Owing to the Super Typhoon Mangkhut last weekend, hiking trails and recreational sites and facilities in the country parks and the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark (HKUGGp) under the management of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) have been extensively damaged and blocked by fallen trees, and landslides also took place in some areas. After the typhoon, AFCD has been clearing fallen trees, repairing damaged facilities and inspecting various areas in full strength with a view to reopening those facilities to the public as soon as possible.
An AFCD spokesperson said, “A large number of trees in the country parks fell, in addition to branch failure. AFCD staff in different regions of country parks have been striving to clear fallen trees and implementing remedial measures throughout this week. More than 1,000 fallen trees have been handled so far. Fallen trees are cut into wood logs as materials for building country parks facilities as far as possible. The rest would mostly be piled on site for natural decomposition during which nutrients will be released back to nature.”
“At present, most forest tracks in country parks are reopened for use by the public and vehicles for official purpose, except those in Tai Lam, Shing Mun and Tai Po Kau areas. However, many hiking trails are still blocked by fallen trees. For HKUGGp, geo trails and nature trails at Ma Shi Chau, Sharp Island, Kat O, Tung Ping Chau and Lai Chi Wo have also experienced difficult situations, such as road damage and roadblocks due to fallen trees.”
“For the sake of safety, members of the public are advised to refrain from using hiking trails and other temporary closed areas in the country parks and the HKUGGp for the time being, and not to enter areas with fallen trees and affected by landslides. Moreover, since cutting trees and outdoor works require professional technique and safety training, members of the public are urged not to cut or move the fallen trees to avoid injuries. AFCD has invited volunteers from hiking groups, with precautionary measure and suitable gears, to help clean up the parks and trails,” the spokesperson said.
With the concerted efforts of AFCD staff and the assistance of volunteers from hiking groups, some recreational sites in country parks will be reopened today (22 September) so that the public can enjoy the weekend and Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival. Major recreation sites in Sai Kung country parks to be reopened today are:
Sai Kung Wan Tsai South Campsite
Wan Tsai West Campsite
Pak Tam Chung Barbecue Site No. 2
Tsak Yue Wu Barbecue Area
Tai Mong Tsai Campsite
Tai Mong Tsai Barbecue Area Site No. 4, Site No. 8 and Site No. 9
Sai Sha Road Barbecue Site No. 5
At the same time facilities of all LCSD’s beaches have been seriously damaged by the typhoon and all beaches are still temporarily closed until further notice. Red flags have been hoisted at the beaches. Members of the public are advised not to swim, barbeque, enjoy the moonlight or participate in other activities at the beaches for the sake of safety. The beaches will be reopened to the public after completion of thorough clearance and repair works. These include those affected by the damaged sewage works in Sai Kung, including Clear Water Bay First and Second Beaches, Trio Beach, and Hap Mun Bay Beach.