Mount Palgong, a 1,193 meter-high mountain lying between the southeastern city of Daegu and nearby North Gyeongsang Province, was granted national park status Tuesday, becoming Korea's 23rd national park.
The Ministry of Environment approved the designation in a meeting of its national park committee, two years after the city of Daegu, 237 kilometers southeast of Seoul, and North Gyeongsang Province, made the recommendation, ministry officials said.
It marks the first designation of a national park in seven years after Mount Taebaek, spanning Gangwon and North Gyeongsang Province, was named the country's 22nd national park in August 2016.
With its peak reaching 1,193 meter above sea level, Mount Palgong is home to 5,296 species of wild animals and plants, including Class 1 endangered animals such as Korean Orange Whiskered Bats and otters, as well as state-designated natural monuments like mandarin ducks.
A total of 77 natural scenic resources, including 39 mountain peaks and 19 valleys, line the mountain, along with 92 cultural assets, including 30 state-designated cultural heritages, according to the ministry.
The ministry forecast that Mount Palgong would become the national park with the most abundant cultural resources, second only to Mount Bukhan on the northern periphery of Seoul.
The ministry put the economic value to be generated via the latest designation at 247.9 billion won ($187.7 million), predicting the annual number of visitors to Palgong may increase by 28 percent to 4.58 million.
The designation makes Palgong Korea's 23rd national park. In 1967, the authorities granted the first national park status to Mount Jiri in the country's southern region.