Park operators concerned about camping frenzy

Hu Min
Hundreds of campers are crowding Shanghai parks, causing maintenance issues and destroying lawns.
Hu Min
Park operators concerned about camping frenzy
Ti Gong

Pujiang Country Park in Minhang District has artificial grass lawn for campers.

A camping frenzy is causing management woes at many parks in Shanghai.

On sunny weekends, the lawns at some parks are completely occupied by tents, and some areas of the lawns are already bare.

Due to the pleasant spring weather, the Gongqing Forest Park in Yangpu District, a popular camping site in the city, has received between 50,000 and 60,000 visitors per day on weekends.

The park operator stated that good camping spaces were fully secured in the morning and that some parts of the lawns were bare due to stamping.

The same problem was also seen at Century Park, where visitors set up tents under plum blossom trees.

"I've already brought my tent here, so I have no choice but to secure a spot," a visitor surnamed Gu explained.

The craze has also resulted in quarrels and littering, as well as damage to the environment.

According to park operators, it has resulted in significant additional maintenance costs.

Tents also block sunlight, affecting photosynthesis and plant growth, they said.

Guyi Garden, a 500-year-old Jiangnan-style (regions in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River) classic garden in Jiading District, said some visitors ignored bans to set up tents on its lawns.

"The garden is historical, and some of the trees are old, so camping is not permitted," a worker named Sun explained. "We also prohibit visitors from stepping onto lawns because they are only for aesthetic purposes."

Park operators concerned about camping frenzy
Chen Xihan

Tents set up at Chenshan Botanical Garden

Some parks are trying new methods to minimize the impact of the camping craze.

Pujiang Country Park in Minhang District has paved a 500-meter-long artificial lawn under a bridge that is free to campers and can accommodate up to 200 tents.

"We only need to clear the lawn on a regular basis, and the maintenance cost is much lower than true ones," a staffer explained.

The view from the land is lovely because it is directly opposite the "magic castle" surrounded by flowers.

"Some tourists have complained that the experience is not natural, but we believe that after some time, they will gradually understand and accept the practice," said the staffer.

During this year's cherry blossom season, Chenshan Botanical Garden in Songjiang District also introduced 50 tents managed by a third party with catering and performance services.

The fee is used for the maintenance of lawns.

The city has about 40 parks that allow tents, but each has its own set of rules.

Tents are not permitted at Chenshan Botanical Garden's greenhouses, and visitors to Binjiang Forest Park in the Pudong New Area are not permitted to bring gas stoves or barbecues.

Overnight stays are also prohibited.

According to a city greenery guideline, historical parks, sculpture parks, pocket parks, and those with limited space are advised not to allocate areas for camping activities.

Park operators concerned about camping frenzy
Chen Xihan

Camping at Chenshan Botanical Garden

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