THE John Forrest National Park has always been a popular location, but it is many years since any major improvements have taken place.
To help visitors continue to experience and enjoy the park, the state government has committed $6.3 million in the 2023-24 state budget to improve the park, on top of the $8.4m it allocated in 2021 to upgrade facilities.
An additional $2.5m has also been given as part of the WA recovery plan initiative to upgrade and develop new trails within the park.
Kalamunda MLA Matthew Hughes said the new improvements would help revitalise and diversify the activities available, as well as making the park more accessible to a broader range of visitors and allowing more people to enjoy the natural beauty.
“John Forrest National Park is a major drawcard with more than 130,000 visits every year,” he said.
“These upgrades and improved facilities will enhance the recreational opportunities available right on our doorstep.
“The day use area will be the perfect spot for a picnic or barbeque, that the entire community can enjoy.
“The new access road will provide easy access to the trails and facilities within the national park for both locals and visitors alike.”
The planned upgrades include a new park hub with a café and interpretation space, improvements to existing picnic areas, gardens, carparking, and improved walking and new off-road cycling trails.
There will also be a new amenities plaza, which will be built as part of the entry road contract and will include toilets, drink fountains and bike racks.
The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) is delivering the project and has engaged with park users, key stakeholders and Aboriginal traditional owners over several years to inform the vision and planning of the park improvements.
Work on the new picnic area east of the park hub is already underway along with the new day use area, which will include accessible picnic and barbecue facilities, landscaped gardens and pathways that will eventually lead to a new café and function space.
The project is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
A $1.1m access road will also be built providing elevated views for visitors and connect to a new parking area nestled within the natural landscape.
Work on the 730m stretch of road is due to start within weeks.
Environment Minister Reece Whitby said the West Ridge carpark would be the next component of the project to get underway.
“Scenic Drive will be closed to visitors from August with park entry via the main Park Road entrance for the duration of construction,” he said.