From olden times, it was difficult to plant trees in Sepho County in Kangwon Province as it was hit all the year round by heavy rain, snowfall, and strong winds. But, such a desolate land has been turned into “gold mountains” and “treasure mountains” covered with thickly-wooded forests and to which various species of birds flock. Credit for this must go to Pak Pyong Jun, manager of the Sepho County Forestry Management Station.
Working as the manager for about two decades, he produced more than five millions of saplings in a year by building an outdoor cultivation ground, circular cutting bed and greenhouse in the parent nursery. His station made such achievements as planting within three years the trees which they should do for ten years, thus ranking first in the forest sector of the country.
He had a reason when he began his career as a worker at the station after his military service 31 years ago. His father, a war veteran, would tell him at every opportunity, planting trees on the mountains together with him: You should properly cultivate this land our forerunners have defended at the cost of their blood. To this end, you should first plant every single tree and sow every seed in your heart before on the land.
Bearing this deep in his mind, he worked at the station. Later, he became the leader of a youth nursery workteam and then the manager of the station.
As part of the work to build up the material foundations of the nursery, he set a goal of expanding the area of the parent nursery four times larger than before and creating tens-of-kilometre-long windbreaks. But, 20 hectares of land to be reclaimed into a nursery were covered with much more stones than soil and tree stumps here and there.
All the employees opened their eyes wide at the challenging task. At that time, he called on them to devote themselves to fertilize this land permeated with the soul of forerunners so that the rising generation could gather in the fruits of happiness.
His appeal gave an impetus to the drive for the reclamation of wasteland. The land which had been barren for ages has been turned into a tree nursery. They sowed seeds in the standardized fields, where buds put forth in the spring.
Pak has never thought that he merely planted trees in the mountains but regarded it as a sacred work to increase the wealth of the country.
On one occasion, he was informed of the fact that a forest ranger allowed his close friends to cut down several trees. He felt heartbroken: How the country’s forests would be if a forest ranger abandons his principles.
He thought that one should plant ten trees after felling one. He, together with the forest ranger, climbed the mountain to plant saplings there. Since then, all the inhabitants in Sepho County have become “forest rangers”.
Nothing is more worthwhile for him than planting trees. So, he makes a tour of mountains everyday in company with his employees to take care of the green forests.
Pak Pyong Jun is one of paragons of the times in the DPRK.