The Kokoda Trail is one of the fastest growing tourist attractions in Papua New Guinea. The number of people joining Kokoda trekking companies to hike the trail has increased immensely over the past few years. As more and more tackle this historic journey, it is important to understand the responsibilities involved in taking care of the environment while they are trekking.
Minimum impact trekking is a large component of most Kokoda trekking companies. This concept ensures that hikers stay toward the centre of the path at all times. This also involves staying on the path at all times and avoiding creating any shortcuts. Also try to avoid pulling on any vines or branches unnecessarily while on the Kokoda Trail, as they are essential elements to the environment’s growth and life. Some groups may travel with as many as 100 people, which can have a huge impact on the environment as well as the local villages if the trekkers do not maintain their campsites and rubbish disposal.
In dealing with rubbish, Papua New Guinea tourism states that Kokoda trekkers should carry rubbish bags whilst on the trail and carry their garbage with them until they finish their trek. They also urge that trekkers do not burn or bury their rubbish because this rubbish still takes many years to decompose afterwards.
There are usually pit toilets built in the villages along the trail, but if you need to wash up while on the Trail it is asked that you walk 100 metres away from the closest water source in order to prevent any of the soap or cleaning supplies from reaching the streams and harming any of the animals or plants who use the stream as a water supply. In order to prevent the spread of any illness it is asked that trekkers dig a 15-30cm pit and then fill it with dirt when going to the bathroom.
Make sure that you have all the proper documentation needed for the trek including your Trek Permit which is obtained from the Kokoda Track Authority. Also be sure to choose a commercial licensed operator who is knowledgeable of the Kokoda Trail and has made the trek numerous times.