Visitor demand and impact factors
Laratinga is proving to be an important place for the community, providing avenues for recreation and interaction with the wetland environment. Endless opportunities exist for environmental education. To provide a place where learning and information exchange can take place an interpretive centre owned collectively by Council, State Government, key stake holders and the community will be constructed in the future.
Accessing places of interest
The linear trail connects Laratinga with the Mount Barker CBD and Keith Stephenson Park, together with three designated trails around Laratinga. Fondly named after Laratinga’s resident birds, the Chestnut Teal, Sacred Ibis and Rosella trails offer different views from varying aspects of the wetland. Short sections of boardwalks included in these trails take the user over reed beds, water bodies and other places of interest. The trail distances and approximate walking times are listed on signage positioned at both the Bald Hills Rd and Springs Road/Martindale estate entrances. These paths are designed to accommodate bike and foot traffic only.
Special needs of users
A picnic area has been developed adjacent to basin three, providing barbecues, picnic tables, benches and shelters and toilet facilities. There is plenty of seating provided around the wetlands at approximately 300 metre intervals, to cater for the elderly and young. A large car park has been developed on Bald Hills Road close to the picnic area in the recreation area.
Avoidance of sensitive areas
Screening has been used to limit access to protected areas. Screen plantings of tall rounded shrubs have been used to direct foot traffic around sensitive areas. Species such as Kangaroo thorn (Acacia paradoxa) will be used to prevent public access and intrusion to sensitive wetland edges. Paths and boardwalks will minimise the amount of damage caused by foot traffic.
Appropriately placed signage
There is signage at the Bald Hills Rd and Springs Road/Martindale estate entrances depicting a map of the wetlands with marked trails and a brief description of the wetland and how it came to be. Other interpretive signage is appropriately placed around the wetland to give the user an insight into the wetland environment and how Laratinga really works.
Access for the disabled
The pathways around the wetlands are constructed to disabled access specifications. Pathways are constructed from compacted dolomite to cater for the disabled.
Keep dogs on leads
When in the wetlands please keep dogs on a lead and stay within designated areas as this keeps our wildlife safe and allows young plants to grow.
The Barka Park is a great enclosed area where you can exercise your dog. The park can be accessed from Zanker Drive (car and pedestrian access) and Bluestone Drive (pedestrian access) near the new Bluestone Estate in Mount Barker and features two shelters and seating, doggy bag dispensers, purpose built drinking fountains, a designated car park, dog exercise equipment, park furniture and paths. For more information see the Barka Park page.
Ducks and water birds
Please enjoy watching the ducks and water birds. There are paths, look out points and seating to take advantage of. Please allow these animals to forage for their own food naturally as it is now known that feeding wildlife can be harmful to them.
Bread is unhealthy for birds as it can cause poor nutrition and even make them sick. Feeding birds also encourages unnatural and aggressive behaviour, and favours non-native species. Over time it may also contribute to overpopulation and water quality problems. Although there are other foods such as pellets, peas and grapes which they can eat, ducks can live longer and healthier lives by eating aquatic plants, seeds, grasses and insects found naturally.
For more information on why it’s important to allow wildlife to find their own food, visit the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources ‘Feeding Wildlife’ webpage.
Beware of snakes
Please be aware that snakes can be present within the wetlands and for safety reasons please keep to the designated walking paths. It is important to remain particularly cautious during the summer months when snake activity is at its highest.
Fishing in the wetlands is not permitted. The wetland is a stormwater and recycled water treatment facility and consuming its fish may harm people’s health. Pest species are removed by Council to minimise habitat disturbance.