The Kokoda Track Authority has advised of a plan to construct permanent swing bridges with cables and metal thread with constructed anchor points capable of taking up to 8 – 10 persons at Eora Creek Crossing, (Dump 1) Eora Creek, Efogi River (between Naduri and Efogi 2), Elomi Creek (between Efogi 1 and Efogi 2), Ofi Creek and Goldie River.
I do not know where these ‘plans’ are coming from but I do know they are being done without any consultation at all with the paying customer i.e. the trekker.
The research we have conducted with a significant number of people who have trekked with Adventure Kokoda over the past 18 years indicates that they want the track left alone. They want to trek in the footsteps of our diggers as they did it. They do not want boardwalks and bridges.
The construction of bridges at Eora Creek will desecrate one of the most significant battlesites along the Kokoda Trail. It must not be allowed to proceed in the vicinity of the battlesite. If a bridge has to be constructed because of the wish of some bureaucratic zealot it should be located at least 500 metres to the east of the current wartime crossing. It would be a relatively easy task to cut a track to a suitable crossing downstream from the battlesite to allow locals to use it if they wish.
The same principle should apply to the Goldie River, Ofi Creek and Dump 1 Crossing (I have not heard this name before but I assume they are talking about Templeton’s Crossing No 1), i.e. any permanent swing bridges should not be constructed any closer that 500 metres to the wartime track.
It beggars belief that we would want to replace the substantial log bridge that the local people have built between Efogi 2 and Naduri with a permanent swing bridge paid for by the Australian taxpayer. The crossing is not on the wartime track so it is not an issue as far as the protection of our military heritage is concerned – but it is an absolute waste of time, money and effort.
The same applies to the proposed bridge across Elome Creek between Efogi 1 and 2.
The plan for the proposed permanent swing bridges is ill-conceived and should be halted until a proper interpretative memorial plan aimed at protecting the military heritage of the Kokoda Trail is commissioned.