Slideshow Description: The slideshow is intended to ‘tell the story’ of Mount Sanqingshan National Park, and features a portfolio of photos from a visit by Peter Howard in May 2017. The slideshow begins with views of the approach to the mountain from the plains to the south, and the lower-lying sub-tropical forests. It shows the spectacular collection of granite peaks that welcome visitors using the southern cable-car, and features some of the numerous fantastical rock outcrops and formations that bear imaginative names such as ‘Dragon joking with a pine’, Young Taoist chant the scriptures’ and ‘The enraptured lovers’. Most of the slideshow features scenery around the main summit area known as the ‘Nanqing Garden’, which at this time of year is enhanced by the profusion of red, pink and white rhododendron blooms which punctuate the landscape. In places the path is very steep, but access to many stunning viewpoints is provided by substantial stone staircases with chain hand-rails, and – more-remarkably – by long suspended’ walkways that have been built into sheer cliff faces. These walkways provide access to the western side of the summit area via the ‘Sunshine Coast’ trail, and the ‘West Coast’ trail, both of which provide outstanding long-distance views of the surrounding peaks, forested valleys, gorges and lowlands below. The western side of the mountain features a number of important Taoist temples and ancient gateways to holy sites and these are shown towards the end of the slideshow, including the most important surviving Taoist Sanqing Temple, dating from the Ming Dynasty.
Conservation Status and Prospects. According to IUCN’s Conservation Outlook Assessment (2014) the conservation status of this site is ‘good’. The IUCN report notes that ‘the world heritage values remain intact due to the property’s natural defenses: its confined physical dimensions; an effective boundary design; inaccessible terrain; and effective management regime. Growth in tourism represents the most significant threat to Sanqingshan unless it is carefully planned and managed in a way that is integrated with provincial and local development. Effective management of the property’s buffer zone is as critical as management of the more highly protected core zone.’