Baiyangdian is the largest natural lake in the north of China. It is located in western Hebei province Near the city of Anxin in Baoding prefecture. It is roughly 150km equidistant from Beijing and Tianjin. This location and the beauty of the scenery has made Baiyandian a very popular tourist destination. The lake is of a highly irregular shape, creating many loops, peninsulas and island, adding to the beauty and enhancing the peaceful, remote feeling of the area. However, the lake has in recent times come under pressure from the modern environment. Use of the feeder rivers for irrigation and industry has reduced the water level in the lake and caused some pollution. The government has marked the lake out for special investment to try to improve the environment.
The lake covers an area of 366 square kilometres. In fact the area is a network of 143 lakes. Much of the area is covered with reed beds and lotus plants. The local people make their living by cultivating the reeds and lotus plants as well as fishing. The lake was once much larger than today. Over two thousand years ago, the yellow river diverted through this valley. It later changed course again. However, this created the landscape around the lake. The land there is low lying and full of water. Except where drainage channels have been cut the ground is marshy. This create a special habitat for many wild birds and other animals.