Hualien Lintienshan Forestry Cultural Area 花蓮林田山林業文化園區
Previously the largest logging operation in Hualien County and eastern Taiwan, the Lintienshan Forestry Cultural Area is a large park and recreation area with hiking trails and museum exhibitions detailing Taiwan’s forestry traditions.
Once named “Little Shanghai” due to the mountain town’s thriving timber logging operations, Lintienshan began to decline after the government ban on logging. Since the ban, the town has rescued the remaining forest areas and transformed the area into a park. The contrast between the forest area and the logging equipment available for viewing in both the museum exhibits and around the park contributes to the area’s charm.
Of all the logging stations in Taiwan, Lintienshan is the best preserved, as the Forestry Bureau has taken special care to restore the old equipment and tools, and renovated the grounds for visitors to enjoy. The old office buildings, warehouses, and market shoppes are now museum halls exhibiting artefacts from the era, as well as other cultural antiques and relics that locals from the area have donated to the museum.
Lintienshan is part of the Chihnan National Forest Recreation Area, which stretches up to Liyu Carp Lake.
As the forest takes up to 30.4% of the land in the eastern part of Taiwan, the lumbering industry was very successful, selling wood, bamboo, and other industrial resources.
Most of the early logging equipment used was imported from other countries, and after the 1950s began sourcing trains from the Taiwan Machinery Manufacturing Corp.
The trains used along Lintienshan’s lines operated at a top speed of 15KM/H.
History of the area:
Originally built in 1918 by the Japanese as a 32KM long railway with an annual production target of 9,100 cubic metres, 7 years later the area was zoned by the Japanese government, designating the 46SQ KM area around the Jhihyagan River as the Lintienshan logging area (known as Morisaka in Japanese).
After Taiwan’s retrocession to the Republic of China in 1945, the area was first placed under contract with the Taiwan Paper Company, after which the government reclaimed operation of the area and sold the first-grade wood to bidders, while selling the second-grade wood to paper mills.
In 1972, after a month-long wildfire destroyed 1.2SQ KM of forest, the Forestry Bureau assumed operations over the area, and later established a park and cultural area after logging was banned.
The park is a great place to check out a kind of plant known as an epiphyte, plants that prefer open air as they do not like soil with poor drainage. They create their own nutrients through photosynthesis, and have aerial roots that absorb moisture and other nutrients directly from the air. Even though they grow on top of other plants such as large trees and in other places such as rooftops, walls, and even cliffs, they are able to survive without harming their host.
Since the logging station’s location is isolated from the city area, workers would live at the logging station. As such, the logging station was, in effect, a small town where residents could find anything they needed. A general store sold daily goods, a wet market sold foods and produce, and Zhongshan Hall was the social meeting place. Vendors were allowed in from the outside to supplement the markets from 7AM to noon, and the wives of the workers would crowd into the market to buy their daily needs. Full-time workers were provided with living quarters, and newlywed couples were also presented with beautiful wooden furniture from the Woodworking Room as a gift.
In 1960, after a sudden fire destroyed the log mill, water pipes and hydrants were installed across the entire station. These antiques are now viewable in the museums.
A fire in 2001 in the Kangle Village accelerated efforts to establish a formal park in the area for conservation and protection.