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Ancient poplar forest in Xinjiang to open to visitors
www.chinaview.cn 2005-03-19 16:01:20

    URUMQI, March 19 (Xinhuanet) -- The world's largest park of untouched euphrates poplar forest will open to visitors in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in northwest China May 1, a local tourism official has said.

    The park of the ancient variety of poplar, which appeared about 3 million years ago, covers about 100 square kilometers near the Tarim River on the edge of the Taklimakan Desert.

    With more than 350,000 hectares of euphrates poplars, the TarimRiver valley boasts the world's largest original forest of the drought-enduring poplar, which also grows in Mongolia and Mediterranean countries.

    Only sections of the forest park will be open to tourists this year. The investment in the park's construction, which mainly comes from government bond sales, totals 120 million yuan (14.5 million US dollars), said Guo Zhenjun, deputy director of the tourism administration of Bayingolin Mongolian Autonomous Prefecture.

    Currently, the park has finished the construction of a 17-km road, a 13-km railroad and facilities for water and power supply.

    To protect vegetation and avoid unnecessary logging, the tourism administration voted down a design of a seven-meter wide road in a thick area of trees. A one-meter wide railroad ring tookthe place of the former design. Enditem

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