Jiuzhaigou IntroductionOrigin of the name 'Jiuzhaigou'
Jiuzhaigou, also called 'Yangtong' in ancient times, currently has other names like 'Heyao Jiuzhai', and the ' Jade Sea '. Jiuzhaigou, literally the Nine Village Valley , is hence known for the nine Tibetan villages within its boundary, that is, Panxin, Rize. Yacuo , Panya, Zechawa , Heijiao, Shuzheng, Heye and Zharu.
The area of Jiuzhaigou as well as the upper reaches of the Jialing River and Minjiang River are called the land of Shiqiang (Qiang ethnic minority ) in ancient times, where human activities have been recorded dating back as early as to o the Yin-Shang Period (16th- 11th Century B. C.). According lo The Records of Songpan (vol. I - Rivers and Mountains), the 'Jade Sea is 50-odd kilometers to the northeast county, within the territory of Zhongyang Tongfan Tribe. Its valleys are as long as several kilometers with green water and jade-like ripples.' This evidences that the Jade Sea beauty was well known as far back in ancient times.
Distribution and Scenic Features
Jiuzhaigou covers the Shuzheng Valley . Rize Valley and Zechawa Valley that take a 'Y' shape, in the Minshan Mountain Range. Inhabited by Tibetans, the nine villages and alpine lakes, affectionately called 'Ham', are like reflecting mirrors or crystal jade blocks inlaid in snow mountains and forests. At the end of Zechawa Valley is the Chang (Long) Lake and the end of Rize Valley are virgin forests. From .south to north, both valleys stretch and meet at Nuorilang. The drop between the two valleys and Shuzheng Valley is over 1,000 meters.
Jiuzhaigou Valley always delights tourists from home and abroad with its emerald lakes, layered waterfalls, colorful forests, snow-clad peaks and Tibetan customs. Its charm lies in the primitive, natural and idyllic beauty of its landscapes.
As a tourist resort it boasts 114 lakes lying downward in an echelon manner, on which are 17 waterfalls, 47 springs, 17 splashing waterfalls, 11 turbulent streams and 5 travertine beaches and 9 Tibetan villages, formulating alpine lake clusters and travertine spots that are rarely seen in China and even in the world. All these scenic sights, set against the backdrop of 92 snowy peaks, create a unqiue natural landscape of high mountains and deep gullies in Jiuzhaigou.
The water, the soul of Jiuzhaigou, is so cystal clear and rich in colors that it has earned the reputation, so well expressed in the saying 'Those who have visited Jiuzhaigou will no longer appreciate the water landscape again', Varying in size and shapes, sparkling with colors in brilliant sunlight, the more than 100 lakes define the waterscapes and form their essence. The unique tourist culture of Jiuzhaigou is captured by the purity of the green water, the reflections in the lakes, the stone mills, the Tibetan villages, the Buddhist sutra-streamers and the folk songs and dances of the Tibetan and the Qiang people. With its 30,000 hectares of virgin forests, Jiuzhaigou is also a botanical and zoological paradise, a habitat of dense conifers and broadleaf trees for such rare and endangered animals as the Giant Panda, the Golden Snub-Nosed Monkey, and the White-Lipped Deer.
Who discovered Jiuzhaigou ?
According to data collected by the World Natural Heritage Organization, there is only one other site similar to Jiuzhaigou in the world: Pretev National Park in Croatia . It has one waterfall with a drop of only 1/12, and the size of its lakes is only 1/3, of that of Jiuzhaigou. What made Pretev National Park most popular than Jiuzhaigou is that it was in Europe and was developed and opened up to worldwide tourism for over 200 years ago. From the 1970s, large scaled development projects were completed, its natural beauty attracting thousands of visitors annually.
In 1992 when officials with. the World Natural Heritage Organization paid their first visit to Jiuzhaigou. the the poured down blocking out the views from Jiuzhaigou Entrance to scenic sights. As they reached Huohua (Spark) Lake site, it suddenly became clear, and sunlight penetrated through the mists, painting out a fascinating rainbow, and presenting fascinating lake views. They were shocked and exhilarated. They bent their knees on the lakeside in appreciation of the nature`s wonder. According to their memory. Jiuzhaigou was such a natural beauty that they were shocked straight out of their unexpectedness for their admiration of nature`s extraordinariness of Jiuzhaigou in China. They bent on their knees to show their esteem to the Nature, and express their gratitude to China ,a developing country that offers the world such us a nature`s rarely and a Fairyland on Earth.
In the 60s of the 20th Century, the horse trail and hillside paths of Jiuzhaigou were the only link between the self-sufficient life of local Tibetans and the outside world. According to the Records of Nanping County - Jade Lake , Jiuzhaigou is within the boundary of Yangtong Tibetan-inhabited area, with valleys as long as several kilometers, where lake water is green and reflects the nearby forest images.
Its virgin forests had not been disturbed until the end of the 1960s when large groups of lumber workers started work at Jiuzhaigou. In 1975,the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry sent a team to Jiuzhaigou for field investigation, who were surprisingly impressed by its natural beauty and immedialely publicized their surveys and comments - Jiuzhaigou collects rich and rare animal and plant resources, and most of all. it is to become a place of scenic interest well-known throughout the world.
After their visit, Professor and Expert of Forestry Wu Zhonglun, president of the Chinese Academy of Forestry, together with officials of Sichuan Forestry Department, visited Jiuzhaigou and completed a fullround investigation. They prepared a document requesting Sichuan People`s Government and Sichuan Forestry Department lo lake immediate measures for conservation of Jiuzhaigou`s resources. Sichuan Forestry Department worked out an official document to notify Nanpin County Forestry Bureau that felling could only take place 200 meters away along the Zechawa Valley and Rize Valley . This is the earliest formal measure taken to conserve Jiuzhaigou resources.
In 1977, Sichuan Rare Animal Investigation Team proposed that Nanping While River Nature Reserve be extended to cover the Jiuzhaigou area. In the same year, the Academia Sinica (Chengdu Branch) again stated the significance and necessity for setting up the Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve.Furthermore, they reported the matter directly to the Academia Sinica headquarters.Sichuan CPC Committee and Sichuan People`s Government.
On December 15, 1978. the State Council promulgated a document (Code No. 256),formally announcing that four belts of Jiuzhaigou are listed as the National Nature Rese