Once a place where trees felled deep in the mountains were stored and cut up, Luodong Forestry Culture Garden (羅東林業文化園區) is now a nature preserve as well as a place where visitors can learn about the history of logging in Taiwan and the lives of those who worked in the industry.
Filled with attractive Japanese-style buildings constructed between the 1920s and the early 1960s, the 16-hectare garden was opened to the public in 2011. The most memorable sight is the 5.6-hectare log pond, where Formosan Red False Cypresses and certain other types of timber were stored. The water prevented the wood from cracking or warping during the summer, and also drew resins out from the wood, thereby lengthening its lifespan. Even now, massive semi-submerged tree trunks dot the pond.
A narrow-gauge branch line from what's now Taipingshan National Forest Recreation Area (太平山國家森林遊樂區) terminated here, and six old locomotives have been preserved.
Of the four small exhibitions in the garden, the most interesting by far is the Forest Life Exhibition. Black-and-white photos and heirlooms such as stoves and tools depict the tough lives led by forestry workers. Because they were far from the rice-growing lowlands lowlands, their main source of carbohydrates was mountain yam. Black-and-white photos show workers and their families using cable cars to get between the plains and high-altitude logging camps.
Bilingual information is provided throughout the garden.
From Luodong TRA Station, walk or drive northward along Zhongzheng Road for about 1km. The garden will be on your right. If you arrive by car, you'll be charged NT$30/hour for parking.