Hiking ‘Peace Trails’ In A Bulletproof Vest

Bruce Parkinson, Open Jaw

Trail mix: check. Water: check. Bulletproof vest: wait, what?

New hiking trails are about to open offering a unique perspective of inter-Korean 'peace.'

Starting this month hikers can take a walk along no man's land -- the notorious demilitarized zone separating North and South for more than 65 years.

Hikers will don bullet-proof vests and helmets and will be escorted by military personnel, presumably to ensure they don't become target practice for any bored North Korean border guards.

The South Korean government agreed to a budget to create a number of walking trails within the 2.5 mile wide DMZ buffer zone, and the U.S. military-led United Nations Command (UNC) has now approved it after a safety analysis. The first could open as early as this weekend in the east coast border town of Goseong, one of three 'DMZ Peace Trail' sites proposed by the government.

UNC said the Korean military has worked hard “to ensure the success… while assuring visitors their safety remains paramount,” on the Goseong trail.

There is a limit of 20 hikers per trip and up to 80 on DMZ trail tours by vehicle. Tours will be operated twice a day, and six days a week, except Monday.

Like other initiatives in and around the DMZ the ultimate aim is to foster understanding between the two nations. 

"(The peace trail) will join the other 13 existing UNC-approved DMZ educational sites as a location for inter-Korean exchanges and learning opportunities," the UNC said.
Bruce Parkinson

Bruce Parkinson Editor-in-Chief

An observer and analyst of the Canadian and international travel industries for over 25 years, Bruce uses the pre-dawn hours to prepare a daily news and information package to keep industry members up to date.

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