Forestry officials from China’s Hubei province visited Long Island’s Bayard Cutting Arboretum State Historic Park on Tuesday to learn how New York State protects its forests and wetlands, and promotes eco-tourism, officials said.
“I think the planning is very important on how to design the park, and to strengthen the cooperation of the public … to preserve the environment,” said Shi Daoliang, deputy director, Hubei Forestry Department Wetland Conservation Centre.
Speaking in English, he added: “We want to bring modern ideas back to China.”
At the Great River park, he and a handful of other Hubei forestry officials attended presentations by state park and environmental officials, who explained how various agencies provide layers of management and join forces to combat invasive species.
“I was most impressed with the good regulations, and the scientific and technical [expertise] — all of them are great,” Daoliang said.
Hubei, located in central China, is home to the Shennongjia Nature Reserve, which boasts a number of rare and endangered animals.
“The threat from pollution is decreasing, especially in Hubei province,” thanks to programs to purify the water and reduce coal-burning by factories, Daoliang said.
Hubei officials began their U.S. tour in Los Angeles and stopped off in San Diego and Washington, D.C.; their visit concludes in Toronto.
Long Island state parks have welcomed officials from other nations since the days of master builder Robert Moses, said George Gorman, deputy regional director.
“They want to see a park system that’s well-run,” and one that’s easy to visit if they are attending United Nations events in New York City, he said.
One highlight of the Chinese officials’ visit was a weeping European beech by the Cutting family mansion. Nelson W. Sterner, arboretum executive director, estimated it was planted around 1900 and stands about 50 feet tall.
“They were in awe,” he said.