(Press Release) A small contingent from Ulsan, Republic of Korea, visited the Sierra National Forest to explore the topic of wilderness trail management and environmental considerations for sustainability.
The metropolitan city of Ulsan is in the process of developing and marketing a system of 18 “green” trails that have existed for over 4,000 years as an important part of Korean life and will now better connect districts, provide wilderness quality experiences and interpretation of the landscape.
“In Korea we are moving from an industrial focus to a more “green” environment. We have started a program called 'Green Trails,'” said Noh-kyoung KIM; Director of Environment Division; Ulsan Metropolitan City, Republic of Korea. “Our desire is to champion the people to care for the land and be more aware of their use of water and reduce the release of carbon gases into the environment.”
The stated desire of the Ulsan Green Trail masterplan is to develop a unique brand identity by “exchanging and benchmarking against the world’s best trails.” This is one of the reasons the Ulsan group chose to visit the Sierra National Forest. The Sierra National Forest is home to the John Muir Wilderness, internationally known for the beauty of its granite peaks, glacial waters and sub-alpine meadows. The trails in the Green Trail system also have some similarities in topography to trails in the John Muir Wilderness.
“The John Muir Trail is known in Korea as a premier trail. We came here to learn how to improve our trail constructions and learn how we might improve our methods for environmental education, trail building, and tourism,” said Noh-kyoung KIM. “We are so grateful to be here and learn, experience, and see such great trails. We want to learn your methods and discuss ideas on how we can maintain the trails, so human beings and environment can coexist.”
Though the Sierra National Forest and Ulsan Metropolitan City Green Trail group only visited for a day, the program directors and recreational specialists will continue to stay in touch and exchange ideas, best practices in wilderness management.
“Visiting with the Korean Delegation was a great opportunity to explore ideas, learn techniques and understand challenges to balance urban conditions and protect the resources,” said Teri Drivas, Recreation/Lands/Partnership and Heritage Program Director, Sierra National Forest. “The Korean Delegation came to learn from us; however, I was excited to learn from them as well.”