- Introduction of Taroko National Park
Taroko National Park, situated in the eastern part of the Taiwan and established
on November 28, 1986, covers more than 92,000 hectares in the northern section of the
Central Mountain Range. This park features high mountains and sheer gorges. Many
of its peaks tower above 3,000m in elevation, with many natural wonders. The spectacular
Taroko Gorge and the scenic beauty of Liwu River can be conveniently viewed from
the Central Cross-Island Highway. The varied mountain peaks, numerous waterfalls,
diverse plant forms and animal life, together with the indigenous Taroko people,
create the rich texture of this unique natural ecosystem.
- The formation of Taroko Gorge
According to theory of plate tectonics, the Penglai Orogeny was caused by the collision
of the Philippine Oceanic Plate and the Eurasian Continental Plate. The Penglai
Orogeny occurred 4 million years ago. At that time, thick layers of calcareous rock
that had been raised from the marine depths during earlier orogenies were now gradually
pushed high above the ocean surface to form lofty peaks. During this period of immense
tectonic forces, the high pressures and temperatures of compression folded and metamorphosed
the original rock (limestone) turning it to marble. At present, this region is still
being uplifted at the rate of O.5cm a year. The area has experienced both geologic
uplifting and river erosion by the Liwu River. This area is unique for its marble
gorge that occasionally forms hundreds of meters high, a phenomenon seldom found
elsewhere in the world.
There are 34 species of mammals found in the park, including the black bear, Formosan
Macaque (rock monkey), serow, wild boar, and sambar deer, etc. There are 144 species
of birds, such as Swinhoe's pheasant, Formosan blue magpie, Finches, and Formosan
Laughing Thrush, etc.
The elevation ranges from sea level up to 3700m and includes several different climate
zones. The vegetation found in the park includes: alpine juniper forest, dwarf bamboo
formation, fir, hemlock, spruce, pine and hardwoods, Taroko oak and Chinese photinia.
- Cultural Heritage
There are three categories:
- (1). Prehistoric sites
Firstly, 7 prehistoric sites which are estimated to be about two thousand years
old were found in the park and the park entrance.
- (2). The Aboriginal Taroko Culture:
In the old days, the facial tattoos were culturally significant in the Toroko tradition.
Everyone at 7 or 8 must be tattooed on the forehead for tribal identification. At
14 or 15, a young man would be tattooed on the chin after his first successful head-hunting.
The head-hunting initiation rite was banned in 1914 during the Japanese Occupation.
Both facial tattooing and head-hunting were completely abolished by the 1930s. The human head was replaced by a large
wild game like a boar or a black bear. A young woman would be tattooed on the cheeks
when she had mastered weaving at 15 years old.
- (3). The Old Trails and the Present Highways
The Su-hua Old Trail was built in 1874 during the Qing Dynasty (present Su-hua
Highway). The Old Cross-Hehuan Mountain Road (built in 1914), was a major east-west
route for the migration of the Toroko tribal people from the mid-west of Taiwan
to the east. The remaining sections of the Old Cross-Hehuan Mountain Road were the
16 kilometers section from Badagan to Laoxi Creek and the 32.7 kilometers section
from west of Tianxiang to Bilu Sacred Tree. The Central Cross-Island Highway built
in 1956-1960, at the cost of 226 lives of courageous veterans. More than 780 people