Traditional owners of the Yeperenye/Emily and Jessie Gaps Nature Park near Alice Springs have celebrated the official opening of their new public walking and cycling trail between Anthwerrke (Emily Gap) and Atherrke (Jessie Gap)
The $364,000 trail is the biggest investment in public infrastructure by any Aboriginal group in Central Australia. The traditional owners used the rent income they get for the jointly managed park to pay for the trail because they want to raise awareness of the cultural significance of the area and create employment in trail design, construction and tourism.
More than 30 Aboriginal workers built the 7.2 kilometre trail by hand, receiving one-the-job training by local company Tricky Tracks. Cultural supervisors were on site during the construction to ensure important sites were respected and protected.
Traditional owners also helped to design the trail which follows the contours of the East MacDonnell Ranges and will feature interpretive signage at the trail heads.