Dance with Rocks: Sustainable Trail Building on the South Penghu Islands
Volunteers from around the world maintain trails on the four southern Penghu Islands through the “eco-craft trail” method. By utilizing natural materials on site, and harnessing only manpower and hand tools, the goal is to repair the trails “as is” in order to preserve their natural form and enrich the island’s pristine and poetic beauty.
Due to minimal development, the natural and cultural landscape of the four southern Penghu islands remains undisturbed. As the islands were recognized as National Park in 2014, tourists around the world flocked to witness the islands’ pristine and poetic beauty. However, the daily wear and tear, as well as the unclear walking routes have caused hikers much inconvenience. Over the past three years (2019-2022), the Marine National Park Headquarters and the Taiwan Thousand Miles Trail Association cooperated with volunteers around the world, to maintain the trails through “eco-craft trail” method. By utilizing natural materials on site, and harnessing only manpower and hand tools, the goal is to repair the trails “as is” in order to preserve their natural form. The video records the hardship and challenges during maintenance, and how participants connect with the land through manual labor, but the most precious part, is the locals’ positive response and engagement in the repair process. As it turns out, the eco-craft trails not only repairs trails, but also brings the community together. Three years of periodic maintenance isn’t a long period of time, but each of the participants have bonded with the islands in their own meaningful and unique way. As the eco-craft trails withstand the test of time, the volunteers’ memories continue to live on, and the locals’ identification of their home-island strengthened.