Sat, May 27, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Volunteer group to work on restoring Danlan Old Trail

HISTORICAL PATH:The group is working with four local governments to repair and restore the trail, which offers a glimpse into Taiwanese history

By Chien Hui-ju and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Thousand Kilometer Trail Association is hosting a gathering today at Keelung’s Nuan Nuan Footpath (暖暖步道) to mark the formal establishment of the Danlan Volunteer Group, which would continue the association’s project to help with the restoration and maintenance of the centuries-old Danlan Old Trail (淡蘭古道) in cooperation with four city and county governments.

Twenty-four teams of volunteers across all age groups — including junior-high school boy scouts, college hiking clubs and adult volunteer groups — are attending the launch.

The association last year launched a project to rebuild footpaths along the Danlan Old Trail, which runs through Taipei, New Taipei City, Keelung and Yilan County.

The volunteer teams are to adopt different sections of the trail for maintenance.

The trail marked the path that Taiwanese pioneers blazed through the mountains while looking for areas to settle, association president Chou Sheng-hsin (周聖心) said.

So far, the association has helped restore and repair three separate paths along the Danlan Old Trail, including the Nuan Nuan trail in Keelung, and the Beishih River (北勢溪) and Kuolai (闊瀨) trails in New Taipei City, Chou said.

The association prefers to use local materials and resources when making repairs, following the traditions of those who used the trails in the past and avoiding installing wooden or concrete steps that would look out of place in the surroundings, Chou said.

Some of original footpaths can no longer be found, while others have been taken over by public roads or highways, Chou said, citing the Longling (隆嶺) trail in Yilan County, which has been intersected by Provincial Highway No. 2.

The association’s goal is to retrace and delineate the trails within three to five years, then repair and restore them to make them usable again, Chou said.

To this end, the association requires the help of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, and to work with multiple local governments, she said.

Repairing the trails would also be rebuilding a part of Taiwanese history, Chou said.

“Walking along the paths and seeing the farming villages and the stone huts built by our ancestors is like walking down a path of Taiwanese history,” Chou said.

Chou said she hoped more tourists would visit the trails to experience the vitality and tenacity of Taiwanese.

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