In 1872, The United States established the first national park in the world -- Yellow Stone National Park. Over a century later, more than 6,000 national parks had been established all over the world. More than one hundred nations have national parks and these national parks can be found in all three of the frigid, temperate and tropical zones. They include highly diversified ecological and geographical landscapes; from mountains, oceans, glaciers, volcanoes, forests, marshes, pastures to canyons.
In 1969, the International Union for Conservation of Nature had defined a national park as:
‧ With one or several ecosystems not materially altered by human exploitation and occupation, where plant and animal species, geomorphological sites and habitats are of special scientific, educative and recreative interest or which contain a natural landscape of great beauty.
‧ The highest competent authority of the country has taken steps to prevent or eliminate as soon as possible exploitation or occupation in the whole area and to enforce effectively the respect of ecological, geomorphological or aesthetic features which have led to its establishment.
‧ Visitors are allowed to enter, under special conditions, for inspirational, educative, cultural and recreative purposes.
Two years later, in 1971, the criteria were further expanded to include:
‧ A minimum size of 1,000 hectares within zones in which protection of nature takes precedence
‧ Statutory legal protection
‧ A budget and staff sufficient to provide sufficient effective protection
‧ Prohibition of exploitation of natural resources (including the development of dams) qualified by such activities as sport, fishing, the need for management, facilities, etc.
The establishment of the national park system in Taiwan has taken into consideration the standards and principles of ecological conservation as set by the IUCN. The National Park Law of Taiwan was passed in 1972 and currently there are six national parks in Taiwan.
(1)Kenting National Park
Established in 1984, Kenting is the oldest and southernmost national park in Taiwan. The park is famous for its spectacular ocean scenery, tropical coral reefs and migratory birds.
(2)Yushan National Park
Established on April 10th, 1985, Yushan is the largest national park on the island. Located in the central part of the island, it boasts Jade Mountain, or commonly known as Yushan, the tallest peak of East Asia at 3,952 meters.
(3)Yangmingshan National Park
Established on September 16th, 1985, the volcanic natural beauty is minutes away from the bustling Taipei Metropolis.
(4)Taroko National Park
Established on November 28th, 1986, Taroko National Park is situated in eastern Taiwan. It boasts spectacular landscape of mountains, towering marble cliffs and rapids roaring in the river valleys below.
(5)Shei-pa National Park
Established in 1992, this is the fifth national park of Taiwan. Within the park, there are fifty peaks over 3,000 meters high.
(6)Kinmen National Park
Established in October of 1995, the national park is located on the islands of Greater Kinmen and Lesser Kinmen by the Chinese coast. The park aims to preserve important historical and cultural relics of the area, which was a long time battlefield and military staging area.