AUSTRALIA and Japan have been urged to help develop the Black Cat trail, a wartime track in Morobe province, as a tourist attraction.
The Skin Diwai Black Cat Trail association was formed to promote the 61km track from Salamaua to Wau.
It said yesterday that it had been assisted by the Department of Culture and Tourism with a K70,000 grant to the Morobe Tourism Bureau.
The bureau had assisted and set up the association and promoted the trail.
Association executives Samtu Kwaisap, Mathew Buimal, Dick Reuben and chairman Ninga Yawa, said they would want the Black Cat trail promoted by tourism promoters.
They said the tour operators would have to seek approval from the association first.
It takes five days to trek from Kaisenik village in the mountains of Wau to the coast at Kamiatam village in Salamaua.
They said it deserves as much recognition as the Kokoda Track.
The difference, they claimed, was that, Black Cat was far tougher than Kokoda.
They said besides the World War II significance, the trail was used by men and mule to cart gold to Salamaua from Edie Creek in Wau.
Mr Yawa, who was from Kaisenik village, said Australia should be taking more interest.
Not only did its men used it during the war, “they used it after to take gold out”.
“Gold from Wau was dug out and taken away without giving in return,” he said.
Mr Yawa said they would be taking a tough stand against exploration activities to preserve the environment.
In a stand akin to the one in Kokoda, Mr Yawa said “there will not be any mining activities” along or near this trail.
“We will never encourage it.”