North coast & Guanyinshan – Taiwan

A Path Toward the Hideaway: Creating Access to the Hideaway Beach in Alapawan Through Sustainability Practices

While Heping Island Park boasts a wide variety of landscapes: wave-cut platforms, chessboard rocks, sea grooves, abrasion cliffs, tafoni, sea chasms, and pedestal rocks, its hideaway, widely known as Alapawan, one of the top 21 sunrise watching spots recommended by CNN, was closed to travelers for more than 10 years due to rockfall risks posed by abrasion made of sandy shales. Since 2021, we’ve sought help from professors in geology and ecology and a local operations team, collaborating to monitor rockfall, estimate the length of the hiking trails, and use ecological engineering practices with aims of planning a new hiking route that stays clear of the rockfall source areas and building eco-friendly trails with gabion walls. After the gabion baskets that are coated with meshes with many pores were placed over the trails, we continue to monitor environmental changes in this area, finding an increasing algal coverage and greater biodiversity around the area. We also seek to effectively manage Alapawan by determining the maximum number of tourists that can visit the area before and after the tide ebbs, recruiting local volunteers as guides for tours, and conducting a range of activities, such as beach cleanups, sunrise watching, and experience activities at intertidal zones. Through the incorporation of academic research and advanced technologies, implementation of ecological engineering practices, efforts made by the local operations team that manage tourism, and guided tour volunteering in Alapawan, this hideaway is finally reopening for visitors while restrictions are partially lifted, and the intertidal zones are seeing greater biodiversity. The most spectacular sunrise spot is restored for locals and travelers alike to enjoy the idyllic sunrise.

Keywords: reopening, hiking, preservation, ecological engineering

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