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State Grid helps boost forest ecotourism in Inner Mongolia

2024-03-18 (


Power workers from State Grid Hinggan Power Supply Co help residents in A'ershan in northeastern Inner Mongolia get better electricity access. [Photo provided to]

A'ershan Mountain, located in the county-level city of A'ershan in northeastern Inner Mongolia autonomous region, is known for its luxuriant forest, tastymountain produce, natural mineral springs, vast grassland and magnificent volcanoes.

Since 2014, the city government has been encouraging the local residents to practice the idea that "lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets", taking advantage of the abundant resources and thinking of better ways to enhance their income.

Forestry worker Yu Jiujiang, now 60, answered its call enthusiastically, inviting several of his colleagues from the forest farm to start a tourism cooperative.

Starting with four horses, they took tourists to ride sledges and experience the fun of ice and snow, and later opened a rural restaurant. Working as a tour guide and now owning 28 horses himself, his family's business in Linsu village, Bailang (While Wolf) town, is a now a favorite choice for tourists, who come to ride a horse and take a sledge to enjoy the snow.

Currently, Yu's cooperative can easily earn a profit of some 190,000 yuan ($26,570) each year, which has led to a contemplation on an expanding the businesses.

Yu and his cooperative's better life came from the dual help provided by the city government and the local branch of the State Grid — the world's largest utility which shoulders a dual task of safeguarding the country's energy security as well as its economic lifeline.

First, the city government has invested a total of 4.2 billion yuan since 2014 to renovate 10,400 shanty-town houses in the city, letting all the residents in shanty towns to leave their sheds and move into high-rise buildings. Meanwhile, it also continuously improved its infrastructure, reconstructing roads and pipe networks, in a bid to let residents have easier access to controlled heating.

Beautiful with views, the A'ershan Mountain regions are also areas with rigid coldness, with an average temperature in winter time at - 30 C, and a heating period lasting for eight months.

The State Grid Hinggan Power Supply Co helped the local residents get better electricity access and enjoy electrified heating.

Yu recalled previously, in and outside his log cabin house — built with boards filled with mud in between — a temperature difference of nearly 50 C could be felt, and they had to get up at night to add coal and firewood for heating in winter.

Now, the bad times are gone, he said, noting that the State Grid Hinggan Power Supply Co has erected electric power lines in the mountain region, and each household can have electric light and proper electrified heating with a smart electricity meter.

Li Baorui, stationmaster of Bailang Electric Power Station of Ihirsh Central Power Supply Office under State Grid Hinggan Power Supply Co, said prior to the heating season in 2023, all the five forest farms in Bailang town had changed to electric heating, meeting the timely need of local residents.


Power workers from State Grid Hinggan Power Supply Co check electric power lines and towers in the A'ershan Mountain region in Inner Mongolia autonomous region. [Photo provided to]

"After using electric heating, our houses are much warmer, and there is no need to get up in the middle of the night to add firewood for heating," Yu said, noting that the fire prevention pressure on local forests has also been reduced.

Zhang Xianfang, Li's colleague, stressed that, at present, the local power company is taking a two-pronged approach to help the local residents — first, serving the household needs of each family with easier electricity access, and second, extending services to their businesses to help bolster the ecotourism.

He added that since 2014, the State Grid Hinggan Power Supply Co has reconstructed and built 58 kilometers of new power lines for shantytown renovation projects, and has newly added 18 power distribution transformers and eight box transformers affording 630 kilo-volt amperes.

Currently, the city of A'ershan under Hinggan League is guiding the local residents to "put down their axes and work as tour guides", and turn the local lucid waters and lush mountains into invaluable assets.

From a logger into a forest keeper, Yu said his 40 years of life as a forest worker have shown that A'ershan Mountain is becoming more beautiful, saying that "its ecology is getting better every year, and there are more and more small animals in the forest."