China’s Jiuzhaigou National Park Reopens After Earthquake

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Long Lake in Jiuzhaigou Valley

The celebrated Jiuzhaigou National Park in the Sichuan province of China, reopened last week. Known for its stunning blue lakes, and snow-capped mountain scenery, the Unesco World Heritage Site closed last August after being struck by a 7.0-magnitude earthquake.

The earthquake last year caused major damage to many areas of the park, including the massively popular Nuorilang Waterfalls.

The Jiuzhaigou National Park gets its name from the nine villages that surround it. The inhabitants of these villages, and their inhabitants of Tibetan origin, look at it as a holy place. The forested area covers over 74,000 acres on the eastern edge of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in China.

Multi-level waterfalls in Jiuzhaigou national park, China

After months of reconstruction efforts, China’s government authorities announced that Jiuzhaigou  would be partially opened to tourists on March 8. However, visitors will be limited to 2000 per day, and they will have to join special pre-arranged tour groups to enter. Before the earthquake, as many as 20,000 people visited each day.

Among the sites now open to tourists are the Nuorilang Waterfall, Long Lake, Mirror Lake, Five-Colour Lake and the Shuzheng Lakes. To ensure safety, visitors will also be required to take a shuttle bus from location to location, and to provide proof of travel insurance.

A lake in Jiuzhaigou nature reserve and national park

This measure comes after nearly 500 people were injured during the earthquake in China last August. 60,000 people, both tourists and local villagers had to be evacuated after being stuck in the national park for a full night.

The initial tickets cost ¥40 (US$6), but once the park opens to more visitors in April, tickets will cost ¥110 (US$17).

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