just skimming last few pages, but I think many people have the wrong idea.
my points are this:
Yushan has enough tourists. if more people come, charge more. I am no fan of charging to see nature at all, but once its charged I have no beef with charging non residents more.
the thing is that locals (this also includes foreign nationals who work and live here) do pay taxes. all kinds. tourists only pay sales taxes, which here are all included and just run up the line. too many people here are thinking it is gauging tourists, maybe it is, but we need to maybe look at it as opening up doors to teh people who already have paid for it via taxation (aka residents). this makes sense. I agree it can give the wrong impression, but that is often due to ignorance and short sightedness with the people who need to pay more.
I am the first to agree that Taiwan has lots to offer the "western backpacker" culture, they could do 10x better. they already concentrate on the rich Asian shipper market, why not open up to the west too.
Fact is if it needs to be paid for and I already pay taxes for that service, why should I have to pay again? visitors do not pay at all for upkeep, so it makes sense, *from a financial standpoint*, to charge visitors more.
Personally i prefer to see charges more in the area of pollution and waste and things we need to cut down, and open up natural things like hiking as a free past time.
I don't like paying for hiking, seeing a trail etc. Not in Taiwan, not in Canada, and not anywhere else I have traveled. But I have always kind of liked the idea of cheaper prices for locals, because it promotes the local people and families to get out there. maybe yushan less so. but seeing as it is SO busy and there are more people than are allowed on the trail it seems, if they are going to cash in on a natural area, thats a good one. and i really dont mind being a tourist and paying more than a local simply because it is really just a local paying less. I see how it gives people a bad taste...sorry, but reality is what reality is and this is far from the biggest issue facing tourism in Taiwan.
I wont go back to tourist trap places either (such as borneo or the penn. malaysian area), not because they are setup to rape tourists but because they are setup to pimp out nature. they have completely fucked their land, and now they fuck people who want to see the few shreds left that they didnt mow down for oil. That said, even that story has 2 sides. I am far happier paying to climb a mountain knowing it wont be planted with rubber, palm oil (or here betel nut). if $700 a climb is the price of conservation, its a bitter pill i will happily swallow. But thats not so much the problem her ein Taiwan as much of the truly undeveloped areas are not developed more to do with the geography, so we can be fairly sure in a fairly high amount of mountain areas not being totally F'd like you see in the flat lands or in other countries.
Sitting fences, playing devils advocate
In the end, I always thought "state" run things should be free to residents, and make the visitors pay for the services that we already pay for through taxation. ferries, buses, schools, trails, zoos, parks, health insurance etc etc.
ORRRRR, be like Canada, make EVERYTHING so damned EXPENSIVE that you need to actually budget your month to go do stuff. If the issue is that Taiwan is getting more westernized in the wrong areas, i sympathize.