Kokoda Track to be maintained
The Kokoda Track Authority (KTA) and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) have renewed their commitment to ensure the 96-kilometre Kokoda Track is accessible and safe for both villagers and trekkers.
The agreement between the PNG and Queensland government is part of an extended memorandum of understanding to increase cooperation in tourism, environment and conservation.
Acting KTA CEO Julius Wargirai said the partnership was initiated in 2017 to share skills and experiences between Papua New Guinean and Australian rangers.
“PNG and Australia share many common challenges in conserving and managing protected areas and forests, while also balancing the needs of tourists and local people,” Wargirai said.
Two experienced QPWS staff commenced work with the KTA last month to maintain and repair the Track in readiness for the 2020 trekking season from April to November.
They will work with KTA to strengthen systems and processes to support tourism management, redesign the ranger structure and assess field operations.
QPWS will also design a training program tailored to the Kokoda-context and the specific needs of KTA rangers.
Earlier this year, Wargirai inspected a number of washed away bridge crossings with David Fuller from QPWS and representatives from the Australian government-supported Kokoda Initiative.
Wargirai said the assessment found significant impacts to Track conditions following the wet season.
“The Kokoda Track is PNG’s top tourist attraction, but each year the wet season causes damage, with trees down, grass over-grown and footbridges washed away,” he stated.
“KTA rangers will work with Queensland National Parks rangers to complete repair work before the trekking season begins.”
Fuller said the QPWS is excited to continue its partnership with the KTA to strengthen tourism and trekking, and to protect the natural and cultural values of the Kokoda Track region.