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Shanghai's Geopark Set to Open

The city's first national geological park will open to the public in September in Chongming, China's third largest island, local authorities said.

The opening of the more than 1,000-sq-km park is a major step in the municipal government's goal of developing the island into a tourism and exhibition center.

Chongming Island, known for its abundant biological resources, also boasts many geological features such as wetlands and sandbars.

The park will be divided into several areas, each featuring different themes.

"The geopark will be a milestone, and is our way of developing the island into an attractive tourism and recreation hub," an official from the local tourism administration said.

Chongming, situated at the mouth of Yangtze River, has a population of 650,000 and covers an area of nearly 1,200 sq km.

The local government is also planning to further develop the island's hot springs. The government has long planned to develop the island into an environmentally-friendly tourism haven.

A multibillion expressway connecting Shanghai and Chongming is also under way.

The 25.5-km expressway is scheduled to be completed in 2008. It includes an 8.95-km tunnel connecting Pudong New Area with Changxing Island, and a 10.29-km cable-stayed bridge linking Changxing and Chongming islands.

Currently, the island is connected with downtown Shanghai by ferry, which takes at least two hours.

The journey from Pudong to Chongming will be cut by 30 minutes once the expressway is completed.

(China Daily June 12, 2007)

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