Sat, Apr 14, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Making life’s path easier for others

HIKE FOR HEALTH:A Taichung business owner has spent not only his own money, but also his strength to help maintain over 10 paths in Taiping

By Chen Chien-chih and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Lin Hui-yuan removes small rocks and cleans up a drainage canal at the Yaoren Goukeng Hiking Trail in Taichung’s Taiping District on Jan. 10.

Photo: Chen Chien-chih, Taipei Times

A local entrepreneur and avid hiker has for the past 18 years been helping to build and maintain a hiking trail in Taichung’s Taiping District (太平).

Lin Hui-yuan (林惠遠), who owns a plastic factory and teahouse, and manages more than 100 employees, said that the 921 Earthquake in 1999 inspired him to make the world a safer place.

Lin said he discovered that the Yaoren Goukeng Hiking Trail (咬人狗坑登山步道) lacked adequate facilities and thought it was a shame since the trail offered beautiful views.

He started by removing weeds and installing steps, and progressed to building and maintaining more than 10 paths, spending several million New Taiwan dollars in the process, he said.

Other hikers have praised his efforts and called him a philanthropist.

Having studied technical drawing in high school and with his experience in manufacturing, Lin said he is familiar with construction.

Every time he found a bump along the path, he would measure its size, search for the right materials and hire workers to transport them up the mountain.

He would then lay out the trail step-by-step using a hammer and spirit level, he said.

At his company, he only needs to look at financial reports, but on the trail, he works until he is physically exhausted, he said.

However, the more time he spent on improving the trail, the more passionate he became, Lin said.

He has built custom-made stone tables and chairs, so that hikers would have a place to enjoy the scenery and rest on their way up the mountain.

About three or four years ago, he also received a landowner’s permission and installed a bathroom, he said.

Every time he hikes up the mountain, he inspects and cleans the bathroom, he said.

At home, he hires others to clean his bathroom, yet he cleans the public bathroom on the mountain, he said, adding that after heavy rainstorms and typhoons, he always inspects the trail and repairs damaged areas.

To make it easier and more comfortable for hikers, he hires workers at least twice a year to remove the weeds along the 10-plus paths, he said.

Hiring workers to remove weeds costs more than NT$100,000, he said, adding that most people think the workers have been sent by the city government.

However, whenever he sees more people visiting the trail, becoming healthier and happier, he feels a sense of accomplishment and believes that everything he has done is worthwhile, he said.

Once, a hiker even reported damage on the trail to him and he repaired it shortly thereafter, he said.

Lin calls himself a park ranger and can be seen on the trail three to four nights a week.

Moved by Lin’s efforts, many hikers have also begun maintaining the paths. Some sweep away fallen leaves while others plant trees and flowers along the paths.

Now, whenever the hiking trail needs repairing, more than 10 people volunteer to help him, Lin said.

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