From South China Historical Trail to Future National Park—Discussion on National Park System of the United States and Future “Nanling National Park”
2017-10-16 上午 10:18   作者:a ray(translated by xiao lu)   


A Ray: During the National Day’s Holiday, South China Historical Trail has been a hot scenic sport. How to build the Nanling Natural Reserve  into the National Park according to the National Standard of China has been listed into the top agenda. By 2020, the first batch of national parks will be established in China. In the U.S, national trails is always associated with national parks. Do you know which came first?


Grand Canyon National Park

A Xiang: Yellowstone National Park, the first national park in the world is established in 1872. The protection regulation was signed into law by President Hiram Ulysses Grant of the U.S. The National Trail System was born from the National Trail System Act in 1968. The Act aims to promote the public’s appreciation of the outdoor and historical resources of the nation.

A Ray: Although Yellowstone National Park, Grand Canyon National Park and Rock Creek Park were established in the later half of the 19th Century. The setting up of the national park management organization was originated in Canada. Since the establishment of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCU) in last century, the criteria for the standard of national parks have been changing, for example, the covering area should be more than 1000 hectares. Could you tell me what are the latest criteria?

A Xiang: At present, the criteria of a national park by IUCU are: a reserve of natural or semi-national region for the conservation of 'wild nature' for posterity, with distinctive features of the composition of species and ecological system, providing basis for the development of the environmental culture compatibility, science, sports, recreation and tourism.

A Ray: IUCN was established in 1948. China became its member in the 1990’s. At present, it has 10 member states from Asia. China’s preservation of nation, education and tourism has been in line with the vision of IUC. The rejuvenation and utilization of South China Historical trail is the just the practice of the development of the environmental culture compatibility, aiming at providing more opportunities for scientific, educational, recreational and tourist enhancement. Two precious gifts have been given by the nature and left by the ancestor to Guangdong: A National Natural Reserve which is more than 1 kilometer above sea-level and the ancient trails with several hundreds kilometers in length. The combination of the above two elements are the distinctive humanity and geographical symbol of Linnan. It is a pity that due to the cutting off a huge amount of trees for excessive use which led to the deterioration of environment, South China tiger has been extinct.  Otherwise, we will boast the third gift: South China Tiger.

A Xiang: Guangdong can draw on the development concept of national parks as references to establish an multi-level system through the protection of historical trails and parks. It can start with the signage. For example, the signs in Yellowstone National Park introduce the ecological system related to the scenic spots in details.


Sign in Botanical Garden of Desert Plants in Phoenix of Arizona


A Notebook for Tourists to Record their Observation of the Natural Environment

A Ray: I have been visited the Desert Plant Botanic Garden, which boasts the greatest number of desert plants in the world in Phoenix of Arizona State. As you mentioned, signs play a very important part in the popularization of science.  The Garden even provides notebook for the tourist to write down their observation  on the change of the natural environment. The high accessibility of the national park is based on the concept of providing service to people. The accessibility is reflected in two aspects. One means accessibility to the surrounding areas of national park from far places and the other indicates the accessibility to scenic spots within national park through the trails. The Grand Canyon National Park covers an area of nearly 500 thousand square kilometers, equipped with a great number of trails for the tourists to reach different parts of the park.


Sign of a Trail in Grand Canyon National Park

A Xiang: The accessibility of the trail reflects the core concept of the national park. On the one hand, it protects the regional ecology and on the other hand, it provides a platform for the public to enjoy the natural resources. The accessibility of the trail enables the tourists to step inside the grand natural landscape. Meanwhile, it helps to  regulate the routes of the tourists so as to decrease the disturbance to the park.


Signs of Road Map and Speed Limit and Information Board in Wupatiki National Monument


Map of Canyon and River in Grand Canyon National Park


 Signage of Stone Mountain Nature Trails

A Ray: The national park is a place for people to feel the pulse of nature and also a place for education and tourism with restrains. I have been studying on the regulations of the Rock and Creek National Park in Washington D.C. It is clearly stated that the number of people in a picnic should be less than 75. The closure time for the trail is defined. Tourists can play badminton in the picnic area but hanging the net to the trees are forbidden. Regulations related to potential risks have been set up in advance.

A Xiang: US National Park Service has developed a complete management mechanism. Though releasing the planning concept of the reserve and environmental evaluation results, it effectively regulates the building and renovation of the trails, roads, buildings and camping areas. As an affiliate of the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service begins its administration of national parks in 1916. with help from volunteers and partner organizations, the Service well protects these special regions and provides rich regional information to up to 270 million tourists per year.


Leaflet of Sunset Crater Volcano on Fines

A Ray: I still keep the leaflet of the reserve when I visited the Sunset Crater Volcano and Wupatiki National Monument in 2002.   It lists the fines for moving pottery sherds, collecting rocks and defacing natural features of archeological sites etc. Meanwhile, I would like to discuss with you over the issue: the relationships among National Park, National Monument and Contributed Buildings.      

A Xiang: The difference between National Park and National Monument lies in the reason for protection: National Park aims to protect the landscape, enlightenment, educational and recreational value. While, National Monument targets the protection of the historical, cultural and scientific research values, in various forms. For example, National Monument can protect the wild life areas, the fossil excavations, military fortresses, ruins and buildings. The National Park was designated by the U.S Congress by voting while the National Monument is designed by the President’s Declaration. Therefore, President of the U.S can establish a National Monument without negotiating with the Congress.

A Ray: This is valuable reference for the protection of South China Historical Trail and architecture and structures alongside the Trail and establishment of historical trails of “Nanning National Park”and man-made landscape. South China Historical Trail is composed by huge ancient stones with a thousand history. Avoidance of the moving and destroying the stones is of utmost importance.

A Xiang: Architectural property in historical regions can be divided into two categories: contributive and non-contributive. A contributive property, for example an apartment building in 18th center helps to maintain historical features  of the region while a non-contributive property, for example a modern clinic cannot. According to the reverent laws and regulations regarding the historical region in the U.S, contributive architecture is defined as any building, object or structure which contributes to the historical richness and quality enhancement of a historical region. By 1998, more than 2300 towns, cities and villages in the U.S have formulated regulations of historical preservation.

A Ray: The above photos have been stored in my PC for 15 years, which were taken when I visited National Park and National Monument. the planning of the trails, the maps, the richness of the contents and the rigorous description on the signs left me a deep impression. What do you find about the signage in Rock Creek National Park in Washington. D.C?

A Xiang: Rock Creek National Park is equipped with a detailed guiding system, signages and brochures to popularize ecological knowledge to tourists. The flow of visitors is reasonably designed through motor lanes, sidewalks and streams, which enhances the safety of the tourists inside the Park.


Transportation on the Road inside the Park


Sign in Rock Creek National Park


 Sign in Rock Creek National Park with the Logo of the U.S National Park Service on the Right Top Corner

A Ray: Thanks for providing these information. According to the Plan, by 2020, Nanling National Park can be established by taking  the criterion of IUCN for reference. I hope that the above information will contribute to rejuvenation and utilization of the South China Historical Trail and the establishment of “Nanling National Park”. The birds are singing outside. It is time for me to go to work. The National Day’s Holiday ends. Before that, heads of relevant departments were required to study on the Guangdong history and humanist Culture by combining their majors. I believe that during the 8 days’ holiday, they have already complete their articles with profound understanding. After reading these article, we can continue our trans-time zone dialogue.