Home of Chinese ‘Bigfoot’ seeks to boost eco-tourism

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on March 9th, 2012

Source: China Daily

Home of Chinese ‘Bigfoot’ seeks to boost eco-tourism

BEIJING – Shennongjia, a forest region and long rumored home of the elusive Bigfoot-like ape man in the central province of Hubei, wants eco-tourism there to boost the underdeveloped region’s economy.

Less than two months after the Shennongjia Nature Reserve was named a national 5A-Class Scenic Spot by the National Tourism Administration, the region has teamed up with Beijing, seeking the Chinese capital’s help to develop its tourism.

The Shennongjia Forest Region and Beijing Municipal Commission of Tourism Development signed an agreement earlier this week, according to which Beijing will help Shennongjia promote tourism.

Travel agencies in Beijing will launch several “Beijing + Shennongjia” tour programs, said Qian Yuankun, Party chief of the forest region.

Beijing has also agreed to provide training for tourism professionals in the poor region, Qian said.

Beijing may also send chartered flights or trains to Shennongjia during peak seasons as getting to the mountainous region sometimes is challenging, said Qu Hao, an official with the state-owned Shennong Tourism Company.

Qian is expecting an eco-tourism boom in the coming years with Shennongjia’s first airport expected to be completed next year.

Meanwhile, its new title of national 5A-Class Scenic Spot, the country’s highest official ranking of scenery spot which means both charming sceneries and high-quality services, will draw more tourists, according to Qian.

Located deep in the remote mountains in Hubei, Shennongjia Nature Reserve has long been rumored to be the home of the elusive creature known in China as the “Yeren,” or “Wildman” in English. It is also referred to as “Bigfoot” after the legendary North American ape-man.

More than 400 people have claimed sighting Bigfoot in the Shennongjia area since last century, but no hard evidence has been found to prove the creatures’ existence.

The region is also dubbed “Noah’s Arc” for animals and plants in the glacial period, as it provided shelter for animals and plants from glacier activities that were prevalent elsewhere during the Quaternary Period some 2.5 million years ago. It has preserved an array of plants that existed in the Tertiary Period and is widely called a home of living plant fossils.

With abundant rain and water resources and a middle-latitude location, Shennongjia is home to more than 3,700 species of plants and at least 1,050 kinds of animals. At least 40 plant species and 70 animal species are under key state protection.

The place is also home to the rare golden monkeys, which are on the verge of extinction and were first spotted in Shennongjia in the 1960s.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) put Shennongjia on its World Network of Biosphere Reserves list in 1990.

About Craig Woolheater
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad, Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.

3 Responses to “Home of Chinese ‘Bigfoot’ seeks to boost eco-tourism”

  1. Loren Coleman responds:

    The Chinese have been trying to do this, of course, since at least 2006. It will be recalled that back then, due to all of the Malaysian turmoil caused by the search for the “Johor Hominid,” Chinese forestry officials announced that tourism services at the Shennongjia Nature Reserve in China were to be suspended for 3 months.

    Initially, there was hope that the Bigfoot sighting flap would increase tourism in Malaysia. Those 2006 Chinese moves resulted from some kind of backlash from the events in Malaysia. Chinese officials suspended tourism in fear of too much interest in their "Bigfoot," the Chinese Wildmen or Yeren.

    “Be careful what you wish for, you just may get it,” Craig noted about this situation, back in 2006.

  2. Adam Davies responds:

    It’s a really beautiful place. I had always wanted to go, and the producers of MonsterQuest granted my wishes! I teamed up with Dr. Jeff Meldrum for the episode entitled “China’s Wildman” if anyone would like to take a look. Dr. Meldrum’s analysis of the prints found by expert Chinese tracker Mr. Yuan was very enlightening, and the subject of a scientific paper.

    The Yeren is a very credible hominid, in my opinion.

  3. whiteriverfisherman responds:

    My wife is from Guizhou province in China, she calls me Yeren when I need a shave or a haircut. The first time she did this it took me by surprise and also made me laugh myself to tears. I think she was surprised I knew what a Yeren was.

Sorry. Comments have been closed.

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