Gyeongpo Beach, one of the most popular attractions on the eastern coast, is being hit by erosion just weeks before it opens for the summer season.
A 150-m section of the southern end of the beach has been washed away over the past month, representing 10 percent of the 1.8-km-long beach. The erosion has left a fan-shaped mark with the worst-hit part of the beach losing more than a 30-m-wide stretch of sand.
The erosion has created a sandbar standing between 1 m and 2 m in height. It has also eaten into the beach, causing a wooden walkway adjacent to the shore to come perilously close to the water.
"At this rate, the wooden walkway will end up getting swallowed up by the waves in just a few days," one resident said. Just beyond the walkway is a road and storefront.
The erosion has apparently occurred rapidly over the course of the last month. According to Gangneung city officials and residents in Gangwon Province, unusually high waves have been pounding the beach for the last three weeks, noticeably washing away its narrow southern front.
As most vacationers flock to the central and northern ends of the beach, the impact this summer will not be too keenly felt. But typhoons and the huge waves they bring could threaten the road and storefront 20 m inland along the southern stretch.
Residents said construction work began last year on another beach nearby to prevent erosion, adding that they fear this may have caused the currents to shift and batter the southern end of the famous shoreline. Gangneung city officials played this down, however, and said they will immediately start filling in the eroded section of Gyeongpo Beach.