Nineteen rangers who have recently completed the inaugural Ranger Capacity Development Project are ready to strengthen the Kokoda Track Authority’s (KTA) management of the iconic Kokoda Track.
The rangers completed five months of basic training including Conservation and Ecosystems management skills to equip them to better manage the Track and its unique surrounds.
The KTA Ranger Capacity Development Project (RCDP) is supported by the Australian Government through the Kokoda Initiative, part of the PNGAustralia Partnership.
KTA Acting Chief Executive Officer Julius Wargirai congratulated the rangers at the ceremony and acknowledged their commitment through the intensive training program.
“This is an important milestone. This is the first ever training provided to KTA rangers to conserve and maintain the Track, support the tourism and trekking industry, protect the natural environment, and maintain sites of
military significance,” said Julius.
“Through this ranger training program KTA, for the first time, has engaged four women as rangers on the Kokoda Track”, he added.
“The Kokoda Track is one of Papua New Guinea’s most important tourism assets. The better trained our rangers are, the better and safer the Kokoda Track will be for both international and domestic trekkers to visit,” added
A select number of graduates will progress to an advanced curriculum in 2022 to enable the KTA to take on more responsibilities to protect the environment, tourism and heritage resources in partnership with Kokoda Initiative agencies including CEPA, the NMAG and the TPA and Oro and Central Provincial Governments.
This will see advanced graduates awarded with an internationally recognised Certificate in Conservation and Ecosystems Management.
In attendance during the graduation were the Australian High Commissioner Jon Philp, Northern Province Governor, Hon. Gary Juffa MP, Minister for Tourism Arts and Culture, Hon. Isi Henry Leonard MP and other guests.
High Commissioner Philp congratulated the rangers for completing the training program and acknowledged the resilience of the of men and women rangers.
“The Kokoda Track is an important symbol of the enduring partnership between PNG and Australia, and an important driver of people-to-people links,” the High Commissioner said.
“This ranger capacity training program will strengthen what the KTA is doing to ensure the track is safe and well managed for everyone.
“Australia is very pleased to support the PNG Government and local communities in their management of the Kokoda Track and the surrounding region,” he added
“The addition of more rangers, including women rangers, to the KTA team will make the Kokoda Track an even more attractive tourist destination when international travel can resume.”