Stargazing area in Nantou County’s Cingjing launched

A project to create the nation’s first stargazing industry area has passed a review by the Executive Yuan in a meeting on regional revitalization.

The “Starry Mountain City” plan focuses on areas between Nantou County’s Cingjing (清境) area and Hehuanshan (合歡山), which the International Dark-Sky Association in 2019 designated Taiwan’s first international dark-sky park.

The plan was jointly launched by government agencies, academia and private entities, including Nantou’s Renai Township (仁愛) Office, National Chi Nan University (NCNU) and the Cingjing Sustainable Development Association.

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Stars are pictured above Hehuanshan in Nantou County in an undated photograph.

Photo courtesy of She Xiang Cafe

It focuses on three aspects: the area being recognized as an international stargazing town, promoting tourism based on mountains, forests and stargazing culture, and marketing sites in the strategy’s focus area, Chiang Ta-shu (江大樹), a public policy and administration professor at NCNU, said yesterday.

The strategy involves the establishment of a dynamic stargazing environment focused on tourism in three villages and six indigenous communities near Cingjing and Lushan (廬山), Chiang said.

Mobile stargazing equipment would be set up and measures would be taken to prevent light pollution in the villages and communities, Chiang said.

Stargazers could also visit the established tourists sites on Hehuanshan, he said.

The project takes internationlization and localization into consideration, Chiang said, adding that he hoped it would help alleviate economic development imbalances along provincial highways 14 and 14A.

Cingjing Sustainable Development Association director Lee Tsung-hsiu (李從秀) said the strategy combines tourism and environmental protection, and is seeking to cater to three types of stargazers.

Cingjing would feature a commercial stargazing shopping area at an altitude of 1,700m, she said, adding that nearly 80 percent of those visiting the region stop at Cingjing.

Cueifong (翠峰) would promote astronomical education tours led by indigenous people at an altitude of 2,300m, she said

Yuanfong (鳶峰) would feature a planetarium focused on enabling visitors to experience research and space technology, she said, adding that the Nantou County Government is to invest NT$16.2 million (US$569,300) to build the planetarium at an altitude of 2,800m.

The county’s tourism initiatives would continue to focus on reducing light pollution to create a stargazing-friendly travel brand, she said.