Sat, Feb 24, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Hikers can carry soil to save trail

NURTURE NATURE:The Forestry Bureau has asked hikers to carry 1kg of soil along Taitung County’s Jiaming Lake National Trail in an attempt to repair it

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Taitung Forest District Office Director Liu Chiung-lien, left, and Forestry Bureau Deputy Director-General Liao Yi-kuang, second left, pose for a photograph during a news conference in Taipei yesterday to announce the relaunch of the trail conservation program, which encourages hikers to carry 1kg of soil to help repair Taitung County’s Jiaming Lake National Trail.

Photo: CNA

The Forestry Bureau yesterday called on hikers to help repair Taitung County’s Jiaming Lake National Trail (嘉明湖國家步道) by carrying 1kg of soil per person onto the trail from Thursday next week, when it is to reopen after being closed since Jan. 5.

A popular attraction for hikers, the 13km trail starts at the Siangyang National Forest Recreational Area (向陽森林遊樂區) and ends at Jiaming Lake. At an altitude of about 3,310m, Jiaming is the nation’s second-highest mountain lake after Jade Pool (翠池) on Snow Mountain (雪山), the bureau said.

The trail attracts between 20,000 and 30,000 tourists every year, but several of its sections have been washed away by rain or ruined by people, especially since some visitors tend to deviate from the main route and create new paths, office Director Liu Chiung-lien (劉瓊蓮) said.

Starting from Thursday next week, visitors can ask for bags at the information station at the trail’s entrance and then fill their bags with soil at the trail’s 2.6km mark, where there is a heap of gravel collected from the landslides that occurred near the Southern Cross-Island Highway (南橫公路), Liu said.

The office has erected flags along the trail to mark where visitors should lay down the soil to recover the trail’s shape, she added.

There is no time limit for repairs, but the section between the trail’s 5.3km and 6km marks is a priority, she said.

People often think about conquering nature or healing themselves when hiking, but by participating in this activity they can also heal the land, hiker Shen En-min (沈恩民) said.

Since 2015, the office has limited the number of visitors to the trail to 176 per day, so those wanting to hike there should file an application with the office in advance, Liu added.

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