TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s Forestry Bureau will begin to take crowd control measures at the Marian Hiking Trail (聖母登山步道) in Jiaoxi Township, Yilan County for fear that the popular trail could become a virus breeding place as the attraction saw a tremendous influx of hikers on recent weekends, CNA reported on Wednesday (April 22).
The trail leads to the top of a mountain where visitors can admire sprawling green mountain ridges, leading to its being nicknamed the “Green Tea Mountain” by hikers.
The steep trail is 1.63 kilometers in length, but to reach the trailhead hikers have to walk over a 3.7-kilometer linking road from the bottom of the mountain.
The Luodong Forest District Office said on Wednesday that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the public has avoided overseas travel and instead turned to outdoor activities on the island. Unbelievable crowds were seen on the Marian Hiking Trail last weekend, when the weather was perfect.
Wu Ssu-i (吳思儀), division chief at the forest district office, told CNA that the office and the Yilan County Government have jointly decided to open only half of the parking spaces at the Wufengqi Scenic Area parking lot in order to control the crowd entering the trail. Police will also step up efforts to give tickets to visitors who park their cars illegally along nearby roads.
She further explained that although the scenic area’s parking lot has 215 parking spaces, for now only 112 spaces are available for use.
The forest district office will also erect signs at the scenic area and at the Marian Hiking Trail to remind visitors to practice social distancing.
(George Liao photo)