You may have heard of the slow food movement, where people are encouraged to stop eating fast food and choose instead to take time to savour meals prepared using local ingredients and traditional recipes. Well, a similar concept has been initiated in Taiwan, only there it’s a slow walking movement!
The Taiwan Thousand Mile Trail Association is establishing walking trails in Taiwan, using traditional pathways, and creating new ones, that cross farmland, pass by villages and take in remnant natural areas. Their goal is to encourage the enjoyment of the ‘slow walk’ (or bike), a concept that is quite alien in a land populated by 23 million people in an area about the size of Canterbury, where getting from A to B as quickly as possible is prioritised.
The Trust welcomed representatives from the association in October to share information about private land management and protection mechanisms in New Zealand, how our Act works, attitudes towards conservation and outdoor recreation, and issues around public access.
In Taiwan the association is challenged by attitudes towards walking and biking, nature appreciation, and the establishment of trails that will not accommodate fast vehicles. They are asked, for example, “why bother walking when it is quicker to drive somewhere?” Despite that, they have successfully developed 3,000 km of trails over a six-year period and support is slowly growing for the initiative. We wish them the very best in their endeavours.