Busan is one step closer to its aspiration of designating the Nakdonggang River as a national garden, following the creation of the city’s first and the nation’s largest local garden along the Nakdonggang River bank in Samnak Ecological Park.
The Busan Metropolitan Government announced today that it has registered and publicized a riverfront area of 2.5 million square meters in Samnak Ecological Park as the first Nakdonggang River Local Garden in Busan. This land is state-owned and is located within the Samnak-dong district of Sasang District.
Historically used as agricultural land, the area was rehabilitated between 2009 and 2016 through the Nakdong River Revival Project. The restoration resulted in the creation of natural waterways, wetlands, protected forests, natural grasslands, and walking paths, providing a habitat for migratory birds.
This registration of the Nakdonggang River Local Garden seeks to utilize the excellent natural resources of the restored Samnak riverbank, including reeds, wetlands, and green spaces, to stimulate garden culture, tourism, and leisure activities in Busan. The aim is to foster the growth of the garden industry and establish a culture of gardens in daily life.
The criteria for registering a local garden include having an area of over 100,000 square meters with more than 40% of the area covered in green space. Moreover, the garden should have its own dedicated management team and meet self-assessment standards for quality and operational management.
To meet these standards, the city established the Busan Urban Garden Ordinance in July last year, and completed consultation with 14 related agencies, including the Ministry of Environment, Cultural Heritage Administration, and Korea Forest Service by the first half of this year. The registration process was finalized following a local garden announcement and a review by the Busan Local Garden Registration Review Committee in June.
The city plans to reflect the site conditions of the Nakdonggang River Local Garden, such as existing natural resources and bird migration sites, by dividing the garden into four sections based on the themes of migratory birds, people, sharing, and wildlife.
During the winter, feeding grounds for migratory birds will be established, and from spring to autumn, seasonal flower gardens will be prepared for public use. Additionally, the garden will include areas for hands-on experiences and garden education, and citizens will be encouraged to help maintain the green space in protected forests. Other plans include developing a riverside garden for walking and exploration, a willow garden along the waterways, and a reed garden on the riverbank.
The city has a long-term plan to operate the Nakdonggang River Local Garden sustainably for over three years, allowing it to exist harmoniously with both humans and migratory birds, before applying to designate it as the nation’s first and largest Nakdong River National Garden.
Currently, there are only two national gardens in South Korea: the Suncheon Bay National Garden, designated in September 2015, and the Taehwagang River National Garden, designated in July 2019.
Applications for national garden designation require an area of at least 300,000 square meters with at least five themed gardens. Additionally, it requires a dedicated garden management team, more than three years of operation as a local garden, and the fulfillment of the Korea Forest Service’s garden quality and operation management evaluation standards. These standards include the history and uniqueness of the garden, the adequacy of construction and management status, the adequacy of safety and hygiene management of facilities, and the utilization of the garden.
As part of the efforts to meet these criteria, the Busan Nakdong River Management Headquarters established a dedicated team for the national garden on July 5, 2023. This team is in charge of operating the Nakdonggang River Local Garden.
Furthermore, in September last year, Park Heong-joon, the mayor of Busan, personally visited Suncheon city and signed a business agreement with the Suncheon mayor. As part of this agreement, they have shared the knowledge and experience of operating the Suncheon Bay National Garden to strengthen policy cooperation for the designation of the Nakdong River as a national garden.