Korea Forest Service(KFS) has been working to spread the paradigm of its forest service policies, “Spreading Enjoy Living and Work at the Forest,” focusing on humans rather than the forests, the KFS said on Feb. 25. The main focus on the KFS forest preservation policies has been shifted to making the forests a cultural space for the people to enjoy their lives with diverse cultural activities held in and around the forests around the country.
KFS will also develop various support policies for the forests to be a space and chances for the creation of start-ups and jobs around the country, reflecting the various sports activities around the forests such as mount climbing and leisure sports to treat some forms of sicknesses that are increasingly held around the country to show the life style and cultural and economic environment that the creation of jobs is vital.
According to the KFS figures, eight out of 10 people around the country went mount climbing once a year as the forests are always there for the people to relax and easily accessible at inexpensive costs.
Last year some 390,000 people visited the forests for relaxation and leports(leisure and sports) activities, and the number is likely to increase to around 500,000 in 2020. KFS is about to work for its vision to develop the forests as a space for leisure and relaxation as a way to contribute to the development of the regional societies.
As the first step in the strategy, KFS plans to expand the roads inside the forests so that the people can walk to enjoy the forests to expand their total length to around 20,270 km by 2022 from the current 15,270 km.
In addition, KFS plans to add 19 more natural leisure forests by 2021 to make them total 189 around the country so that the people can enjoy the forests more. They will be developed for diverse sports such as cliff climbing and mountain bikes, among others, so that the people can use the areas as a healing place and cultural activities.
KFS plans to come up with various programs for the public to use the forest as the place for their mental and physical health.
Erickson Incorporated, a leading global provider of aviation services, has been selected by the Forest Aviation Headquarters, a subsidiary of the Korea Forest Service, to build an S-64E model with an intended delivery date of December 2017.
The S-64 is well-known in Korea and has a strong reputation for being the best firefighting aircraft available. In 2001, KFS was the first foreign government to purchase S-64 helicopters from Erickson. Currently KFS is operating three S-64E helicopters and conducts business with Erickson for parts purchasing and service support. The S-64 has a greater and more powerful firefighting capacity than the rest of the KFS fleet.
“From previous S-64 operations experienced by the Korea Forest Service, the S-64E shows overwhelming improved performance on forest firefighting using a helicopter,” said FAH Operation Manager, Mr. M. J. Kim of the Korea Forest Service.
The Aircrane will be manufactured to include a firefighting helitank and foam cannon. Erickson’s manufacturing and maintenance, repair and overhaul capacity has been expanded in 2016 to accommodate Navy contracts for refurbishment of the MH 53 program. Andy Mills, vice president of Global Business Development said, “We are grateful for the trust the Korea Forest Service has placed in us as we begin to build the Aircrane and will endeavor to build on the spirit of friendship generated through the 15 years we have conducted business together.
Our focus will continue to be insuring our Korean customers are happy with the customer support we provide and our attention to operational integrity and safety.
We believe our Erickson Aircrane is the most powerful aerial firefighting machine in the market and that this aircraft will provide a tremendous value for Korea.”
A S64 Ericson aircrane used by Korea Forest Service to fight forest fires.(Photos: KFS)