The Kanas Lake National Geopark, a famous natural resort in the Aletai mountains in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, may replace the Yellowstone National Park in the United States as the world’s biggest geopark.
Covering an area of 2,000 square kilometers, the park has China’s deepest alpine lake — about 184 metres at its deepest point. The lake covers an area of 44.78 square kilometers within the park. About 117 different kinds of birds make their home along this lake which is 1,340 meters above sea level. And, yes, there are sort of Loch Ness monsters although they are never seen.
Inside the park there are snow-capped mountains, grasslands and vast natural poplar-birch forests. The local authority plans to invest RMB8 million in absorbing neighboring tourist resorts into the Kanas natural resort, and expanding the park to cover an area of 10,030 square kilometers.
Xinjiang, where the park holds center stage, has become a major tourist area. It is possible that there may be more than 10 million tourists to the greater area of Xinjiang in 2006.
Tourism here has kept growing at the rate of 10% a year for the past six years.
It used to be that the long and cold winter hindered Xinjiang’s tourism development but skiing has now become a major tourist attraction. In the summer tourists can enjoy the Silk Road Exploration (remains of the start of the road can still be seen), mountain climbing and trekking in the countryside.
In 2006, Aletai invested RMB385 million in building up airports, and generally improving tourist resorts. As a result, the region has received 763,000 tourists, with tourist revenue of RMB560 million.