New rules for dogs at Samson Park

Fremantle Council has approved an amendment to the City of Fremantle’s Dog Exercise and Prohibited Areas policy which will require dogs to be leashed when walking through the bush at Sir Frederick Samson Park.

Samson Park is a rare piece of suburban bushland that features the City’s last remnants of jarrah, marri and tuart woodland and provides important wildlife habitat.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said the council acknowledged the park was a popular dog walking area, but they also had a responsibility to protect the bush.

“Samson Park is a Bush Forever site that’s protected under state government planning policies,” Mayor Pettitt said.

“A proposal to completely ban dogs from the bush was rejected by the council earlier this year because we felt it was too restrictive for people who enjoy walking through the bush with their dogs.

“We feel a change that still allows dogs to be off-leash in the central grassed area of the park but on-leash in the bush is a good compromise that maintains the social, health and community benefits for dog walkers while also limiting the disturbance of the bush.”

City officers have been regularly monitoring the condition of the bushland and updating the Samson Park Management Plan.

Observations have included the widening and proliferation of tracks through the bush, a decline in soil condition and native plant numbers and an increase in weed species on the edge of tracks.

The presence of dogs in the bush can also have an impact on native fauna, with the most vulnerable being ground-nesting birds and those that nest and or feed low to the ground.

Earlier this year Samson Park was nominated in the federal government’s current assessment of Tuart Woodlands of the Swan Coastal Plain for listing as a threatened ecological community.

In addition to the change to the dog policy, other steps being taken to protect the bush include the formalisation of tracks, new fencing and information signage and an ongoing vegetation survey to monitor the health of the bush.

The change requiring dogs to be on a leash in the bush will come into effect on 1 December.