Travels in Longci
Niupu Mudstone Area Soil and Water Conservation Park
The park is situated diagonally opposite Longhugong Temple on County Highway No. 182 in Longci District. As the Fourth (Tainan) Engineering Office of the Soil and Water Conservation Bureau is located next to Jhongshan Hall of Niupu Borough, it successfully established the Niupu Mudstone Area Soil and Water Conservation Park in Niupu Irrigation Pond in 1999. By successfully remediating the slate terrain with ecological engineering methods, the office built and then took good care of vegetation strips on badlands that are infertile for plants to grow and where water conservation is extremely difficult as clay minerals expand after contacting water. The ecological engineering demo site in Niupu Borough occupies an area of over 10 hectares. With the concerted efforts of all personnel, the once uncultivated land has now turned into green, marking the outcomes of the continual effort to turn badlands into greens (herbaceous plants) with ecological engineering methods. Apart from conserving soil and water, these herbaceous plants have beautified and greened the Niupu Irrigation Pond and turned the pond located one meter under water into a water conservation demo site and a new spot attracting outside visitors.
The Niupu Irrigation Pond built for irrigation is different from an ordinary dam. In the drainage design, a kiosk was built on the 12-meter tall vertical pipe flooded in the pond near the dike. The maximum height above the water level is about the same height of the 1-meter tall weir. Standing in the kiosk, one feels submerged in the water. There are drains all around the interior of the weir and one will never see the bottom when looking down. This is the overflow of the pond. In the rainy season, water rising above the kiosk and the weir will be drained and discharged outside the dam. This is a clever overflow design. Visitors inside the kiosk will never get wet. Sitting in the kiosk and watching how water flows in and out and to and from the kiosk after a downpour in summer is particularly spectacular and fun. When it drizzles or showers and hazy vapors hover in the air, the scene is romantic and dreamy. That is why people call it the “dreamy lake.”
Around the irrigation pond, there is a 1-km long bamboo and sleeper trail. As it takes about one hour to finish the round, it is a quite good hiking trail. By the dike stands a stairway leading to the top, where one can get the whole picture of the pond.
Using different vegetation and engineering methods, the Soil and Water Conservation Bureau has established six education points in the park: “Gratefulness”, “Badland Rejuvenation”, “Historic and Full of Memory”, “Environmentally Sustainable Circle of Life”, “Building in Water”, and “Ecologic Paradise”. Along with the kiosks and signs along the road, visitors can explore and experience the perfect blending of artificial work with nature.
In addition to the Niupu Mudstone Area Soil and Water Conservation Park, there is a very special cultural story in Niupu. Local painter and bamboo weaving artist Lin Hsien-hua makes a scholarly quatrain as a tour guide to the park. “No need to ask for the directions. Get off National Highway No. 3, drive eastward to Guanmiao, look for County Highway No. 182 and drive for less than half an hour.” The rich rural fun interests visitors and has become the best selling point of the Niupu Irrigation Pond.
To actively promote local bamboo ornaments and agricultural specialties, locals have prepared the pineapple tea, konjac jelly, pickled pineapples, and pickled bamboo sprouts for visitors to try and buy as gifts. When visiting the Nioupu Mudstone Area Soil and Water Conservation Park in Longci, visitors can see bamboo hats, bamboo baskets, penholders, and creative bamboo ornaments made by elderly people in Longci. Bamboo pendants or ornaments are also sold at the park. After the guided tour, service personnel also arrange DIY classes for visitors to explore and enjoy the fun of making pickled pineapples, pickled bamboo sprouts, and pendants. Visitors can bring their works home as souvenirs. In addition, visitors can join the bamboo weaving DIY classes, DIY activities to make pickled pineapples and pickled bamboo sprouts, try special local blend coffee, pineapple tea and konjac jelly, or enjoy set meals of specialties (NT$2,000/table) in Longsing Community. Reservation number: 06-5947270.