The Cuifeng Lake Circular Trail (翠峰湖環山步道) in the mountains of Yilan County was certified as the world’s first Quiet Trail by international non-profit Quiet Parks International (QPI) yesterday.
The special recognition coincided with World Listening Day.
In a statement on its Web site, QPI said that the 3.95km trail, which circles Taiwan’s largest alpine lake, is surrounded by a dense cypress forest and thick moss that act like layers of natural sound-absorbing foam.
Photo courtesy of the Forestry Bureau
“As a result, it feels like a natural audio control room. Far from the hubbub of human-caused noise, the lowest measured volume is fewer than 25 decibels, which is almost silent,” it said.
Forestry Bureau officials, Tayal indigenous people from the area and Laila Fan (范欽慧), an expert in audio recordings of nature, took part in a ceremony in Taipei yesterday with QPI representatives joining via videoconference.
Cuifeng Lake is between Dayuan Mountain (大元山) and Taiping Mountain (太平山), while the trail follows an old Japanese-era train track for logging trees, Forestry Bureau official Hsiao Chung-jen (蕭崇仁) said.
Photo courtesy of the Forestry Bureau
“As it is a long hike, most tourists hike the wood-plank trail at 300m following the lake’s margin to take in the beautiful scenery, then they depart so the quietness on the trail is preserved,” he said.
Fan first made audio recordings at Cuifeng Lake over a decade ago, then she started collaborating with the Forestry Bureau in June 2014.
Fan spent more than a year surveying the Taiping Mountain region and making audio recordings of all the hiking trails in the area, resulting in her finding the “silent forest” at Cuifeng Lake.
“The quietness does not mean dead silence. This trail emanates with sounds of nature. For Taiwan’s highly dense population that we can still have the world’s very first certified ‘Quiet Trail,’ this has much special meaning,” Forestry Bureau Director Lin Hua-ching (林華慶) said.
QPI’s awards program recognizes quiet urban and wilderness parks and trails with the purpose of building awareness about the importance of preserving quiet places.
Taipei’s Yangmingshan National Park was designated as the world’s first Urban Quiet Park in 2020.
Additional reporting by CNA
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