NSW nationals parks to get funding boost

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An extra $91.5 million from the NSW COVID recovery fund has been set aside to boost eco-tourism in the state's nationals parks.

"Shovel-ready projects" across the state - which include new walking trails and improvements to existing facilities - will be brought forward thanks to the funding.

Even before the pandemic, national parks were a huge part of the state's economy, Treasurer and Environment Minister Matt Kean says.

There were more than 60 million visits to them a year, generating $18 billion in economic activity and supporting over 74,000 jobs.

But since the pandemic, visitation levels have skyrocketed further.

"(This highlights) the role parks play in supporting the physical and mental health of the community. Put simply - national parks are good for the soul," Mr Kean said in a statement on Saturday.

"From western Sydney to the far west of NSW, families are flocking to national parks and we want to make sure facilities are up to scratch and able to meet this increased need."

Among the projects funded are an upgrade to the elevated rainforest boardwalk in Budderoo National Park in the Illawarra, improvements to road access to the Royal National Park and $600,000 for enhancements to the mountain bike track network at Glenrock State Conservation Area near Newcastle.

Some $6 million has been set aside for improved visitor facilities in Georges River National Park and Guy Fawkes River National Park, and $795,000 to build short stay accommodation at Kinchega and Paroo Darling national parks in the far west.

It comes as a new state-of-the-art helicopter promised in response to the NSW inquiry into the black summer bushfires joined the National Parks fleet.

The new Airbus H125 helicopter - worth $5.6 million - has specialised operational and safety equipment, and will be used to fight bushfires and manage hazard reduction burns.

It can also be used for pest management, baiting and weed spraying, wildlife surveys and observation and construction work, Mr Kean said.

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