Maple Woods is in the suburbs of Bishan village, close to Shanhou Folk Culture Village, and on the way from Bishan to Shanhou. The Woods are broad in area, diverse in vegetation,(1) and used to be the farming land of the villagers of Bishan before becoming one of the reforested(2) areas of Kinmen. Maple trees are planted everywhere here, and a path and an arch bridge have been constructed, making the woods a natural park for recreation. Ambling(3) along the path in the woods to reach the platform top, one can catch a graceful view of Taiwu Mountain in the distance. When autumn comes, the maple leaves immediately paint the woods in red color and add somewhat to the nostalgia(4) of the tourists. Furthermore, the adjacent Bishan village, which has a couple of western style buildings and a tranquil atmosphere, is a scenic site well worth seeing.
Tourist: As soon as autumn comes, the maple woods must be very beautiful with red leaves everywhere.
Tour guide: You bet! The maple trees have spread throughout the woods, and their leaves fall down with the autumn winds. Here, people feel as though they are living in a painting.
Tourist: Here maple trees have been planted, but most of the trees I've seen planted in Kinmen are of a tall variety. What's the name of that kind of tree?
Tour Guide: The trees you are talking about are called "casuarinas."(5) In the early days in Kinmen, That kind of tree was widely grown mainly because the casuarinas branches can survive the strong winds. As Kinmen is surrounded by the sea, in the early days a large number of casuarinas trees were planted to serve as the best windbreak forest.(6)
Tourist: So that explains it. But why are the maple trees replacing the older trees?
Tour Guide: The replacement of old casuarinas by maple trees is one of the special reforestation projects in Kinmen. Some of the casuarinas are too old to survive typhoons and may cause damage.
Tourist: Are there any other sightseeing spots near here?
Tour Guide: Yes, there are. The scenic sites around here are Shanhou Folk Culture Village, Shi Mountain, Wuhu Mountain and so on. Bicycle riding is proper for tourists around these sites. By the way, there is a village nearby called "Bishan", which has some western style buildings and is culturally rich. It is well worth a visit.
Tourist: You've got to take me there.
Tour Guide: Yes. However, one other thing worthy of noting is that a shooting range(7) is located outside Bishan village. In the early day it used to be a soldiers' training ground. Now that Kinmen is no longer a battlefield, and the number of soldiers has been reduced a lot, this shooting range has long been discarded. Now the residents just take advantage of the range and make it a place for raising cattle. So people have turned the old shooting range into a natural pasture.(8)
Tourist: I have heard that Kinmen is famous for its oxen and their juicy beef. Is that true?
Tour Guide: Absolutely. Kinmen beef is really mouthwatering(9) and delicious.
Tourist: Will I have the opportunity to taste it?
Tour Guide: Of course you will.
■7. shooting range-射擊場、靶場。