Binhu National Forest Park, once an abandoned farmland in Hefei, East China's Anhui province, now has over 1 million trees bursting with vivid autumn colors in this season.
It actually represents a man-made success. Starting in 2002, the local government encouraged and funded villagers to plant poplars in the wasted grain plots located on the northeastern bank of Chaohu Lake, south of Hefei, as one of the efforts to rehabilitate the grounds.
The planting continued year after year and a forest took shape. In 2012, an ingenious plan was proposed to build some necessary infrastructure inside the forest so that city residents could enjoy a pleasant place to visit.
The government responded rapidly to the proposal. In October the same year, the forest park opened to the public.
Dubbed as an "oxygen bar in Hefei", the park now covers 10.72 square kilometers, with 75 percent as forest land and 25 percent water area. The vegetation also became more diversified with more than 280 tree species and other flowers and plants. Roads, tracks, rail lines, tourist centers and kiosks have mushroomed in the park, along with bicycle rental sites and tourist rides.
In 2014, the State Forestry Administration listed the park as a national forest park. Two years later, the National Tourism Administration listed it as a 4A-level tourism zone, the second-highest level among the country's tourism attractions.