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PROTECT HEHUAN MOUNTAIN DARK SKY PARK NT$ 1,000 FINE FOR PARKING WITH LIGHTS ON FOR 3 MINUTES

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PROTECT HEHUAN MOUNTAIN DARK SKY PARK 
NT$ 1,000 FINE FOR PARKING WITH LIGHTS ON FOR 3 MINUTES

In 2019, Hehuan Mountain became the first dark sky park in Taiwan certified by the International Dark Sky Association. Residents and businesses in the Cingjing area have reached a tacit agreement to turn off the lights earlier than usual. Nantou County Government also formulated the Regulations on the Management and Autonomy of Hehuan Mountain Dark Sky Park in Nantou County in June 2022, requiring that the external light source turn off three minutes after parking. Otherwise, a fine of NT$ 1,000 will be imposed. This Regulation will be implemented after deliberation by parliament and approval by the Ministry of Transportation to protect the precious dark sky environment.

With more than 3,000 meters, Hehuan Mountain is an excellent place to observe and appreciate the stars and the Milky Way. With the assistance of National Chi Nan University, the Nantou County Government has formulated the " Lighting Management Measures for Hehuan Mountain Dark sky park" to ensure the lighting needs of ground personnel without affecting the stargazing effect. The Nantou County government has also tightened control over vehicle lights and tourist behavior to protect the precious dark sky resources.

Director of Tourism Department, Nantou County Government, Chen Chih-Shian, said that there are many tourists in Hehuan Mountain, especially in the winter snow and summer stargazing season. However, the light pollution caused by vehicle lights makes Dark Sky Park into a “Bright Sky Park”. Due to this reason, Nantou County Tourism Department has formulated regulation for the management and autonomy of Hehuan Mountain Dark Sky Park, a total of 8 articles. This regulation defines the area of Dark Sky Park as 2 kilometers below the Yuanfeng parking lot at 22.1 kilometers of the Taiwan 14A line to 27.5 kilometers from the Taiwan 14A line, extending 500 meters to both sides from the center of the road.

Chief secretary of the National Chi Nan University, Tseng Yung-Ping, who is also in charge of formulating the regulations on the autonomy of the Dark Sky Park, said that Article 5 of the regulation stipulates that all external light sources must turn off within 3 minutes after the vehicle safely parked in the Dark Sky Park. The luminous flux at the initial lighting of the portable lighting is limited to less than 500 lumens, the color temperature is limited to less than 3000K, and the illumination angle should not be higher than the horizontal line of the light source. The Laser pointer is limited to low-power types, not exceeding 30 mW, and for educational purposes only. Any violation of the above regulations will be subject to a fine of less than NT$1,000, and penalties will be imposed on a per-time basis.

Chairman of the Cingjing Sustainable Development Association, Li Chung-Hsiu, stated that Article 6 of the regulation stipulates that camping, picnic, campfire, setting up tents, producing noise, illegal parking, setting up booths, operating aerial photography drones, mobile peddling, or engaging in performance or other activities are prohibited in the park. Those who violate this clause will be referred to the respective business authorities and ruled and punished under the management regulations.

Director Chen Chih-Shian of the Tourism Department stated that Dark Sky Park includes the area below Yuanfeng Peak and Songxuelou. However, since Kunyang to Songxuelou is under the jurisdiction of Taroko National Park. Therefore, this new Regulation has not been included in the Return to National Park Law. However, we hope that the Taroko National Park and the Forestry Bureau Nantou Office can work together to regulate tourists and vehicles following the spirit of the Dark Sky to maintain the precious starry sky resources.

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