The Dos and Don’ts When Hiking in Jiaming Lake- Leave No Trace

Travelers are attracted by the forests and mountains in Taitung. They enjoy the green shower in nature. Among all these natural attractions, the Jiaming Lake National Trail is one of the bucket lists to the traveler. However, the popularity has left an impact on the environment. The ecosystem has serious damage because travelers violate campfire rules, litter, and exhibit other inappropriate behaviors. This article will share the concept of “Leave No Trace”. Let’s be a responsible traveler and sustain the natural beauty of Taitung.

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The Origins of the “Leave No Trace”

“Leave No Trace (LNT)” is originated from America. The idea is to encourage travelers no littering, do not harm the natural surroundings, and Let nature retain its original appearance. Here’re a few guidelines of the LNT. It’s the best practice we should follow to enjoy and protect our natural spaces.

1. Make appropriate plans before the hike

Don’ts :”Since the Xiangyang Cabin is fully booked, I’ll just do a one-day hike to the Jiaming Lake.” Please Don’t Do This! A “one-day hike” means to depart and return on the same day. A growing number of hikers try to do a one-day hike ever since the Forestry Bureau removed the day hike restriction at Jiaming Lake. However, Jiaming Lake undergoes a range of climate changes since it located at 300 meters above sea level. Taking on this challenge without sufficient hiking experience may trigger altitude sickness or heart diseases. It’s extremely risky for tourists to hike without the proper hiking equipment.

Dos:The Jiaming Lake National Trail spans 13km and bringing the round trip to 26km. The trail is long with sharp inclines and sudden drops that clearly challenge the physical strength and stamina of climbers. The suggested time to complete the hike is a 4-day 3-night itinerary. Climbers require a cabin reservation and a hiking plan to ensure having sufficient energy to complete the hike. A professional tour guide knows the hiking route, land formation, and physical conditions of everyone in the group. Bringing a professional tour guide is a safe way to accomplish the hike.

2. If you make it, you take it

Don’ts:Jiaming Lake is known as “Angel’s Tear” and has attracted numerous tourists. The Forestry Bureau received 20 thousand applicants to make the reservation for the Xiangyang Cabin last year. Thousands of tourists came into the mountain and have caused damage to the natural environment. The Forestry Bureau hosts a cleanup event and clears out hundreds of kilograms of waste. Some discard disposable heat packs and food waste was also be found in the Jiaming Lake bathrooms. Irresponsible travel destroys the environment and causes inconvenience to other travelers as well as exposed food negatively changes the wildlife.

Dos: When preparing for your hike, remove excessive and unnecessary packaging on your food and drink. Avoid packing canned foods and glass jars. You may also plan ahead on how you will dispose of your food waste, such as bringing zip lock bags that will seal in the scent to avoid attracting unwanted attention from wildlife. Finally, remember to bring plastic bags to store the trash that you and your group produce. Do not leave your garbage in the mountains!

3. Reduce fire usage and lower the impact on the environment

Don’ts: Hikers started campfires at the Nanheng Jiemaosi mountain and Jiaming Lake Over the last two national holidays. Starting a campfire in a forest area violates article 56 of the Forestry Act, and offenders are subject to pay a fine of 120,000 to 600,000 NTD. The sparks from the fire may also ignite the highly flammable Taiwan red pine tree, nicknamed ‘tinder’ due to the high-fat content of its needles, this may lead to unstoppable forest fires that could potentially destroy the glorious wonders of the forest in the blink of an eye!

Dos: Starting campfires is strictly prohibited in the forest area and the forest reserve! Please only use open flames in designated campgrounds and limit the use of fire. For cooking needs, you may use high-efficiency backpacking stoves; for illuminating purposes, use kerosene lamps instead of campfires to avoid leaving traces of fire and coal in order to reduce the impact on the environment.