Yushan.Shanghu

Yushan National Forest Park is located in the bank of beautiful Shajiabang Scenic Area, beside Yuangchenghu Lake, which shines as a lustrous green pearl mounted at the dainty Jiangnan waterway. The southeast end stretches into historical and cultural city— Changshu, Jiangsu Province, while the southwest is adjacent to attractive Shanghu Lake with water and hill landscapes blended together. It is well known as “water of seven waterways all flow to sea, and ten-mill blue hills spread to the city.” Advantageous geological position, inviting natural landscape and rich cultural relics make Yushan Hill a well-known tourist destination of Jiangnan Area. In 1982 it was listed as National Key Scenic spots— one of the most important part of Taihu Lake Scenic Area. On March 1989 it was approved as National Forest Park by the State Planning Commission and Ministry of Forestry. 
Yushan National Forest Park is located in the northern border of subtropical area with mild climate of annual average temperature 15 ℃, and distinct seasons. It has a frost-free period of 243 days, and the annual average relative humidity of 80%, so it can be toured in all four seasons.
Birds’ eye View from Yushan Hill
Yushan National Forest Part covers an area of over 1260 hectares with 96% of percentage of land-covered forests. It is a combination of north sub-tropical natural regeneration and artificial regeneration of forest plant types. The main tree species are: Horse-tail pine, fir, loblolly pine, bamboo, chestnut, red bayberry, sweet gum, white oak, Mao oak, holly, acacia, mulberry, elm tree, hackberry, bovine bolt, cotton wood, beam tree, sumac, mountain pepper, leaf privet, etc. The main vine plant species are: wisteria vine, ivy, brier, smilax, honeysuckle, wolfberry, etc. The main herbaceous plants are: bodhisattva, radix, Platycodon grandiflorum, etc. In addition, there are a variety of ferns, like mosses, lichens, bamboo fungus, pine mushroom, and so on. There are 309 types, 89 species of plants here according to incomplete statistics.
Every spring, flowers of peach and plum trees will fully blossom, while berries and pears will compete to be picked. In the midsummer, lush trees, clumps of bushes, winding vines and lowering mosses will be so inviting. Late in autumn, maple and Chinese tallow tree will be dotted with red like blood or rouge with fragrance, and colorful scenery will be so fascinating. In the depth of winter, pines will be covered with snow to create a lovely look. Four seasons of Yushan hill are the sea of flowers, heaven of green atmosphere, and wonderland of beautiful scenery.
Enjoy by Cableway
Yushan Hill has an elevation of 263 meters with over 300 big or small faults. It owns an imposing manner in steep southern hill. Many stone scenic spots concentrate here, like the carved stone “vast and high hill” etc. by Emperor Kangxi, among which “Sword Gate grotesque rock” and “Fushui bright rock” are the most famous. Shen Congshi, founding man of Wu-style painting at Ming Dynasty, once eulogized the wonder with his poem, “falling stones are about to drop from cloudy cliffs, and stones from steep cliffs run to spring with strong winds.”  The top of Sword Gate has been rebuilt with 16-meter-high sword pavilion. The brim towers into the sky with extraordinary manner. On July 1993, it was sponsored by the famous painter Song Wenzhi and “Pine Wind Pavilion” was newly built at the west side of the Sword Gate. Many great painters such as Zhu Qizhan, Xie Zhiliu, Chen Peiqiu, Cao Datie, Yan Gongda, and so on, wrote or painted here, and it added new scenery to the Yushan Hill. Now the Sword Pavilion and Pine Wind Pavilion are far opposite from each other. Overlooking from Yushan Hill, splendid Jiangnan scenery like lake landscape, boat shadow, foggy cloud and picturesque village are will be at sight. The well-known painting “Changshu Field” by the great painter Qian Song was sketched here. The north of the hill is smoother with many caves, gullies, springs or waterfalls. The famous caves are Pearl-linking Cave, Old Stone Cave, Small Stone Cave, Stone Cabin Cave; Gullies are Peach Blossoms Gully, Stone Cabin Gully, Falling Stone Gully, Qin Slope Gully, and Dragon-Vanquished Gully; Springs are Scorched Tail Spring, Heavenly Dragon Spring, Shunguo Spring, Dew Drop Spring Alms Bowl Spring, Jade Crab Spring, etc. Among these Qin Slope waterfall is the most magnificent. Qin Slope Gully is hundred-meter long with floor shape inside. There are numerous big rocks in the gully. After rainfall water will pour down and spill endless pearl water. A poem from Ni Ju at Ming Dynasty reads, “water of Qin Slope after rainfall pours from the heaven. Though neither storm nor thunder, it shakes trees in the hill.”

