An oasis on the desert
Saihanba National Forest Park (SNFP), once a royal hunting area, in north China's Hebei Province, is drawing visitors. 
Forest fires, deforestation and constant wars left the area deserted before it was turned into a park. 
Now, a world biggest forest park brings a modern retreat with pleasant summer weather. The SNFP spans over 185,000 acres. The cold weather makes the park a perfect place for people to escape the summer heat. 
"I feel very relaxed and comfortable here. The weather is cold while the air is fresh. It is such a beautiful park," a tourist told CGTN reporter.
It is a magic to transform a desert into a forest. Forest fires, deforestation, and constant wars caused damage, and a part of the park became a desert at the end of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Heavy northern winds later made the desertification worse. The expansion threatened the environment in Beijing and foresters started planting trees in 1961. 
An aerial view of  the Saihanba National Forest Park /Hebeinews Photo

An aerial view of  the Saihanba National Forest Park /Hebeinews Photo

"In 1961, this place was a big desert. Experts traveled here and saw this larch that stood here alone. They were so excited because it meant it was possible to plant trees in this area," said Chen Zhiqing, deputy director of the SNFP.
The ecosystem has gradually changed as the forest has grown larger and larger. Now, it is the biggest forest park on the planet. 
"Comparing the recent 10 years to the first 10 years after we started building the forest here, the amount of precipitation has increased. Extreme weather and hugely windy days have also been reduced," explained Li Baojun, head of the weather station at the Park.
The changes have helped cut the number of sandstorms in Beijing too. 
Moreover, tourism has significant potential to bring considerable income to the park. But authorities are developing the sector conservatively. So far, tourism only takes up 30 percent of its total industry. 
"It's difficult to rebuild a forest here, we need to be careful. It's wrong only to pursue money. Ecotourism is based on the condition of the environment. To protect the forest is always our priority," said Li Shuang, office manager at the department of industrialization of the Park.
The SNFP was once a part of the royal hunting ground with vast grasslands and extensive forests. Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty once reviewed his troops on this land. It was ruined for a time, but the beauty returned after 55 years of unremitting efforts made by three generations.