April 1, 2019: Citing concerns that not enough is being done to encourage families with small children to experience the majesty of Taiwan’s most famous scenic area, Taiwan’s Ministry of Unspecified Services has announced joint plans with local authorities to Child-Proof Taroko Gorge for this year’s Children’s Day Festival. On April 4th, 2019, Nineteen kilometers of the famous gorge stretching from the Taroko Park Visitor’s Center westward past the village of Tienxiang will be filled with approximately fifteen trillion colorful plastic balls, turning the most visited stretch of Taiwan’s most beloved scenic area into a child-friendly ball pit. (Read more: Visiting Taipei with Children (Summertime Edition))
Minister of Unspecified Services Kai Wan-xiao announced the ambitious plan at a press meeting held on the front lawn of Taipei Children’s Amusement Park last Sunday.
“It is important to make natural attractions such as these both safer and more appealing to young children so that they can familiarize themselves with Taiwan’s natural heritage early on,” said Minister Kai, adding “Children are the future.”
While the one-day event (which local media has dubbed “Taroko-Palooza”) will focus on encouraging families with small children to visit Taiwan’s beloved national landmark, Minister Kai stressed that “all are welcome,” and that visitors making the trip specifically to experience the Eternal Spring Shrine, Swallow Grotto, the Tunnel of Nine Turns, or any of Taroko Gorge’s other natural wonders will still be able to do so.
“But only children twelve and under will be permitted to play in the ball-filled gorge,” said the Minister, admitting that it might prove difficult for adult hikers to not “accidentally” slip during hikes as an excuse to join the fun despite regulations.
“We hope that the honor system among Taiwanese hikers will keep such instances to a minimum,” Said Kai.
Minister Kai stressed that the plan would not pose an environmental hazard, as the two-ply webbing stretched between the Park’s Eastern and Western Entrance beneath the Jinwen bridge would prevent any of the balls from floating downriver and entering the Pacific Ocean.
“Netting will not be necessary in Tienxiang,” added Kai. “Gravity will keep the balls from entering the ecosystem further upstream.”
Following the April 4th event, all 15,000,000,000,000 plastic balls will be removed from Taroko Gorge by park workers and stored in the basement of the Silks Place Taroko hotel for use in future events.
Read more: Taroko Gorge in A Day