• Some of the 33 workers who built the Yeperenye Trail by hand. (ABC News: Saskia Mabin)
    Some of the 33 workers who built the Yeperenye Trail by hand. (ABC News: Saskia Mabin)

Nestled within the East MacDonnell Ranges a sacred Yeperenye Dreaming site is now home to a tourism trail built by traditional owners, just 10km from Alice Springs.

The project is the largest ever investment by a Central Australian Aboriginal group into public infrastructure.

The ABC reports, traditional owners reinvested $364k into the construction of the trail from the rent money paid by the Northern Territory government for the park.

The idea for the 7km walking and cycling track, connecting Anthwerrke (Emily Gap) and Atherrke (Jessie Gap) in the East MacDonnell Ranges, originated six years ago.

After many meetings and six months of construction it was officially opened to the public last Wednesday.

"It makes me really proud that we did that - putting our money from the government back to the trail here," traditional owner Lynette Ellis said.

"We did this trail for all of us here, for our young kids now and for our future generations."
More than 30 Eastern Arrernte traditional owners built the trail entirely by hand, following the natural contours of the landscape.

"I'd like to welcome tourists to see what we've done with our bare hands and what we've created out here," traditional owner Grant Wallace said.

"Country is important. Look after it, keep it strong."

The traditional owners group said they would continue to invest into projects for the public in the East MacDonnell Ranges, including signage and possibly guided tours.

"This group has really demonstrated just how forthright they are, how much of a leading group they are," said National Parks and Wildlife director Chris Day.

"The next step for us is sitting down and really getting those stories and presenting them in a really high-class way."

comments powered by Disqus