Wandoo National Park, located 80 kilometres east of Perth, represents a mosaic of wandoo woodlands and low-lying seasonal wetlands across continuous and undisturbed landscapes. The diverse flora of the park includes many rare and restricted species and attracts visitors who come to enjoy the wildflowers, bushwalking, picnicking, observing wildlife and photography. It is also frequented by off-road vehicle drivers, some of whom are causing damage to the fragile ecosytems with their four-wheel drives.
Keen to retain use of the area, and acknowledging that the damage was being caused by a minority of users, Track Care WA Inc. developed a partnership with the Motor Trade Association of WA’s Four-Wheel Drive Industry Division Association and the department to find practical ways to minimise damage to the area in order to avoid the need to close the trails.
The cooperative identified that the area lacked signage that communicated the conservation values of the wetlands in the park. The consensus was that most four-wheel drivers wanted to do the right thing, but there was confusion among users about which track they could use. So, the team set about developing signs that explained the ecological values of the wetlands and indicated the boundaries where the environmentally sensitive areas occurred. It was hoped that the presence of signs, which carried industry logos as well as the department’s, would demonstrate that the claypans are being actively cared for and using them inappropriately would contravene management strategies.
In April 2016 a working bee was held to erect 12 signs at Deefor wetland – a particularly important site for Stylidium asymmetricum. In November 2016 a series of flora transects were established across the wetland to monitor if the flora, including the rare trigger plant could recover once vehicles were excluded from the wetland. Ten signs were also put up at Big Darkan wetland, which develops a deep bog hole in winter. This hole can be difficult to cross, so users have sought alternative routes and have caused damage to the surrounding wetland. There are also plans to erect information at the entry of this obstacle to ensure users are prepared for what they may encounter.