The peak of Songaksan in Jeju, which had been closed for expeditions over six years due to the natural sabbatical policy, is due to open again from August 15. However, in order to allow the recovery of vegetation, only half of the Songaksan expedition trail will be reopened.
The decision for the phased reopening came after a recent document review by the Environmental Policy Committee on the extension of the nature sabbatical period that was imposed in August 2015 on the Songaksan peak area and expedition trail.
The Songaksan expedition trail consists of three routes in total, among which Route 1, Observatory 1 and Route 2 in the east will be reopened on August 15. Meanwhile, the sabbatical period for Route 3 and Observatory 2 in the west will be extended by another year due to the inadequate recovery of vegetation.
This year, Jeju Special Self-Governing Province spent 300 million won in its operating budget to performance repairs and maintenance on safety, conservation and expedition facilities in line with the order given by the Environmental Policy Committee to prepare for the future phased reopening of Songaksan during the deliberation process on the extension of its sabbatical period last year.
As a result, it completed the installation of additional safety railings to prevent visitors to Songaksan from deviating from the set routes and suffering from accidents, in addition to burlap sacks to help the recovery of damaged vegetation in the scoria layer and woven palm-leaf mats for the expedition trails.
Meanwhile, palm-leaf mats were installed at Mulchat Oreum and a rear gate to prevent access to Munseogi Oreum, which are mountains that are also under the sabbatical period.
Mulchat Oreum has been closed to expeditions for 14 years since December 1, 2008, when the sabbatical policy was first introduced, while Munseogi Oreum was placed under a sabbatical period in January 1, 2019.
At present, there are a total of six mountains that are under the sabbatical period. Doneori Oreum has been closed for access since December 1, 2008, while Baekyaki Oreum and Yongnuni Oreum have been closed since August 1 last year and February 1 of this year, respectively, each for a period of two years.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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