We visited this Dragon Pool while on an excursion to Lijiang and the surrounding area. This dragon pool is the freshwater source for the surrounding town. A local legend says that two dragons used to fight on the two mountains surrounding the valley, but they were each vanquished to a pond as punishment for destruction of the surrounding area. In class, we discussed whether the designation of the space as sacred was partially to protect the source of clean mountain water for the community.
During our time in China, we have seen many beautiful forest parks and natural spaces. Most of them have shared a common thread; the presence of religious buildings or structures. The Cangshan mountains have temples and burial grounds, Jizushan Mountain has hundreds of temples including the Jinding temple near the peak, and the gardened grounds of the Yuan Tong temple in downtown Kunming. These religious places likely played a role in protecting the biodiversity in their area, such as the fresh water at the Dragon Pool near Lijiang. Yet, we cannot simplify local religious to its role for protecting biodiversity and natural resources.