The Todd and Charles Rivers form the backbone along which the town of Alice Springs is both built and defined. The rivers are an integral part of the town’s image and of how residents view their community.
The Todd River (Lhere Mparntwe) and Charles River (Anthelke Ulpeye) are sacred sites and central features in the cultural landscape of Mparntwe Aboriginal custodians, protected by the Northern Territory Aboriginal Sacred Sites Act 1989. Key features of these sacred sites are the majestic river red gums that mark the travels of caterpillar and other Dreaming ancestors through the town. Respecting and caring for the rivers is a central part of cultural maintenance for Mparntwe custodians, who regard these trees as their kin.
The Lhere Mparntwe Management Strategy 2019 (the Strategy) aims to have well managed, ecologically healthy rivers that are widely recognised as an iconic symbol of Alice Springs and which are enjoyed by locals and visitors as a natural urban space with significant Aboriginal cultural values.
To achieve this, the Strategy identifies a series of actions grouped by the following:
- Protect and enhance the natural and cultural values of the rivers.
- Encourage more locals and visitors to use the rivers in culturally and ecologically appropriate ways for recreation and relaxation.
- Local and Territory governments, traditional owners, business and the community to work collaboratively to care for the rivers.