Local academics urged the government Sept. 26 to reconsider a highway construction project that threatens to destroy an ancient trail along Taiwan’s southeast coast.In addition to the destruction caused by the road itself, it will also bring in other infrastructure, such as shops and houses. In February the Pingtung County government declared the trail a local landmark, which blocked construction until Jan 1, 2012. The current plan is to "preserve" nature by putting in tunnels and reducing the road impact, but the road is still going through. The one immutable law of Taiwan politics is: Thou shalt not stand between a developer and his money. In recognition of this, the EPA official in the article noted that the plan is already completed and only the developer can stop the project now.
“The Alangyi Ancient Trail should be designated a nature reserve because of its historical and ecological importance to Taiwan,” David Chang, professor of geography at National Taiwan University, said at a news conference in Taipei, where a petition signed by more than 700 academics was presented.
The trail, along what has been dubbed “the last remaining stretch of natural coastline in Taiwan,” connects Anshuo in Taitung County and Xuhai in Pingtung County.
According to scholars, the trail should undergo only minimal development, as it is home to several species of fauna and flora unique to Taiwan and a witness to historic exchanges between indigenous groups, Han Chinese and foreign forces. It also preserves a trove of geographical evidence of climate change in southern Taiwan.
Controversy has surrounded the development project since it was proposed in 2002 to complete Taiwan’s round-island road network by linking Anshuo and Xuhai with an extension of Provincial Highway 26.
REF: Video of bikers on the Alangyi Ancient Trail. Wish they had invited me!
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