The central government has recently approved a proposal to designate a 4 hectare plot of land and coastal waters along Tainan City and Tainan County as the country’s eighth national park.
Tainan City Mayor Hsu Tain-tsair (許添財) said the city government would invest mroe than NT$3 billion (US$91.3 million) over the next decade on wildlife conservation, ecological protection and cultural relic restoration in the region as part of its efforts to promote tourism and create business opportunities.
The proposal to designate the area as the Taichiang National Park (台江國家公園) was made by Hsu during his tenure as a legislator in the 1990s.
At the end of 2004, the Ministry of the Interior approved a NT$10 million budget for the city government to draft a blueprint for the proposed park.
The ministry’s National Parks Planning Committee gave initial approval for the project late last year.
Unlike the nation’s other national parks, which tend to feature either mountain or seaside resources, the Taichiang National Park combines three special features that distinguish it from the country’s seven other national parks — cultural relics, world-class lagoons and heritage industries such as salt mining and fish farming.
It stretches from the coastal area of Tainan City’s Annan District and the waters along Chigu (七股) in Tainan County to the Dongji islet (東吉嶼) of the Penghu archipelago.
The area, 5km wide and 55km long, encompasses the Sihcao (四草) wildlife protected zone, the Southwest Coast National Scenic Area and Anping Harbor Historical Park.
The marine area of the park, from Dongji (東吉) to Luermen (鹿耳門) in Tainan City, includes the major sea routes that Han Chinese navigated from mainland China to Taiwan during the Ming and Qing dynasties.
Koxinga, better known as Cheng Cheng-kung (鄭成功)in Taiwan, sailed to Taiwan from Xiamen, Fujian Province, via the Dongji-Luermen route.
City government officials said the inclusion of the marine area would help the public better understand the history of the region’s development.