Icelander Shares Experience—Themes of Base Camp and Alpine Tundra Engineering Methods

(2014-11-24 Forestry Bureau)

On the morning of November 20th, the Forestry Bureau invites Chas Goemans, who is in charge of volunteer project in the Iceland Forest Service, to organize an eco-craft trail workshop at the Taitung Forest District Office. Totally 50 people responsible for trail management over the nation participate in the workshop. During the period from Nov. 21 to 23, they go to the Jiaming Lake Trail for actual operation and learning.

The Taitung Forest District Office noted that what Chas Goemans brings are the training courses of trail engineering methods themed at volunteer base camp and alpine tundra engineering methods. All of the trails in Iceland are constructed and maintained by the Skógrækt ríkisins, Iceland Forest Service. And all are handmade by volunteers under professionals’ instruction. The Service recruits and trains volunteers through volunteer project. Led by professional instructors, these trained volunteers are able to handle difficult trail-related issues. Especially in volcanic areas, bare rock lands, or topsoil erosion areas, they know how to prevent erosion, such as rearranging routes and drainage treatment, planting herbs to absorb surface water, and setting up drainage ditches separately to facilitate drainage and reduce erosion. In some areas with serious erosion, trampling or gravels, they use recycled wood to construct lifted-up wooden stairs and backfill gravels. These engineering methods are of great referential value for Taiwan’s mountain areas above 2,500 meters.

Since 2002, the Forestry Bureau has begun the planning of the nation’s natural trail systems and continuously promoted many innovative trail management tasks, such as trail grading, volunteer training, working holiday and community adoption. From 2013, the Forestry Bureau commissioned the Taiwan Thousand Miles Trail Association to plan the “project of eco-craft maintenance system establishment and practical operation evaluation.” In this month, the Bureau invited experts from England’s Wild Days Conservation and the general coordinator of volunteer project in the Iceland Forest Service to visit Taiwan for exchange. After interaction and experience sharing, the Bureau arranged eco-craft international conference, practical workshop, and eco-craft trail seed teacher training courses. It is expected to learn from foreign country’s experience in eco-craft trail and apply it to Taiwan’s trail management.
Chang Tieh-Chu, Director of Taitung Forest District Office, said that the exchange and training can introduce foreign country’s experience into Taiwan and apply it to the domestic trail management. Meanwhile it can train local eco-craft trail lecturers and gradually develop local eco-craft trail professionalism. It is expected not only to elaborate influence on the trails participated by volunteers but also further boost trail engineering toward international professional development.


Eco-craft trail: It refers to the way of constructing trails mainly depending on labors with the assistance of non-power tools, so as to reduce disturbance on ecological environment and historical space. The level of construction is ecological and environmental friendly. More attention is paid to multiple public-private cooperative partnerships. It implements the spirit of localization or multiple participations.

Base camp: It is divided into two types. One type is for mountaineering. For instance, a base camp is set up for people to get used to the height, adjust their physical condition or supply goods when climbing up a mountain. Nepal’s Annapuma Base Camp and Everest Base Camp are two famous examples. The other type is for conservation works. It is similar to the center providing volunteers with basic accommodation functions when they carry out conservation works or trail maintenance activities. Take Iceland’s volunteer project as an example, as the surrounding terrain is flat without shelters established, base camps are set up in the central working area to execute the volunteer project in a long run, so that volunteers can live inside during the period of constructing eco-craft trails.

Icelander Shares Experience—Themes of Base Camp and Alpine Tundra Engineering Methods

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