Murdoch University PhD student Anna Gstaettner researches Serpentine falls safety risk

Accidents at national parks are surprisingly common and the tragic drowning death of a young woman in Lane Poole Reserve recently is a timely reminder that they can pose a number of risks, says a local PhD student.

Mandurah resident and Murdoch University PhD student Anna Gstaettner is undertaking a research project that focuses on understanding how visitors and managers share responsibility for community safety in parks. 

The project is in collaboration with the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.

Ms Gstaettner’s current focus is on the Serpentine National Park and she is seeking views and opinions on visitor risk issues.

“Serpentine falls is a particularly interesting spot, as I can see visitor risk management in action right there and then,” she said.

“Usually the focus is on preventing people from injuring themselves on the rocks surrounding the pool, as the spot is associated with a high number of accidents.”

The falls were recently closed due to water quality issues following heavy rains, which Ms Gstaettner said, was an example management efforts to keep visitors safe.

Ms Gstaettner will continue her research journey and collect data from a variety of other state national parks during the year.

“I urge everyone to take all precautions when enjoying our beautiful nature,” she said.

“Accidents are tragic for everyone involved, and they really can – and do – happen.”

Ms Gstaettner said she was interested to receive feedback from the community on the topic.