Queensland Rangers to help Kokoda Track Rangers
BY: Loop Author
Over recent weeks, Kokoda Track Authority (KTA) rangers have hosted rangers from the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) to conduct regeneration and conservation activities at Efogi on the Kokoda Track.
This is the first of a series of projects where Queensland rangers will join with KTA rangers and local communities in a capacity-building arrangement.
Rangers and communities will share and apply knowledge and skills to protect the fabric of this historic place and make the Kokoda Track safer for trekkers and local people who use it every day.
The partnership, which also commemorates the 75th anniversary of the WWII Kokoda Campaign, was signed on March 2, 2017 in Brisbane by Environment Minister John Pundari, Tourism Minister Tobias Kulang and Queensland Environment Minister Steven Miles.
At the signing ceremony, Minister Kulang said that Kokoda was a special place to Australia and Papua New Guinea. Minister Pundari said the work would not be easy but would be very rewarding. It has proved to be very rewarding indeed.
QPWS Ranger Dave Fuller said it was an honour to learn local land management techniques from KTA rangers and members of the community directly.
While acknowledging the many challenges, Fuller said it was encouraging to see just how good the track condition was around Efogi.
“It is amazing just how good the track condition is considering the track is greater than 75 years old and hosts thousands of trekkers and porters along it during the wetter part of the year. The erosion levels are similar to what I have experienced in Australia but without the intense use for that time of year.”
QPWS Ranger Carol Kinnaird, who works with Indigenous land managers and rangers in Queensland, said there were many similarities between the way PNG landowners and Indigenous Australians looked after their land sustainably.
“Apart from the very high mountains, the conditions on the Kokoda Track are very similar to the rainforest conditions in North Queensland, and the local traditional landowners in both places have very similar approaches when it comes to looking after their country,” she said.
At a reception to honour the new partnership, Australian High Commissioner Bruce Davis said the program represented another brick in the wall of the comprehensive and dynamic relationship between Australia and Papua New Guinea.
Kokoda Track Authority CEO James Enage echoed the sentiment, reflecting on the value of the ongoing partnership between Australia and the KTA to work to ensure the Kokoda Track is well managed and safe for trekkers and local communities.
The ranger partnership is part of the Kokoda Initiative, a PNG-led arrangement between both countries to protect the unique natural, cultural and historic values of the Kokoda Track region.
Picture: KTA ranger Donald and QPWS ranger Alex repairing rock steps. Picture by Australian High Commission Public Affairs.