Dogs in the forest

When and why does my dog need to be on a lead?

Dogs on-lead zones exist to ensure visitors in busy areas such as campgrounds, picnic areas and trails can feel safe, happy and comfortable. In these zones, dogs must be on a lead no greater than 3 metres in length at all times.

Dogs can only ever be off a lead outside of these areas if they are under effective control – this means within sight at all times, close to you and under verbal control. Before deciding if your dog should exercise off-lead, you should consider if your dog listens to you and immediately obeys your voice commands. If you are not confident that your dog will respond and obey your voice or signals, you should keep your dog on a lead.

And remember, dogs are not permitted in any Native Forest Reserve.

In response to a steady increase in public complaints and dog attacks within forest reserves as a result of dogs off-lead, ForestrySA has introduced dogs on-lead zones within Mount Lofty Ranges Forest Reserves.

Often dog owners feel these rules are unnecessary because their dog is friendly and well trained … or small… or old. In fact, we’re sure “it’s okay, he’s friendly” are words every dog owner has heard, or perhaps yelled in haste as their own dog approaches other people.

The phrase is well intentioned – designed to reduce any worry the other person might feel about being approached by an unknown dog. But it misses one small and incredibly important concept – it’s not only about your dog’s temperament.

While we understand a dog owner’s frustration that their well-behaved dog can’t explore the forest to their heart’s content, it is important to remember we have an equal number of people who are unable to relax in our forests without fear of being approached by a dog.

Regardless of how sociable your dog is, or whether you’re in an off-lead or on-lead zone, it’s polite and respectful to ensure your off-lead dog doesn’t encroach on another visitor’s space unless invited. We ask that dog owners respect other visitors that are using our forests. Please call your dog away from other people or dogs on a lead (even in an off-lead zone).

We value all forest visitors and want to ensure everyone can feel safe and enjoy our reserves equally. Regardless of your dog’s temperament, we need your help to achieve this.


The forest is closed to the public on declared Total Fire Ban days. To report a fire, call 000.

For fire ban information phone 1800 362 361 or visit the CFS website. Being aware of a Total Fire Ban is your responsibility.

Fire is prohibited on ForestrySA land between November 1 and April 30 in any year. (These dates may be extended in areas where high fire danger persists).

To find out more about on-lead zones, please see our maps below.