Tourist Ban Planned For Mt. Halla's Peak

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Tourist Ban Planned For Mt. Halla's Peak

Access to the top of Mt. Halla on the resort island of Cheju will be prohibited, beginning in March and possibly lasting five years.

The Cheju Provincial Government announced Friday that it decided to impose the ban because the mountain peak has been damaged seriously by the increasing number of tourists.

Woo Geun-min, Cheju's governor, said the only way to preserve nature near the mountain peak is to ban tourism there.

The provincial government originally imposed a ban in March 1996 but partly relaxed it last year by opening two out of four climbing routes to tourists.

Although the ban is likely to last until 2006, a province official said that an earlier lifting is possible and depends on the progress of the repair work.

Regardless of the ban, tourists can reach the mountain peak in January and February, when heavy snowfall removes the danger that land will collapse under heavy traffic.

The Korea Research Institute of Human Settlements conducted a survey of tourists and found that 80 percent of them favored the imposition of a ban.

The Cheju Provincial Government also plans to counter a reduction in the amount of water in the pond atop Mt. Halla.

Officials added that they hope to establish an instititute capable of systematically researching the environment on Mt. Halla.
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