Taiwan mulls relaxing control over national park access

Access to the island’s national parks might become easier as early as June, 2019

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Yushan (Photo by 楊湘文_FB Yushan National Park)

Yushan (Photo by 楊湘文_FB Yushan National Park)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Taiwan is set to relax regulations governing public access to the island’s national parks as soon as June this year, following a thorough examination of the current control measures prompted by the death of a Taiwanese “bikini climber” in a failed rescue attempt in January.

According Taiwan’s Executive Yuan, individuals who plan to enter Taiwan’s national parks will be asked to “inform” the authorities in advance, instead of having to obtain a permit prior to their planned mountain-climbing activities, reports Liberty Times.

The new mechanism is implemented to help the authorities get hold of information regarding the number and identity of visitors as well as the dates and routes of their expeditions to the mountains, so as to better understand their whereabouts and to provide assistance in the event of emergencies.

However, a host of natural reserves and ecological conservation areas will be excluded from the program and still require a formal application to receive an entry permit, said the Construction and Planning Agency, Minister of the Interior.

Apart from areas prone to landslides, most forest roads will be open for human access, but traffic controls will remain in place as a way to protect forest resources and prevent timber cutting and trespassing.

The Sports Administration will replace the Tourism Bureau as the authority supervising mountain-climbing activities in Taiwan, and will be responsible for the management of forest entry applications and the promotion of mountaineering safety tips. A one-stop service platform will be established to allow for streamlined and online application for access to mountainous areas in Taiwan, according to the report.

Taiwan, which boasts 268 mountain summits over 3,000 meters above sea level, has the highest density of towering mountains in the world.