The Government launched a public consultation on 16 February to seek public views on the proposals for “Enhancing the Recreation and Education Potential of Country Parks and Special Areas in Hong Kong”.
Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said, “About 44 300 hectares of countryside has been conserved as country parks and special areas in Hong Kong. They have not only provided habitats for diverse animals and plants, but also venues for countryside recreation and outdoor education for the public”.
The Government commissioned a consultancy study in January 2017 to explore opportunities to enhance the recreation and education potential of Hong Kong country parks and special areas with a view to broadening and diversifying visitors’ experience and meeting the growing demand for countryside recreation while maintaining their conservation functions. To help develop the recommendations of the study, a series of engagement activities, including stakeholders’ interviews, public opinion surveys and engagement workshops were conducted in the past two years to gather and generate ideas on the proposals.
The proposals cover all the Country Parks, but four upgrade sites have been identified for Sai Kung – see map. AFCD have also indicated that all the barbecue sites along Tai Mong Tsai Road will be upgraded over the next few years.
(1) Enhancement of Existing Facilities
The Government proposes to enhance the existing facilities and activities to enrich visitors’ experience and cater for people of different ages and physical abilities, including enhancing the existing country park visitor centres as visitor hubs to serve as gateways to country parks and special areas and one-stop service hubs; introducing an advance booking system for popular camp sites to facilitate activity planning and strengthen management; providing more viewing platforms for scenery appreciation, and enhancing physically handicapped and able-bodied sites and facilities.
(2) Open Museums for Historical Relics Appreciation
There are many cultural heritage sites worthy of conservation, such as war relics and historical villages, within country parks and special areas. Setting up open museums for cultural heritage will not only enhance conservation of our historical relics, but also maximise the education value of our country parks and special areas and understanding of our local history through various educational activities by the general public. Purposely designed interpretive panels will be displayed for relics with special significance.
(3) Tree Top Adventure
Tree top adventures have recently become a travel hotspot at many major parks. They offer unique adventure experiences within the nature. Visitors can witness wildlife and experience how conservation efforts protect precious landscapes and biodiversity. Subject to environmental conditions and matching with nature education elements, tree top adventure activities can be provided along with a wide variety of associated activities, such as canopy walk, tree climbing, ziplining and grass sliding for various age groups to deepen their understanding of nature conservation.
(4) Enhancement of Glamping Sites and Eco-lodges
Camping is one of the most popular countryside recreational activities in Hong Kong. Camping provides visitors with a getaway from the urban area to spend time outdoors. New styles of camping, such as “glamping” and staying in eco-lodges, are gaining popularity in recent years to offer convenient and comfortable tent-living experiences for people interested in non-traditional camping. Setting up glamping sites and eco-lodges can provide more diversified types of overnight facilities in country parks. This will enrich campers’ experience and facilitate campers of different age groups with different needs to connect with nature.
A consultation document, leaflet, website and public forums have been produced and arranged to publicise the proposals and to provide platforms to gather views and opinions. Roving exhibitions and interactive exhibitions will also be held to introduce the proposals to the public. The consultation document and information on the public engagement activities have been uploaded to the dedicated website (www.cp-recreation.hk). Members of the public are invited to share their views by email (email@example.com) on or before 15 May 2019
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