Though Kuitpo is still very much a working plantation, recreational use of forestry land has been a long-established tradition both in South Australia and overseas.
Kuitpo is ideal for walking, cycling, riding, picnicking and camping. It is also a habitat for native flora and fauna and is the ideal place for kangaroo spotting.
Camping and BBQs are not allowed during the fire danger season.
European settlement had a profound affect on vegetation in Battunga-Country. Forests were cleared so that crops could be planted and sheep and cattle could graze. Wood was also needed for building and for domestic use and by the early 1870s much native vegetation had been destroyed. In 1873 an Act of Parliament was passed encouraging the planting of forest trees and in 1875 a Forestry Board was set up to implement the protection and regeneration of native vegetation. This Board was also responsible for growing new forests to supply the needs of the Colony and trials were begun to find forest trees suited to our climate.
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Forest nurseries were developed at Bundaleer, Wirrabara and Mt Gambier and the first trial forest plantings took place in 1876 at Bundaleer. It was soon discovered that the Radiata pine from California was one of the fastest growing trees in areas with more than an annual rainfall of 600 millimetres.
The success of the Radiata pine led to more forests being planted in other areas including Kuitpo (1899), Mt Crawford (1909) and Second Valley (1912). By 1918 the Government had purchased 45,290 hectares of land for forestry use.
With financial aid from the British Government, plantations continued to expand during the 1920s and 1930s. Private forestry companies also commenced operations as timber growers and millers during this period.
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