The Tourism Bureau and Thousand Miles Trail Association, Taiwan yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to jointly launch an international tourism campaign to promote the Tamsui-Kavalan historic trails (淡蘭古道, Danlan Old Trail), which connected Taipei and Yilan during the Qing Dynasty.
The memorandum was signed by association chairman Chang Chang-yi (張長義) and Tourism Bureau Director-General Chang Hsi-chung (張錫聰), and was witnessed by Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍).
The Tamsui-Kavalan historic trails were the first trails to be chosen by the Executive Yuan in 2018 to be developed under the National Greenway System, Chang Chang-yi said, adding that the association has organized hiking activities on the trails on the first Saturday of June since 2016.
Photo: Yu Chao-fu, Taipei Times
They have also since become the first pilgrim trails in northern Taiwan, he said.
As the nation’s borders remain virtually closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the trails have become popular among hikers, he added.
Lin said that he had gone on a two-day hike along the Tamsui-Kavalan historic trails and believes that they have what it takes to be promoted as a scenic attraction to international tourists.
Photo courtesy of the Tourism and Travel Department
The memorandum would allow the bureau and the association to organize high-quality travel arrangements combining hiking, railway tours and bike tours, which would be made available to participants of the Asian Trails Conference next year, Lin said.
The government also plans to include the Raknus Selu Trail (樟之細路) along Highway No. 3; the Old Sugar Railway Trail; the Central Mountain Range Trail connecting Yilan, Hualien and Nantou counties; and an old trail used by Aborigines in Yilan, Hualien and Taitung counties in the National Greenway System, the association said.
The system would also include a 130km trail connecting Yanshui River (鹽水溪) and Yushan (玉山) — which would be called the Mountain-Sea Trail — and another trail connecting Tainan, Chiayi and Yunlin counties, it added.
Chang Hsi-chung (張錫聰) said that the association officially became a member of the Asian Trails Network and World Trails Network in 2017, adding that it would help upgrade the Raknus Selu Trail and the Mountain-Sea Trail so that they become national greenways.
Taiwan could use many of its historic trails and others to form partnerships with trail networks around the world, he said.
The Tamsui-Kavalan historic trails consist of three main routes. The northern route, which stretches from New Taipei City’s Rueifang District (瑞芳) to Yilan County’s Dali District (大里) and Shihcheng (石城), was built for administrative purposes.
Canadian Presbyterian missionary George Mackay walked part of the trail to carry out his missionary work in Taiwan.
The middle route, which is from Keelung’s Nuannuan District (暖暖) to Yilan County’s Waiao (外澳), was mainly used by farmers. There were many small temples built to worship the gods along the way.
The southern route, which is from Taipei’s Liuzhangli (六張犁) to Yilan’s Jiaosi Township (礁溪), was used mainly by tea merchants.
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