Villagers give Kokoda a lift to boost tourism

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By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK
KOKODA Track Authority interim chief executive Julius Wargirai says they are now fully engaged with villagers along the track to develop tourism.
Wargirai said yesterday that they had engaged landowners to take ownership to maintain the 96km track.
“The landowners have cut and removed trees and other debris that had fallen and blocked the track due to recent heavy rain and flooding,” he said.
“They have also rebuilt bridges that were damaged or swept away by the floods. So far, about 50 tourists have walked the track since last month, although the trekking season officially starts this month.
“We are now directly engaged with landowners to carry out maintenance on the track.
“We have also repaired the communication radio network for the villagers to effectively communicate with each other to create awareness amongst themselves.
“The villagers can also use the radio to call the health, education, Central/Northern provincial disaster offices or other government agencies to raise their concerns on issues affecting them.”
Wargirai said that they fixed the radio system after the repeater tower went off.
“We have also installed two channels to manage the communication. Villagers use one channel to communicate with each other, and on the other channel, we can communicate with our rangers along the track.
“We also have conducted awareness with the police for the villagers to take ownership of law and order issues along the track.
“The awareness also includes domestic violence and reporting of suspicious movement of people along the track from Owers’ Corner, in Central, to Kokoda station, in Northern.”

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