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As a part of the North Coast National Scenic Area, Yehliu had been one of Taiwan's iconic tourist attractions for decades before it was named a geopark. However, visitation grew rapidly from 800,000 in 2008 to 1.7 million in 2010 with around 50% of visitors coming from China. There are as many as 10,000 visitors at the geopark on a single day during the summer peak season (M. Yang, personal communication, 2010). Activities include exploring and photographing the ‘mushroom shaped’ rocks.

Site management comprises the provision of concrete footpaths, a boardwalk, viewing platforms, barriers, signage, nominated restricted areas, security camera observation and staff supervision. 

In terms of educational enrichment and interpretation the site is serviced by interpretive panels located at the viewing platforms and a visitor centre where printed material in the form of pamphlets and a guide book is available, films, a touch screen virtual tour, photographs and an iPOD educational tool in the form of a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mobile tour (visitor centre provided facilities). Guides and volunteers are also available at peak periods to conduct on-site guided tours.
While site hardening, staff presence, viewing facilities and educational signage are designed to minimise negative impacts and ensure visitor safety at Yehliu, there are a number of visitor management related problems that are also common in popular protected areas in East Asia. They include overdeveloped infrastructure, substantial management footprint, congestion, and depreciative visitor behaviour. For instance, a combination of excessive signage, warning visitors of danger or not to damage landforms, and extensive painting of rocks by management serves to degrade the viewscape and naturalness of the site. Despite the presence of staff, security cameras, warning signs and the ‘do not cross indicator’ red painted line visitors are accessing management defined ‘no go’ areas. While there was not much evidence of scraping and graffiti on landforms people were gaining direct access to sandstone pillars and touching the features. Although the coastline is dynamic and actively eroding, given the heavy visitation profile, management is concerned about accelerated erosion around the base of landforms. Visitor safety is also potentially at risk due to natural and accelerated erosion around the base of individual ‘mushroom shaped’ rocks and the hazard of sudden collapse. Visitor experience is potentially compromised by others climbing on landforms and the need to queue in order to take photographs at the well-recognised and marketed ‘Queens Head’ landform. The sheer pressure of people has given rise to a network of informal trails representing short cuts despite the presence of hardened trails. At peak times there are so many people visiting Yehliu that the formed paths are not able to contain the crowds hence the formation of parallel trails alongside concrete pathways.
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Visitors queuing at the ‘Queens Head’ landform in order to take photographs. Note that the boardwalk is redundant as a strategy for keeping visitors to a defined management area (Source: Newsome et al, 2012)
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Visitors breaching defined containment marker line. The red line is redundant as a strategy for keeping visitors to a defined management area and, because of its extent, constitutes a significant negative impact on visual amenity. (Source: Newsome et al, 2012)

Where pathways and boardwalks are present they do not contain visitors who tend to roam at random across the entire area of sandstone pinnacles. Only the ‘Queens Head landform’ is afforded full protection in the form of a guide (who supervises access for photography), a delineating ring of boulders, boardwalk for access and strategically placed security cameras (observation screens observed in the visitor centre) which constantly monitor and record visitor activity. Even with close scrutiny, visitor touching and scratching of the Queen Head still occurs occasionally, contributing to its active weathering rate of 2.3–2.5 mm/year at the ‘neck’ area.
Overall the capacity to manage this site even on moderately busy days is very limited and much of the park is not effectively managed in terms of public access to landforms and people crossing nominated restricted access zones. The signage, hardened pathways and red painted line thus represent overdevelopment and a significant management footprint that does not work effectively in containing visitor activity at Yehliu.
Source: Newsome, D., Dowling, R., & Leung, Y.-F. (2012). The nature and management of geotourism: A case study of two established iconic geotourism destinations. Tourism Management Perspectives, 2-3, 19–27. doi:10.1016/j.tmp.2011.12.009