Chengxi’s Hidden Paradise – Dream Lake (Menghuan Pond)
Chengxi Windbreak Forest (No. 2105 Sand-Binding Protection Forest) was completed by the Forestry Bureau of the Agriculture and Forestry Department of the Taiwan Provincial Administrative Executive Office in the 1960s (the predecessor of the Forestry Bureau of the Council of Agriculture, Executive Yuan) for wind-breaking and sand-binding on the tidal flats of Zengwen River. At the beginning of the afforestation, channels were dug to introduce freshwater to the flats and reduce the salinity of the soil, facilitating the growth of vegetation. Today, artificial waterways have gradually formed forest marshes and mangroves scattered throughout the tidal flats, offering marvelous reflections of the waterways accentuated by green foliage. There is a water storage pond at the edge of the windbreak forest next to the mouth of Zengwen River. The pond offers a perfect mirror reflection of the forest and the sky. It is a well-known photo spot popular for wedding photography, and known locally as “Dream Lake.".”
The windbreak forest and forest swamps are habitats where various birds, insects, frogs, reptiles, and terrestrial crabs inhabit and breed. In the early twilight and evenings in summer, you can hear the singing of Taiwan twilight cicadas (Taiwanosemia hoppoensis, endemic to Taiwan) and Cryptotympana atrata cicadas during the day. The croaking of Ornate narrow-mouthed toads and Gunther’s frog can also be heard at night. During the breeding period, Cardisoma carnifex crabs can be seen "taking over" the access roads along the coast. Overall, the region is very rich in ecology.
The original one-story concrete structure beside Dream Lake was originally used as the base of a light pole used to guide the navigation of ships. The name of the light pole was South Dike Lighthouse of Zengwen River, with a registered number of 35730 under the management of the ROC Navy. The international lighthouse code was Admiralty P4629.9. The square cone-shaped steel frame tower was equipped with a red flashing indicator light, which flashed in intervals of 4 seconds ( 0.5 seconds of illumination, and 3.5 seconds of darkness). The light pole was built in the 1970s but was dismantled in 1998 due to its overlapping function with the chimney light of a nearby incinerator built in the 1990s. The main structure of the light pole was removed in 1998, leaving only the reinforced-concrete base standing. In order to revitalize its use, Taijiang National Park refurbished the base into a view deck. After climbing up the stairs made of wood and steel, the wooden observation deck on the second floor can be reached. The view deck offers a panoramic view overlooking the windbreak forest and the Dream Lake. You can also watch the beautiful sunset at the mouth of the Zengwen River estuary, once lauded as the eight scenic spots of Nanying (Tainan).
After renovation work completed by Taijiang National Park, there is now a footpath connecting the waterfront and viewing platform to the Dream Lake. Seats are available as well as grassland for tourists to use, while further refining the aesthetic appeal of the existing beautiful waterfront landscape. In the future, Taijiang National Park will continue to improve facilities along the windbreak forest green belt to provide a high-quality space for environmental education.