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Published: September 2nd 2007
Stef & Sue at the entrance
Here we are ready for our tour. Crystal, our guide is on the right.
Qintong Town, 15 km north of Jiangyan City (Taizhou Prefecture) in Jiangsu Province, is located in an area criss-crossed by waterways. Qi Hu (Lake) is found on the outskirts of town about a 20-30 minute ride by car east of our hotel. This particular visit we were the guests of Taizhou City itself. It was an opportunity to show their “foreign friends” the ongoing efforts to not only boost economic growth in the area but as a mark of an increasing awareness of the importance of protecting the environment that so often suffers when rapid urban growth occurs.
To mark the “auspicious” occasion we were inevitably tagged by a team from Taizhou Television and a number of their family members. We were also accompanied within the reserve by a young tour guide called Crystal. She was very excited to be able to practice her English this particular day.
The water of Qi Hu (lake) is actually composed of Nanhu (南湖), Xique (喜鹊湖), and Beihu (北湖) and it is part of Qintong Swamp. This area used to be home to a number of lotus farms, but the government “bought” them out and “redeployed” them. Many of them now
The northern part of the reserve is much more tranquil.
run boat trips within the reserve paying tourism fees in return. Some still farm the remaining lotus and also snails (a local delicacy). Others are involved as guides, ticket vendors, café operators and the like. It covers a huge area and despite the penchant for Chinese “natural” areas to be inundated with commercial ventures, the nature of the region (a swamp) has meant that many areas are only accessible by small boats and walkways have had to be created over the water. Consequently, at this time, once you get to the farther reaches of the reserve the atmosphere is scenic and tranquil. I can only hope that as the reserve is further developed that this feeling of tranquillity is maintained.
Jiangyan is one of the few hometowns to Père David's (Milu) Deer, and The Père David's Deer Reserve is the biggest one outside of Dafeng (located on the coast north of here). This reserve within a reserve has an area of 72 acres, including 52 acres of forests and 12 acres of waterfront. There are two main parts, a fenced area and an open area for the deer. There is also an exhibit room for the systematic introduction
Rare Milu Deer
It was great to see these deer being kept in a natural enclosure. They were completely unperturbed by our presence.
of the deer. A number of waterbirds are also featured, in particular the relatively rare red-crowned crane. More species will be progressively added. The reserve is funded by municipal, provincial and state government funds. They also receive funds from private activities within the reserve (tourism and land rent fees). I’m unsure if, as Dafeng, the project is also supported by the United Nations Development Programme Global Environment Fund.
So follow me on a wonderfully relaxing day out in the Qi Hu (Lake) Wetland Reserve. The reserve is only in it’s “embryonic” state, being open but three years, but is definitely a step in the right direction. This is despite it’s relatively steep entrance fee of 60RMB , the need to pay additional fees to be transported around and the myriad other commercial activities provided within. This type of development really adds something wonderful to the “livability” in an area more noted for cranes of another kind; demolishing old houses to make way for glittering, modern shopping centres; filling in canals in order to expand road networks and clearing farmland to erect multi-storeyed residential complexes and factories.
A final note, some of my subscribers have suggested that
Life jackets for all
Our first boat ride was in a motor boat. I was pleased to find myself at the front with the best view!
I bring the new slide show feature to others’ attention. This makes for a very pleasant viewing experience, so why not try it? Thanks to the wonderful team at travelblog who provide this site for free and constantly work on improving its features. So why not support these people and start up your own travelblog site when touring around. It is, in my opinion, without peers in this blossoming industry!
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