The Korea Forest Service recently made a request to the local Government that the $200m Jeongseon Alpine Center, which was built for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic alpine events, be destroyed and the area returned to its natural condition, reports Powder. Over 58,000 trees were removed and many locals in the small village of Sukam at the base of the venue were also moved on.
According to the Korea Times, “the government has been criticized for constructing ski slopes on the mountain, destroying the 500-year-old mountain forest.”
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Before the Games, a deal was struck between the Korea Forest Service and the Gangwon Provincial Government which stated that Gangwon Provincial was allowed to use the land, which the Korea Forest Service owns, from May 2014 until December 31, 2018, under the condition that the environment would be restored back to its original and natural condition after the Games concluded. The Korea Times estimates that it will cost around $71 million and take many years to restore the mountain to its natural state.
Some residents of the area are arguing to keep the alpine center and all the infrastructure intact, in hopes of attracting tourists back to the area.