parks and Wildlife now managed the park, after structural changes to the former Department of Environment and Conservation.

At the July 22 meeting, Ms Coggins told TRYRA members the park covered 3000ha, although only 10ha was the highly modified recreational area where most of their visitation occurred.

She said the park had more than 270,000 visitors a year, with 33 per cent of those locals, another 40 per cent domestic and the remaining 27 per cent international visitors.

‘There are 33 staff at the park, including eight operations crew, three rangers, five management or administration employees, 12 casual employees, five on permanent part-time contracts and one recent addition, a MATES (Mentored Aboriginal Training and Employment Scheme) trainee,’ she said.

Ms Coggins said the park had cultural significance through its historical European buildings since the 1830s as well as Aboriginal heritage, with the latter ties dating back 40,000 years.

She said Aborginal artefacts had been found in the area, and highlighted the symbolism of the rainbow serpent, the Waugal, which is said to inhabit Loch McNess.

Ms Coggins said volunteers had contributed 7300 hours to the national park in 2010-11, and many found employment opportunities through volunteering, with 28 volunteers later employed since 2005.

‘Our volunteer program is of huge importance to us ” we have more than 90 volunteers on our books,’ she said.

She told residents the national park faced threats such as climate change, wild fire and urban pressures, with the City of Wanneroo’s population expected to increase by 95 per cent over the next two decades. ‘A lot of planning has to go into trying to reduce or minimise the pressures that we are going to have on our water supplies and those sorts of things,’ Ms Coggins said.

‘We base out projects on the management plan that was launched about this time last year, August.

After the talk, TRYRA president Peter Wimsett said the residents’ group regularly discussed issues related to the national park. ‘The park is very close to our hearts,’ he said.

‘One of the things that we have tried to do is get the bus service back to the park.