Why is the bush area of Samson Park proposed as a dog prohibited area?
Sir Frederick Samson Park is the only remnant open woodland in the City of Fremantle. It has marri, jarrah and tuart trees and is a declared 'bush forever' site. Our primary objective in the management of Samson Park is to encourage growth and regeneration of indigenous flora and ensure recreation activities in the park are compatible with conserving the bush area.
Off-leash dog use in the bushland impacts the vegetation and its conservation value. Dogs off-leash can wander off the trail and disturb the soil profile, which makes it difficult for native plant species to establish and grow. Disturbed soil also makes the soil unsuitable for microflora to exist, which is essential for some native species to establish and survive. Dogs can also distribute seeds in their foot pads and fur, adding weeds to the bushland.
The condition of the bushland next to the walking trails is concerning. It is the area of greatest weed density and native plant mortality.
The image below shows a clump of grass trees adjacent to a walking trail – the walking trail is in the far left of the image, note the trail also going around the grass trees and the expanse of disturbed soil in the foreground.
Here's a closer look at the right hand side showing the worn track in greater detail.
This is the other side of the clump of grass trees showing the same worn track.
This is characteristic of dogs tracking through the same place, several times and the bushland being repeatedly trampled. The grass tree clump is now isolated from the rest of the bushland with the ground below it being continually disturbed making it susceptible to weeds and difficult for natives to recruit. There is also not enough microflora for a healthy soil profile to support orchids or other seasonal wildflowers. If this situation continues, the track will widen and the health of the grass trees will decline.
Where will I be able to let my dog off leash in Samson Park under the proposed change to the policy?
The draft policy proposes to ban dogs from the bush land, as shown in the map below. Dogs may still be exercised off leash in the central grassed area, The reason for this change is due to concerns about the impact on wildlife and vegetation, as a result of dogs walking through the conservation area.