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New national park for the north Kimberley
Western Australian Environment Minister Albert Jacob has this week signed an agreement for a new national park in the Kimberley.
The agreement with the Wilinggin traditional owners will create the new 740,000 hectare Wilinggin National Park between the King Leopold Ranges and the Mitchell River.
The new National Park will be part of the Kimberley National Park, which is set to become Australia's biggest national park at around two million hectares.
Created as part of the Kimberley Science and Conservation Strategy, the park soon is being established in partnership with the traditional owners, with Wilinggin people to be employed as park rangers and set to take an active role in its management.
Announcing the new Indigenous Land Use Agreement, Minister Jacob stated “these remote landscapes contain ancient rock art sites, stone arrangements, burial sites, ceremonial sites and important mythological areas immensely significant to the Wilinggin traditional owners, who have continuing connections to their country.
"The Wilinggin National Park will be jointly vested and managed with Wilinggin traditional owners, and adjoins the soon to be renamed northern portion of the King Leopold Range Conservation Park, which will become known as the Wilinggin Conservation Park.
"Wilinggin people will be employed as park rangers and take an active role in park management through a joint management body."
The new park, which will protect the area's exceptional cultural and biodiversity values, will have visitor facilities including campground and day-use sites for tourists experiencing the rugged and spectacular Kimberley.
The renaming of the King Leopold Ranges is part of a global move to remove the name of Belgium’s King Leopold II, from landmarks and places.
The ranges, about 135 kilmoetres east of Derby, were named after the Belgian monarch by explorer Alexander Forrest because of “the great interest taken by His Majesty in exploration”.
However, during his reign over what is now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo, King Leopold II is believed to have been responsible for the death of more than 10 million people.
Images: The King Leopold Ranges, courtesy of Western Australia Department of Parks and Wildlife.
14th October 2016 - HUGE KIMBERLEY BUSHFIRE THREATENS KEY WESTERN AUSTRALIAN WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
21st January 2016 - COMMENTS CLOSE ON HORIZONTAL FALLS MARINE PARK PLAN PROPOSAL
16th June 2014 - $40 MILLION UPGRADE TO FITZGERALD RIVER NATIONAL PARK
23rd April 2012 - NEW MARINE PARK TO PROTECT KIMBERLEY COAST
2nd October 2010 - $20 MILLION BOOST FOR CONSERVATION AND NATURE-BASED TOURISM IN WA
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