Tue, Oct 22, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Law to be amended as mountains, forests open

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Hikers climb Hehuanshan in Nantou County on June 24.

Photo: Tung Chen-kuo, Taipei Times

The government will propose amendments to the State Compensation Act (國家賠償法) in accordance with a new policy to open all mountains and forests in the nation to tourists, the Sports Administration said yesterday.

The agency unveiled the details of the policy after the Executive Yuan made an official announcement earlier yesterday.

Following deliberations, the Executive Yuan designated the Ministry of Education — which supervises the Sports Administration — as the regulatory agency for mountaineering-related activities, the Sports Administration said, adding that the agencies jointly stipulated the details of the policy.

Although mountains have contributed to the diversity of the nation’s natural environment, government regulations had kept mountain climbers from accessing them for safety or other reasons. As such, the development of mountaineering-related activities and services in Taiwan has trailed other nations.

The nation’s mountains and forests are open to the public under the new policy, but some of them would remain off limits if it is determined that visitors would compromise national security or environmental preservation, the Sports Administration said.

In light of irresponsible behavior by some climbers and arbitrary requests for state compensation, the Ministry of Justice has been tasked with proposing amendments to the act, including listing mountains and forests as public facilities, it said.

Responsibilities that should be shouldered by the government as well as by individuals would be clearly defined, it added.

Asked if mountain climbers would be required to purchase insurance policies before embarking on trips, it said the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) and the Non-Life Insurance Association are leaning toward providing insurance policies that are tailored to the needs of mountain climbers.

Only six cities and counties have made the purchase of insurance policies mandatory, the Sports Administration said.

People who plan to enter ecological preservation zones or are applying for mountain lodging services should file an application at least five days before arrival, the Sports Administration said.

Starting next month, people applying to enter the mountains or use mountain lodging services would be able to do so on a single platform, it added.

Officials from the Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of National Defense, Council of Agriculture (COA), Ministry of Education, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Transportation and Communications, National Communications Commission, Financial Supervisory Commission, and Council of Indigenous Peoples have been working since February to stipulate the policy through multiple Cabinet meetings, the Sports Administration said.

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