Kokoda: The enemy within!

A 1400% increase in the number of Australians trekking Kokoda after the opening of the Isurava Memorial in 2002 would normally be hailed an outstanding result for PNG tourism, and our shared wartime heritage. But, for Canberra based envirocrats lurking in the corridors of power within Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA), it had all the hallmarks of an environmental armageddon!

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The Kokoda Trail: Chronology of Mismanagement: 2009-2019

FAST FACTS | 1992: Fewer than 100 Australians trekked Kokoda prior to 1992 – no income was generated for local subsistence villagers. 2008: 5621 Australians trekked Kokoda – generating approximately $3 million (K7.8 million) directly into village economies (wages, campsite fees, village purchases). 2009: DFAT-Environment assumed control of the Kokoda Trail. Trekker numbers have since declined by 42% to 3300 resulting in a direct annual loss of $1.2 million (K3.1 million) for village communities across the Trail.

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Owers Corner: Neglected Gateway to the Kokoda Trail

‘At the foot of the Owen Stanley Ranges in Papua New Guinea you can look into the ancient landscape – majestic peaceful wilderness, nature in its full glory. There have been tracks across the mountains for thousands of years – the people who inhabit the region were gardening at the same time agriculture was developing in Ancient Egypt. The strength of natural and cultural heritage is beyond simple words; fascinating, awesome, daunting – world class.

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Kokoda: A bridge too far!

The imminent replacement of traditional bridges with prefabricated structures is a lose-lose situation for trekkers who will be cheated of an authentic trekking experience; for subsistence villagers who will be cheated of an income earning opportunity; and for our shared military heritage which will be desecrated.

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The Kokoda Trail: Environment Vs Tourism

Prior to the 50th anniversary of the Kokoda campaign in 1992 tourists rarely trekked across the Kokoda Trail. An Anzac trek led by Major Charlie Lynn on the 50th anniversary of the Kokoda campaign reawakened Australia’s interest and generated some rare positive publicity for Papua New Guinea. Over the next few years Charlie’s Kokoda treks featured positive stories in every major television and media network throughout Australia – this led to a surge in interest in trekking across the Trail.

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