(Image: Track_2: Community members and track rangers transport a log to Eora Creek as part of the bridge construction.)
In April, the Australian Government supported Kokoda Track communities to construct two river crossings along the Kokoda Track.
The crossings were at Emuni Creek near Manari village and Eora Creek adjacent to the campsite. The projects are a part of a regeneration and conservation program supported by the Kokoda Initiative, a partnership between the Papua New Guinea and Australian Government to protect the Kokoda Track and surrounding areas.
Rita Sori was one of the women who assisted with the works. She said the Kokoda Track is not only an important link for local people to move between villages and the two major towns of Popondetta and Port Moresby, but is also a major source of income through the trekking industry.
“We rely on the track for money. Our husbands and sons work as porters and guides for tourists coming in, so keeping the track safe is not only important to the trekkers, but to us as well. If the track is safe and open, it means more tourists can come in and provide more income for us,” Rita said.
Seven similar track regeneration and conservation projects were conducted and funded through the Kokoda Initiative partnership in March 2017. Upgrade activities include maintaining bridges, building steps and repairing safety fencing.
The Kokoda Initiative also provides vital education, health and water and sanitation services to local communities. In addition to service delivery, these activities directly inject funds into communities through paid employment opportunities.