The Francois Peron National Park at Shark Bay has become Western Australia's 61st national park.
Gascoyne Minister Tom Stephens said today State Parliament had approved the creation of the park, located at the northern end of the Peron Peninsula.
"The park is the ninth created since 1983 and is an excellent example of the State Government's commitment to conservation and the environment," Mr Stephens said.
"The park will protect rare wildlife, spectacular coastal scenery and arid shrublands.
"A rare bird, the thick-billed grasswren, is restricted to a small area that includes the park.
"The area is also the home of a diverse range of reptiles, and its undulating, sandy plains are covered in flora such as the Shark Bay daisy and Dampiera, a blue flowering plant."
Mr Stephens said the park's south-western boundary was only a few minutes' drive from Denham. It was becoming increasingly popular with visitors, making it important that it was managed properly.
The park was named after the French naturalist Francois Peron, who visited Shark Bay with the `Geographe' expedition in 1801 and 1803.
It was planned to reintroduce a variety of endangered mammal species into the park. Because the Peron Peninsula was almost an island, connected to the mainland at the narrow Tailefer Isthmus, it would be sealed with a vermin-proof fence and baited to reduce fox and rabbit numbers.
"The environmental values of Shark Bay are already well-known and have resulted in the region being included in the World Heritage List," Mr Stephens said.
"The area covered by the park was operated as a pastoral lease from the late 1880s until its purchase by the State Government in 1990, because of its outstanding conservation values."