The picturesque Siguniang Mountain, located in Southwest China’s Sichuan Province, has been the center of a contentious incident. Two tourists, venturing into the mountainous terrain, neglected safety protocols, endangering not only themselves but also the environment and the park’s dedicated search and rescue teams. This incident underscores the pressing need for stricter adherence to guidelines in such sensitive and potentially perilous areas.
The two individuals, identified as Wang, aged 31, and Cai, aged 41, embarked on their adventure in the Longpingou section of the mountain on a Sunday. This choice turned out to be ill-advised as they persisted in their journey despite multiple warnings from the park staff and clearly marked caution signs. Unsurprisingly, as evening fell, they found themselves contending with adverse weather conditions, including unexpected snowfall.
Trapped and beginning to experience symptoms of hypothermia, altitude sickness, and mounting disorientation, the duo had no choice but to seek help. Responding promptly, a search and rescue team managed to locate and extricate them from their precarious situation.
Such negligent behavior not only puts lives at risk but also strains the mountain’s conservation efforts and its management resources. As a result of this episode, Wang and Cai will no longer be able to access the Siguniang Mountain scenic area for tourism or any other recreational activities, as they have been permanently banned.
Siguniang Mountain, with its untouched landscapes, has grown in popularity over the years, particularly among novices eager to tackle its peaks. This surge in interest, while beneficial for local tourism, has also led to an uptick in accidents. From suffering altitude sickness to sustaining fractures or even facing life-threatening falls, these incidents have spotlighted the pressing need for tighter safety regulations.
In light of these concerns, on September 18, 2023, the mountain’s management bureau rolled out a comprehensive notice. This directive detailed activities that were off-limits, including unauthorized entry into the park, using regular tickets for specialized outdoor activities, and breaching designated boundaries without express permission. Offenders will be designated as untrustworthy visitors, effectively barring them from all activities within the park’s bounds.
To further bolster safety, a 2018 notice had been introduced that delineated the circumstances under which rescue services would be billable. Any individual or group that incurs a rescue due to unauthorized access or activity modification, or who participates in mountain sports without complying with set regulations, could be liable for the costs of their rescue.
An instance from August 2019 serves as a poignant reminder of the tangible consequences. A visitor from Guangdong Province had to foot a bill of 3,000 yuan for rescue services after being trapped for days without the necessary permits.
Recent collaborative efforts by local authorities in Sichuan have further fortified these safety initiatives. An overarching notice has been issued, emphasizing the responsibility and repercussions that individuals would face if they damage or cause harm by straying into prohibited zones.