In 2001 the local government proposed that Sicao Wildlife Refuge be turned into a national park. Following years of campaigning, communication and research, the National Park Planning Committee approved the 「Taijiang National Park Plan」 draft that included part of Cigu Township in a national park in its 83rd meeting on June 29, 2009. The area was approved as Taiwan’s eighth national park by the Executive Yuan on September 28 and the formal announcement made on October 15. The national park headquarter was opened on December 12 the same year, signaling that the park had begun operating.
The park has a total area of 39,310 hectares. Land area includes public land from Tainan City’s Yanshui River to the Zengwen River, Tainan black-faced spoonbill Reserve and Cigu Lagoon, covering 4095. The main focuses of planning are protecting wetlands bio-diversity, and relics from the settlement of the area and the salt industry. The sea area portion of the park encompasses the coastal waters to a depth of 20 meters. The area is about 5 kilometers wide and about 54 kilometers long from the Yanshuei River to the south end of Tungchi Island. It was the main water route for early Han Chinese settlers crossing from Tungchi Island to Luerhmen. The sea area makes up an area of 34,405 hectares.
Was it because the Taijiang National Park was the only national park in Taiwan that was proposed and campaigned by the local government instead of the central government or was it because of its vast coverage that diminished the highlights in the park? I traveled hundreds of kilometers to the east of Taiwan for Taroko National Park yet the idea of paying a visit to the national park that is right in my backyard has never occurred to me. Actually, that is not exactly correct; I visited the Sichao green tunnel and the black-faced spoonbill preservation area years ago before the national park plan was even heard, but somehow the beauty of the scenery didn’t imprint on my mind.
A video, Time for Taiwan—My Beautiful Island, produced by Michael Fimognari was broadcast worldwide this year that had caught my attention. The green tunnel in Sichao looks so peaceful in the video so I took a day off and visited the tunnel trying to figure out how did I ever overlook such a beauty. The tranquility of cruising in the green tunnel formed by mangroves was lost in the tour guide’s noise amplified through the loudspeaker then I realized the tranquility in the video was a result of reduction: the loss of audio stimulation intensifies the visual impact. Then I saw the beauty and the value of the Taijiang National Park:
“the main focuses of planning are protecting wetlands bio-diversity, and relics from the settlement of the area and the salt industry”.