The Cotter Dam Discovery Trail
Get yourself a front row seat to watch construction on the Enlarged Cotter Dam with a visit to the Cotter Dam Discovery Trail. Developed in response to feedback received from the community, the attraction includes a 1.4km loop trail which leads you along the Cotter River and through the surrounding natural environment. The trail is lined with stories of Canberra's water history and features a 16-meatre wide, amphitheatre style viewing platform which provides direct views of the Cotter Dam construction works.Please note, no dogs are allowed at Cotter Avenue or the Cotter Dam Discovery Trail.
Where is the Cotter Dam Discovery Trail located?
The Cotter Dam Discovery Trail runs along the hillside adjacent to Cotter Avenue, near Cotter Road. A walk along the river will commence near the new car park, opposite Cotter Avenue (the old Cotter Pub site) and continues along the Cotter River for 1.4 kilometres towards the viewing platform. The viewing platform is situated above the heritage listed Cotter Trout Hatchery and approximately 350 metres southeast of the new dam site. Standing on the platform you will be approximately the same height as the half-way mark on the 80 metre high enlarged Cotter Dam when it is complete.
What will I see?
The Cotter Dam enlargement is the largest construction project currently underway in the ACT and covers a large block of land surrounding the existing and new dam sites. ACTEW is enlarged the Cotter Dam from 4 gigalitres (GL) to 78GL as part of its water security strategy. The new dam will be approximately 80 metres high or the same height as a 26-storey building and requires approximately 400,000 cubic metres of concrete. It is rare for a dam to be built in such close proximity to a capital city and the Cotter Dam Discovery Trail provides the ultimate view of the historic works. Depending on the timing of your visit you may see large works being undertaken to prepare the site for the dam foundations, or you may have the opportunity to watch as the first batch of concrete is laid. The Cotter Dam enlargement will be complete in 2012.
Recreation and Education
The Cotter is a key recreational area in the ACT with significance to many Canberrans. The Cotter Dam Discovery Trail will be a permanent feature for the community to enjoy during construction and after completion of the new dam. The trail is designed to integrate with the Cotter landscape while providing recreational, educational and heritage benefits through artistic and interpretive signage. We encourage all members of the community to visit the Cotter Dam Discovery Trail to witness history in the making as the new dam goes up and the old is inundated.
The Cotter Dam Discovery Trail also provides students with a rare opportunity to watch the new dam take shape. ACTEW’s Cotter Dam Education Kit encourages teachers and students to visit the Discovery Trail as they learn about the environmental, engineering, suitability and water supply aspects of the Cotter Dam enlargement, as well as the Indigenous and European heritage values of the area. The Education Kit has been distributed to ACT schools and is accessible by clicking here.