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PARKS PRIME DRAWCARD
The Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service manages around 37% of the area of Tasmania. Tasmania has 19 national parks and over 420 other reserves which offer a variety of activities from easy short walks to challenging extended bushwalks, camping, cave tours and a chance to get up close and personal with native wildlife. The parks range from remote alpine areas to stretches of spectacular coastline, pockets of ancient rainforest to forests of dry eucalypt. Besides the many and varied recreational opportunities the reserves afford, many have been declared to protect rare or endangered species of plants and animals. All play a vital role in preserving and maintaining the stunning diversity of Tasmania's natural and cultural heritage.
Freycinet and Mt Field were the first national parks proclaimed in Tasmania in 1916. Despite the world being at war, the importance of preserving these areas for all time and for all people was seen as a priority. Six years later, in 1922, a scenic reserve and wildlife sanctuary was established between Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair. This showed incredible foresight, as today these sites remain iconic places in terms of annual visitation. In 2007-08 visitors to the 8 national parks for which there are reliable figures topped 714,000. Freycinet was the most visited park in the state with 207,225 visitors, followed by Cradle Mountain (177,040), Mt Field (115,490) and Lake St Clair (92,764).
Further information is available on the Parks and Wildlife Service website: http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/index.aspx?base=1
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