Bureau enlists DIY trail conservation

By Wu Hsin-tien and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Tue, Nov 21, 2017 - Page 4

The Council of Agriculture’s Forestry Bureau is organizing a trail conservation program for which it invites each hiker to carry 1kg of soil to a designated location along Taitung County’s Chiaming Lake National Trail (嘉明湖國家步道) to fill eroded gullies that have formed.

It was inspired to build a DIY trail by a similar project on the Appalachian Trail in the US, the bureau said.

“The trail was constructed using an excessive amount of cement, resulting in ecological damage and soil erosion. Its potential to link nature and history was also lost,” the bureau said.

Using local resources, the bureau said it hopes to manually transport the materials needed to fix the eroded gullies to reduce the carbon footprint, minimize the environmental impact and preserve the land’s natural condition and appearance.

The soil that is being used to refill the gullies is waste soil from the Yakou (啞口) section of the South Cross-Island Highway, which is next to the trail entrance and had collapsed due to wind damage and heavy rainfall, the bureau said.

Hikers can get bags of soil from staff at the control point next to the trail entrance on their way up the mountain and dump the bags at a designated point marked by a flag along the trail, officials said.

Soil erosion and gully formation have occurred in many parts of the trail due to frequent usage and extended rainfall, the bureau said, adding that the gullies will deepen and might seriously affect the ecological environment and safety if they are not filled.

More than 20,000 people visit the lake every year, the bureau added.