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Ecological Protection Plans Mapped Out
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The Administrative Committee of Changbai Mountain in Jilin Province aims to step up its upgrade of infrastructure facilities services to drive the development of the local tourism industry and related sectors.

Wang Ku, secretary-general of the committee, said the committee had worked out a mid-term and long-term strategy for the development of Changbai Mountain since its establishment on August 16, 2005.

The committee has invited more than 130 renowned experts and scholars to conduct on-the-spot inspections and hold seminars on the protective development of the mountain.

It has also invited academicians and planning, environmental, ecological and tourist experts to give instructions on the development of the area.

Wang told China Daily these experts have efficiently worked out five plans for the development of Changbai Mountain in less than a year.

According to the three-year goals of these plans, an airport specially designed for Changbai Mountain tourism will be constructed and expressways surrounding scenic areas of the mountain will be completed.

Three highways linking Changchun and Songjianghe, Songjianghe and Baishan, and Baishan and Yanji will be open to traffic in three years.

At the same time, the committee will strengthen and improve the services in three tourism zones in the west, north and south of Tianchi Lake, a crater lake at Baitoushan, the main peak of Changbai Mountain, Wang said.

The committee is applying for a world natural heritage title for Changbai Mountain. After its successful application for the national geological park title, the committee has made application for the mountain to be chosen as a world geological park.

Taking advantage of Beijing hosting the 2008 Olympics, the committee will promote the scenic views of Changbai Mountain to ensure its leading status in tourism in the province.

It is expected to receive 800,000 visitors annually in three years.

Furthermore, the committee will attract more investment to build several new resorts within the mountain.

The resorts within the Changbai Mountain area will have different functions such as hot spring rehabilitation, ecological sightseeing, water park, animal and plant appreciation, hot-air balloon sightseeing, golf course, hunting, horse riding and ice and snow sports.

In addition, some of the resorts will be specially designed for international conferences, business exhibitions, art performances, athletic tournaments, expeditions, outdoor training and international ice and snow sports.

In the long run, promotional activities for Changbai Mountain will be launched targeting Northeast Asia. The committee plans to attract more international conferences and more ice and snow sport fans to participate in international events, both of which will be held at resorts, with the aim of making Changbai Mountain a world-famous scenic spot.

Changbai Mountain owns the best preserved temperate zone, primitive forest ecological system. It is a natural ecological museum and gene reserve of biological species.

There are 1,225 species of wildlife in the mountain area including 43 kinds under State protection.

There are 2,277 types of plants, of which 36 are endangered species. The vegetation is vertically divided into five layers in accordance with different altitudes.

To completely protect the existing endangered species in the Changbai Mountain area, endangered resource protection areas are set up in places where endangered species are relatively concentrated.

The mountain is also the origin of the Songhua River, Tumen River and Yalu River. The combined annual runoff reaches 24 billion cubic meters.

The committee plans to set up seven environmental control belts to protect the water system. These measures will help ensure that the water system will be free from pollution and form a distinctive ecological corridor.

(China Daily July 25, 2006)


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