TAIPEI (The China Post) — Not so long ago, there were three major forest farms in Taiwan: the Alishan Forest Farm in Chiayi (1908), the Taichung Bashianshan Forest Farm (1914) and the Yilan Taipingshan Forest Farm (1915). Today, they have been transformed into popular national forest recreation areas where you can enjoy some quality time with your loved ones.
An Important Part of Taiwan History
Most people don’t know, but the commercial use of timber involved a complicated procedure that included timber yards and timber ponds for storage from which wood was sold to exporters. The industry was a major source of foreign exchange. If you want to know more about this important part of Taiwan history, you should visit “Luodong Forestry Culture Garden,” which houses timber ponds. The former timber distribution center located in Yilan is listed as a National Cultural Landscape.
The remains of the important forestry facilities in the garden include timber ponds, Luodong Forest Railway, steam locomotives, and an unloading platform. The old dormitories have been transformed into exhibition halls, showing the history of Taiwan forestry culture including the old Zhulin Station, Forest Development Exhibition Hall, Forest Life Exhibition Hall, Forest Animal Exhibition Hall, the ecological bamboo house, the old vehicle inspection garage, as well as a century-old bookstall, as a forestry history museum.
In addition to the permanent exhibition, special exhibitions are held from time to time, such as “Wooden Seasons Five Senses Feast,” showcasing the life experiences of domestic timber industry, and “Forest Liveness”, displaying collected old photos of lives in Luodong forestry industry – preserving remained old buildings and leaving a century-old forestry industry witness.
In the third and fourth of Artifact Exhibition Halls, the current exhibition – “Liveness, Luodong Forestry Industry Life Images” – presents life images of the former forestry industry and invites visitors to take a look at the historical images while inhaling the Cypress scent in the old Japanese architecture as if you were right in the scene. The exhibition will last from now until June 16, 2019.
An Inspiring Journey for All
Besides, you should take a stroll along the Luodong Forest Railway. The total length is 36.95 km and there are 10 stations along the track: Tu-Chang, Le-Shui, Niu-Tou, Ching-Shui, Tien-sung-pi, San-Hsing, Wan-Fu, Ta-chou, Wai- Tzu-Wai, Chu-Lin, and Luodung. Some of the stations are well-preserved but some are re-used in another way with a symbolic image at the site.
The railway, running through plains from the East to the West every day, has shouldered the responsibilities of timber transportation and passenger transport since it was inaugurated in 1924. It takes approximatively 1 hour by car,
3-4 hours by bike to enjoy the scenery along the way while immersed yourself in the half-century prosperous forest railway.