Two hiking trails close, deemed beyond repair

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 January, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 January, 2009, 12:00am

Two hiking trails in Lantau that were blocked off after landslides in June will remain closed, the government has announced.

The Nei Lak Shan and Shek Pik country trails were beyond repair, Secretary for the Environment Edward Yau Tang-wah told the Legislative Council yesterday.

The Shek Pik trail is a popular route overlooking the Shek Pik Reservoir, the third largest in the city.

A must-see attraction near the trail is a declared monument called Rock Carvings at Shek Pik, which are thought to be 3,000 years old.

One hiker was surprised by the routes' closure. 'It is strange for them to close it permanently,' Liu Chi-man, of the Nature Pioneers hiking organisation, said. 'The road shouldn't be beyond repair.'

Another, Recreational Hikers Group chairman Choi Cho-kei, said the closure would not affect hikers too badly because they could take other paths nearby.

'You can still see the Shek Pik Reservoir,' he said.

The Nei Lak Shan route, on the other hand, was for hikers looking for a challenge.

'It is a five-star route' in terms of difficulty, said Johnny Chow Kwok-keung, chairman of the Hong Kong Hiking Association.

The trail had seen several accidents and could be dangerous for inexperienced hikers, Mr Chow said, adding that scattered rocks littered the ground.

The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department had put up barriers at the trails' entrances, but Mr Chow was worried the move would draw more people rather than put them off.

'Hongkongers are adventurous,' he said.

Separately, two other paths - the Keung Shan Country Trail and section four of the Lantau Trail - were diverted in November after landslides obstructed Kwun Yam Shan, the original starting point of the Keung Shan trail. Hikers who want to walk the Keung Shan trail should begin their journey at Tai O Road instead.

The start and end points of the Lantau Trail remain the same.