South Korea has a beautiful nature, among other things they have national parks. A lot of them. Currently they have 21 of them and they cover about 6.6% of the country’s area. there are 16 mountainous parks, 4 marine and coastal parks and 1 historical (but that one doesn’t have much to do with nature). Most of them have been designated as national parks between 1965 and 1990.
One of them, Mudeungsan, was designated as a provincial park in 1972, but it has been upgraded to a national park in 2012, making it the 21st national park of South Korea.
The fist one to be designated as a national park was Jirisan, it’s the largest and one of the most famous parks in South Korea. It’s name means “The mountain of the odd and wise people”. Perhaps due to this name, many sought for truth there, and devoted themselves at jirisan. Since the ancient times, together with Geumgangsan and hallasan, Jirisan has been known as one of the three legendary holy mountains in Korea, and a hallowed ground of the nation’s faith. There are some cultural differences and varieties between the regions east and west from this park. The big park Jirisan is the cause of this.
And last but definitely not least, Seoraksan, I personally think this is the most beautiful national park (at least from what I’ve seen, since I’ve never actually been to South Korea). The picture on top of my website is also Seoraksan. The mountain was named Seorak (‘Seol’ meaning ‘snow’ and ‘Ak’ meaning ‘big mountain’) because the snow would not melt for a long time keeping the rocks permanently white. The peaks of the Seoraksan Mountains break through the clouds while jade-like water flows through the valleys, creating breathtaking views and making this Korea’s most famous national park. You can also find a lot of waterfalls here and the “valley of twelve angels’ baths”, It was named 12 Seonnyetang (valley of twelve angels’ Baths) because of a myth that angels came down to bathe here, there were twelve very clean baths. Ironically, there are only 8 baths in reality, but that’s due to fluvial erosion. There used to be 12 of them.
A lot of South Korea’s endangered species live in national parks. In total there are 221 endangered species, 113 of them live in those parks. Jirisan, for example, is now home to the endagered asiatic black bear.