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Trails become busy with visitors avoiding COVID-19

Posted April. 25, 2020 07:48,   

Updated April. 25, 2020 07:48


Due to the impact of COVID-19 limiting sports and indoor activities, a growing number of people are visiting mountains. In particular, solo hikers or couple hikers wearing masks are noticeably increasing in number.

According to the management office of the Mount Bukhan National Park, a total of 675,900 hikers visited the mountain in March alone, which is about 200,000 higher than the same period last year. Mount Gyeryong also saw a 50 percent increase in visitors year-on-year with 359,000 visitors until April 19 while additional 125,000 hikers came to Mount Chiak this year. The number of people who have completed South Korean outdoor brand Black Yak’s project to climb 100 mountains in South Korea also rose 30 percent compared to March last year. The sales of outdoor and hiking gears are recovering thanks to the increase of hikers.

As more people are coming to the mountains, the Ministry of Environment and the Korea National Park Service posted national park safety guidelines to prevent COVID-19 on their websites on Thursday. The guidelines ask hikers to visit mountains during less busy hours and refrain from climbing summits. It also recommends hikers to keep at least two meters among them and not to stay in rest areas and other busy parts of the mountains for a long time. Mount Bukhan and Mount Gyeryong will form special patrol teams to promote safety guidelines.

Jae-Yeong Yoo elegant@donga.com