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Southwest National Park

4.6
Beaches
The Southwest National Park is a 6182.67km2 national park located in the south-west of Tasmania, Australia. The park is Tasmania's largest and forms part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.The eastern boundary is 93km west of Hobart and the park stretches to the west and south coasts. This park comprises the bulk of Tasmania's South West Wilderness.The park is well known for its pristine wilderness and remoteness. Weather in the park is highly changeable, and can be severe. The area is largely unaffected by humans. Although evidence shows Tasmanian Aborigines have visited the area for at least 25,000 years, and European settlers have made occasional forays into the park area since the 19th century, there has been very little permanent habitation and only minimal impact on the natural environment. Within the area there is only one road, to the hydroelectricity township of Strathgordon. The southern and western reaches of the park are far removed from any vehicular access. The only access is by foot, boat, or light aircraft.The tiny locality of Melaleuca in the extreme south-west provides an airstrip and some very basic facilities, mainly to service the National Park Service.HistoryThe core of the park was created in 1955 and was originally called Lake Pedder National Park. Over the following 35 years the park was gradually extended and renamed, finally reaching its present size in 1990. The Southwest National Park was a biosphere reserve under the United Nations Biosphere Program from 1977 until its withdrawal from the program in 2002. Its designation as a biosphere reserve was due to the important world heritage values and human use values it contained. Some of these values included being a key breeding zone for the endangered Orange-Bellied Parrot, remnants of Aboriginal occupation and other historic heritage sites such as the Melaleuca - Port Davey Area Plan (Tasmania Parks and Wildlife 2003, p 2). This was followed by a World Heritage listing in 1982 which was then expanded finally to its current size. thumb
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