Autumn is the best time to visit Xiangshan Park, a picturesque imperial garden at the foot of the Western Mountains in northwestern Beijing.
That’s when the maple trees explode with their fiery red and yellow leaves. That’s also the time when hordes of tourists descend on the site, especially during weekends, to celebrate the Maple Festival, which starts on Oct. 16.
Some tourists are not satisfied with just looking at the maple trees; they also insist on grabbing some of its colorful leaves to take home as souvenirs. Often, all this eagerness results in many branches of the trees getting broken and some of the trees ending up without any leaves.
Guides have always advised tourists not to take leaves from the branches. There are also signs all over the park warning that tourists who pick leaves or twigs off the trees could face fines. Such warnings have often gone unheeded, however.
Aside from maple trees, the 395-acre park also features a natural pine-cypress forest, smoke trees and persimmon trees, as well as landscaped areas with examples of traditional architecture and cultural relics.
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