Popular sunrise spots to close over New Year's again
Once again, all trails at Korea's national parks will be closed over New Year's in order to prevent people from gathering to watch the first sunrises of the incoming year.
From 3 p.m. on Dec. 31 to 7 a.m. on Jan. 1, and again from 3 p.m. on Jan. 1 to 7 a.m. on Jan. 2, all trail entrances of the 21 national parks will be blocked. The corporation that manages the national parks will also close off the 28 parking lots it operates.
The special quarantine restrictions on national parks, similar to the one issued at the beginning of this year, were reimplemented in an attempt to stop locals from gathering to watch the last sunset and the first sunrise from mountains or beaches, in hopes of preventing any further spread of Covid-19 within the country.
Hallasan National Park, managed separately by the government office of Jeju Island, will also be blocked at night.
According to Korea National Park, about 194,000 people visited the national parks on Jan. 1 in 2019, and 198,000 in 2020, before Covid-19 went global. At the beginning of this year, with the similar restrictions applied, the number of visitors on Jan. 1 between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. — its only open hours — dropped to about 97,000.
Staff of the national parks will be stationed at the entrances to the mountain trails and parking lots to prevent anyone from entering during the restricted hours. Anyone who violates the ban for the first time will be given a 100,000-won ($80) fine. Those found entering the premise twice will be fined 300,000 won, and three will be given a 500,000-won fine.
The blocked entrances won't prevent people from witnessing the sun rising from the national parks, however.
The “Korea National Park TV” YouTube channel will livestream the event from four major national parks popular for watching the year's first sunrise: Cheonwang peak of Mount Jiri, Daecheong peak of Mount Seorak, Hyangjeok peak of Mount Deogyu and Dara Park in Hallyeohaesang. The livestreaming will start in the afternoon on Dec. 31.
More information on the special restrictions can be found on the website of the Korea National Park, www.knps.or.kr.
Other popular sunrise-watching spots like Jeongdongjin in Gangneung, Gyeonggi; Ganjeolgot in Ulsan; Homigot in Pohang, North Gyeongsang; and Namsan Park in central Seoul have announced their entrances will be closed.
BY PYUN GWANG-HYUN [email@example.com]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
To write comments, please log in to one of the accounts.
Standards Board Policy (0/250자)