Popular hiking route on Taiwan's Alishan spoiled by human waste

People, waste have replaced wild animal sightings at nature reserve: Hiker

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Hikers walking along the Mianyue Line in the Alishan National Forest Recreation Area. (Chiayi Forest District Office photo)

Hikers walking along the Mianyue Line in the Alishan National Forest Recreation Area. (Chiayi Forest District Office photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A visitor who hiked along the now-defunct Mianyue Line (眠月線) in Alishan National Forest Recreation Area in Chiayi County said in a recent Facebook post that the popular trail is filled with human waste.

The Mianyue Line, which ceased operations as a railway after the 921 Earthquake in 1999, became a hiking route over time. The trail is enjoyed for its numerous elevated bridges and stunning primeval landscapes, according to a CNA report on Saturday (June 27).

More recently, the route has become a popular spot for groups of hikers, especially on weekends and holidays. However, sanitary concerns have emerged regarding certain spots along the hiking route.

The hiker who raised the concern on Facebook said the area around Tashan Station (塔山車站) is littered with garbage and that there is a "manure road" beside the station. Instead of wild animals, the nature reserve is now filled with people and their waste, the hiker added.

As the Mianyue Line traverses the Taiwan Pleione Nature Reserve area, visitors must apply for entry permits five to 60 days in advance. Permits have been capped at 500 a day, and visitors who enter the trail illegally face a heavy fine.

Chiayi Forest District Office said in a press release on Saturday that the Mianyue Line has become overcrowded recently after internet influencers began promoting the route and commercial groups began to include it on their itineraries. The office will invite experts, scholars, and hiking groups to discuss whether to allow fewer daily visitors.

In response to the sanitary issue, the office said that it will hire workers to clean up the environment and leave shovels at Tashan and Shihou stations, where many hikers camp, for their convenience. The office added that it will also assess the feasibility of installing large-scale latrine pits.


(KENT FAN photo)