Wayne Penn

NPA wants 'harmful' plans parked

PLANS to develop eco-tourism opportunities in areas like Coffs Coast State Park have been slammed by environmentalists, with one group claiming residents need to 'speak up today or our parks will pay'.

The National Parks Association (NPA) is calling on people to lobby the government to prevent the adoption of recommendations made in a report by the Taskforce on Tourism and National Parks - recommendations they claim are 'the greatest threat to the integrity of national parks in 40 years'.

“Weaker national park protection laws are being developed to encourage the spread of damaging private cabins, lodges and 'eco-resorts' in our national parks,” a spokesperson for the NPA said. “Environment groups want a stronger nature tourism industry and more people enjoying our parks, which can be achieved without park development.”

The report in question, which was released in December, highlights a mixed bag of opportunities for boosting tourism in national parks across the State, including identifying Coffs Harbour as an area with strong potential for the 'development of new or enhanced nature tourism products'.

On a recent trip to Coffs Harbour, NSW Minister for Tourism Jodi McKay said the North Coast was 'blessed' with natural attractions, including more than 50 national parks and wilderness areas, some of which are among the world's largest expanses of subtropical rainforest.

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