 

The charm of Shanghu Lake is beyond words.
The annual session of Newspaper Supplement Research 2005 was held in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province in the early November. I, together with other editors and journalists, paid a visit to the enchanting Shanghu Scenic Area.
Ecologically speaking, Shanghu Lake is a wetland covering an area of over 10 km2 in which the water amounts to 800 hectares. A magnificent hill extending over 10 li strides over the mirror-resembling water. The miraculous existence of Yushan Hill amazes people for the surroundings of water-studded plain terrain. Ancient-styled dwellings locate themselves among the hills and lake. When it happens to be a rainy day, people on the boat are presented with a magnificent traditional ink painting, the hill and the lake veiled with the moisture. Literati of different dynasties were so immersed in the poetic imagery, leaving considerable amount of art works and poems.
Though in a much developed city with large population, Shanghu Lake maintains a high quality water which may intimidate all other lakes in south of Yangtze River. Moisture of the lake significantly adjusts the climate in Changshu by improving the air and modulating it to the demands of people. This well tells the reason why Huang Gongwang a great painter in Yuan dynasty fully merged himself in the nature here by the lake.
There were also misfortunate happening between human being and nature. In 1968, Shanghu Lake was completely drained for a water conservancy project, after which people took the advantages of lake bed and farmed for rice. Beautiful sceneries were regarded a waste of resource, while only the rice paddies producing necessities were accepted out of the concept of “Defeating the Nature”. However, it turned out that because of the deterioration of lake bed soil and wetlands, planting rice and wheat were totally impossible. Changshu, whose name indicated the constant harvest, was then living with a scanty or wretched one.
The vengeance of the Nature ceased not at the poor harvest. Decreasing moisture resulted in increasing pests, and birds and animals previously dwelling in the hill became extinct. Fruit trees yielded no fruit but withering flowers. Forrest on the hill dies as hit by a plague. The ecological system of both the hill and the lake was destructed.
July 23rd, 1985 marked the return of people’s sense from the manic impulse. The galloping water was ushered from the Yangtze River into the lake having suffered 18 years drought. Thousands of millions of volunteers welcomed enthusiastically home the water with only the simplest utensils removing 1.25 million m3 earths from the lake bed. Wasn’t it redemption for all the misdeeds they committed?
Treasuring Shanghu Lake, people got to dress her up. Trees of various themes were planted alongside the lake by the citizens to reserve a green nature for all creatures. Aged trees from the ancient urban areas were transplanted here, recovering a fractional history and adding an antique elegance to the lake.
In furthering the protection of the water, tens of factories and breeding farms were removed from the lake. It’s now strictly prohibited to expand real estates and hotels along the lake which is now featured with water forests and lakeside wetlands. By conversing peacefully with the nature, people realize the absurdity adding affiliates to the lake. They now respect the original existence of the creatures and accept the diverse scenes of water going up and down and the wild living in joy.
Twenty years’ restoration brings closer the nature. Shanghu Lake gradually forgives people’s misdeeds and returns them with smiles. The wetland is now dwelled by a large number of birds amounting to 70,000 of 90 species including the state-protected ones. In the fierce competition for survival and decreasing space because of human activities, Shanghu Lake provides a precious habitat to the migrant birds. When you happen to meet white storks wandering in the water forest in autumn or winter, you will inevitably recall the imagery depicted in the lines of Qu Zhongxiao a poet of Ming dynasty – “I idle in the Shanghu Lake by boat, listening to the local ballads in the mountainous scenery at the dusk; white storks understanding my indulgence in the poetic dreamland disturb me not when they come near.”
Back is all the poetic and picturesque existence, together with the long-departed moisture. Moisture is the essence of the lake. Teas of Yushan Hill germinate in it early in the spring; Fruits of Baoyan turn mellow in it early in the summer; and in winter, wintersweets emit attracting aroma in the white and pure land.
The beautiful landscape stands in proud silence. As is told by Aristotle, “Nature never speaks, and errs not.” Therefore, if someone should be blamed on for the disaccord, it must be the human beings. People should not look for excuses for their misdeeds because they may have lost forever some existence of ecology. Nature returns the verdict all in an upright way. I believe when they appreciate the boundless beauty of the landscape, people prefer it in the heart to a picture. (Xiao Ruihua)



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