[Jeju Olle Trail Event Explained] Clear up the trash on Jeju Olle Trail once a month with the ‘Clean Olle’ volunteer group


I didn’t know so much work went into maintaining the Jeju Olle routes until now.

Really, I didn’t.

Previously I was a walker who enjoyed the routes purely from the walking side. I would arrive at a route starting point in the morning and wander along almost care-free for the day. I would follow the ribbons and arrows through the gorgeous Jeju countryside feeling the stress of the working week drain away.

Good memories were created. It was always so simple.


However, to enable me to have such days, groups of volunteers work tirelessly behind the scenes to keep everything functioning so people like you and me can just turn up and walk.

One of these groups comes together under the ‘Clean Olle’ banner. It is a group assembled once a month with trash grabbers and trash bags in hands to keep a selected route tidy.

On Mar. 9 2013, 32 volunteers arrived in Jeoji on the west side of the island for a 10 o’clock start at Route 14.


From Jeoji to Hyeopjae the type of trash changed markedly throughout the day. It started at the entrances to farmers fields with piles of bottles, rope, and bits lying about which had to be dealt with carefully. In the forest near benches and natural rest stops, orange peel, sweet wrappers, cigarette butts, and bottled water were discarded.

Prior to lunch we had coped quite well as a group. However, after a hearty bowl of sea urchin and cactus noodle guk-su, the situation changed in Weolreong.


The coastal area was carpeted in trash. We tried our best, but simply put, there was too much for us with the type of equipment we had. Therefore we tried to focus on specific, small, areas. We found slippers, so much glass, and polystyrene. Then when you looked up and moved on a little bit you realized how much there still was to clean.


One of the other foreigners who joined the event for the day and was certainly looking at this issue more closely was an American high school teacher, Jessica Carrier. Now working at an international school on the island she is, as part of a master’s program, researching the trash found on Olle routes.


“I’m going to be putting together this information with the other information I’ve collected from the other trails to look at what areas seem to be affected by unavoidable causes versus what areas seem to be affected by simple litter or trash that is left behind from tourists,” she explained.

“I want to map it out on Google Earth… to analyze the data and see if there are any commonalities between the type of trash being found and where on the trails is it being found,” she said.

What also strikes about the day is the work other volunteers do to help the volunteers collecting the trash. At certain points along the route one dedicated volunteer would arrive with their car to take away full bags and provide new ones. The leaders of Olle routes 5 and 7-1 were on hand to add ribbons to trees making sure the trail as adequately marked.


Leading everyone was Oh Soon-deok, an early graduate from Jeju Olle’s academy. She said the clean up days began in February 2010 after a group of graduates came up with the idea.

“At first we started with 10 liter bags, then 20 liter bags, and now just before Route 14 we used 50 liter bags and sacks,” she explained.

She also said all types of people come out for the day- from students, to teachers, to housewives, and people from the mainland. Even Olle founder, Suh Myung-sook, chips in. This, however, is the first time foreigners have participated.

“I recommend everyone to experience this event and feel it,” Oh explained. “The reason we’re doing this is to not only clean the Olle route, but we want to do something with meaning and valuable. Then we can have a good feeling… you can hardly wait for the next ‘Clean Olle’,” said Oh.


* This story has been updated and edited. It originally appeared on the Jeju-based Internet news web site Jnuri (http://www.jnuri.net/news/articleView.html?idxno=11667) | By Jim Saunders


[Jeju Olle Trail Event Explained] ‘Walk Together’ once a month on a Jeju Olle Trail route with Jeju residents and visiting tourist hikers

Jeju Olle Trail 'Walk Together' January 2014 Route 7-1

[Hikers at the start point of Route 7-1 for January 2014’s ‘Walk Together’]

*‘Walk Together’ usually takes place in the later half of every month. Check the upcoming events section in the side menu for next scheduled event*

Once a month Jeju Olle Trail holds a ‘Walk Together’ event on its trail. This event aims to bring hikers to a specific route and partake in a hike with one another for a day.

It is a chance to meet others outside of your usual hiking friendship circle. Hikers are both native and foreign, or even tourists from the mainland and beyond.

Everyone departs together and then moves around as groups stop for a rest or break along the way. Conversations rise and fall.

Here are a couple of reasons why  ‘Walk Together’ is something to think about if you’re a Jeju resident or a visiting  the island as a tourist:

1) It is a chance to learn about Jeju Olle Trail and Jeju Island

There is usually always an English speaker on hand who is more than happy to take you under their wing. They will introduce Jeju Island’s history and culture as well as provide information about Jeju Olle Trail itself.

2) It is A chance to meet Jeju Olle Trail office staff members

Each month sees a different cross-section of office staff take part in ‘Walk Together’. You could find yourself hiking alongside the office manager one day or even the founder on other occasions.

3) It is A chance to walk Jeju Olle Trail with other people

For some Jeju Olle Trail is a solo adventure. For some it is a small group adventure. But for at least one day it is fun to hike with others. You never know who you might meet.

4) It is a chance to enjoy delicious food along the route with other hikers

Hikers at ‘Walk Together’ usually bring some wonderful snacks and drinks to consume along the way. Then there is a local restaurant that someone can reccomend. The best place to refuel properly.

5) it is A chance to enjoy a different route not often walked on Jeju Olle Trail

Everyone knows Route 1, Route 6, Route 7, and even Route 10. However, Routes 11, 13, 16, and 18 are routes more than worth considering too. ‘Walk Together’ takes these routes in and you won’t be alone. Shuttle buses also run from Jeju City and Seogwipo for the more distant routes making it easier for the hiker.

* There is usually no ‘Walk Together’ in July and August due to the hot weather on the island.